Amazon has been granted a patent for a robot that would pack shipping boxes with goods ordered by its customers. In an example offered by the company, the robotic arm would use suction to grab a coffee mug and place it in a box.

The filing was first spotted on Twitter by Nick Wingfield of the New York Times.

Who currently packs the boxes: Human workers. CNN reported late last year that Amazon warehouse employees only spend a minute on each order, including the 15 seconds it takes to pack an item into a box with bubble wrap, tape it shut and send it off for shipping.

Why this matters: Policymakers are trying to understand the impact that increased automation will have on jobs. Researchers associated with McKinsey found recently that' "scenarios suggest that half of today's work activities could be automated by 2055" but that only a small percentage of jobs could be fully automated.

Here's a graphic of all of the things Amazon envisions the robotic arm interacting with:

Amazon / USPTO

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China announces retaliatory sanctions on Rubio, Cruz and other U.S. officials

Photos: Graeme Jennings/Pool/Getty Images; Al Drago/Pool/Getty Images

China's Foreign Ministry announced Monday that it's imposing sanctions on Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) along with nine other Americans, including Freedom House president Michael Abramowitz and Human Rights Watch Executive director Kenneth Roth, per Bloomberg.

Why it matters: It's a direct response to similar actions by the U.S. that included the Trump administration placing sanctions on officials Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam last Friday over Beijing's encroachment of the Asian financial hub's s autonomy.

Of note: China announced last month it would ban Rubio, Cruz and other U.S. officials from entering the country over their criticisms of human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang. However, there was no indication any of them intended to travel to China.

Editor's note: This is a developing news story. Please check back for updates.

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