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Businesses China Robotics

Foxconn's Robot Workforce Now 20,000 Strong 213

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-breaks-needed dept.
itwbennett writes "Slashdot readers will recall Foxconn's plans to staff its factories with an army of 1 million robot workers to offset rising labor costs. Well, now we have an update on those plans. Speaking at the company's shareholder meeting on Wednesday, Foxconn CEO Terry Gou said that there are 20,000 robotic machines currently at work in Foxconn factories. Ultimately, these robots will replace human assembly workers and 'our [human] workers will then become technicians and engineers,' Gou said."
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Foxconn's Robot Workforce Now 20,000 Strong

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  • by RealTime (3392) * on Thursday June 27, 2013 @03:11AM (#44119991)

    'our [human] workers will then become unemployed ,' Gou said.

    FTFY

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by ShanghaiBill (739463)

      'our [human] workers will then become unemployed ,' Gou said.

      FTFY

      Unlikely. Automation has not lead to mass unemployment in the past, and there is little reason to think this time will be any different. China is transitioning to a service economy much faster than western nations did, and due to the one child policy, China's labor force has already peaked, and it will be more and more difficult for companies to find enough workers.

      • by TheLink (130905)
        Think of the Chinese factory workers as robots doing repetitive tasks. How well has that worked out for the workers in the USA?

        Wonderful?
        • by sjbe (173966) on Thursday June 27, 2013 @08:12AM (#44120899)

          Think of the Chinese factory workers as robots doing repetitive tasks. How well has that worked out for the workers in the USA?

          Considering that workers in the US enjoy among the highest wages in the world I'd say pretty good. The US has a manufacturing sector that brings in about $4 TRILLION per year. The percent of jobs in manufacturing has declined (like in agriculture earlier) but those that remain in the sector are generally doing quite well and should continue to do so.

          In any case you are looking at the situation backwards. Companies only automate for two reasons. The first is if there is a task that cannot be done manually - either requiring precision or due to the job being dangerous. The second and relevant one here is if labor costs are high. The fact that Chinese firms are finding it viable to automate means that millions of people are being pulled from poverty. Wages in China are rising and rising fast. If you have an endless supply of cheap labor there is no point in automating a great many tasks. Increasing automation means that labor costs are rising which is a very good thing unless your perspective is that Chinese workers should always be dirt poor. Personally I'm cheered to see lots of people able to enjoy a better standard of living.

          • by Kjella (173770) on Thursday June 27, 2013 @09:55AM (#44121497) Homepage

            In any case you are looking at the situation backwards. Companies only automate for two reasons. The first is if there is a task that cannot be done manually - either requiring precision or due to the job being dangerous. The second and relevant one here is if labor costs are high.

            The third reason is if the automation costs are declining, companies won't mind replacing a low wage job if a robot still undercuts it by half. And the labor market can't really adjust because humans have a living wage floor while robots don't. If rising labor costs were the prime driver we'd see more companies leaving China for poorer countries by now.

            • by sjbe (173966)

              The third reason is if the automation costs are declining, companies won't mind replacing a low wage job if a robot still undercuts it by half.

              Not really a third reason but that does occur. Labor wages and automation prices are not fixed. Both can go up and down with some limitations. You use automation because labor costs are relatively high compared with automation costs for the volume you produce. You're still missing the point however. Companies will replace a high wage job if a robot undercuts it by half. And if you look at it macroeconomically that person who was replaced has the opportunity now to do something else and experience tell

            • by Rockoon (1252108)
              You dont seem to answer the question of why is there a floor to living wage but instead just try to throw the idea around like a weapon.

              If automation makes nearly all things cheaper to manufacture, then why is the cost of living always rising instead of always falling?

              Part of it is that the standard of living has always been rising (in spite of the non-stop claims that the poor get poorer) for everyone. The effect this has on what we consider the cost of living is certainly a meaningful amount.

              Another
      • Automation has not lead to mass unemployment in the past,

        You're kidding, right?

        • The Luddites were right all along. We never should have allowed power looms, the cotton gin, or the mechanical adding machine to take off. Think of all the lost jobs!

      • by rtb61 (674572) on Thursday June 27, 2013 @05:02AM (#44120343) Homepage

        Not really. China had a ruthlessly exploited work force not seen since the early industrial age. Basically people doing the most unimaginably routine monotonous work, with extended hours, little time off up to the point of failure and then replaced. Things like sticking keys on a keyboard by hand, packing playing cards in boxes manually etc. the sort of work that was automated in the early 20th century in the west.

        Gou and Foxcon might be using the word robot but in the majority of instances it is not what most people would consider a robot. Simply an electro-mechanical device design to complete a pre-defined task, rather than be multitasking to complete a range of variable actions.

        Honestly and realistically the work was unfit for human beings, soulless demeaning, requiring no craftsmanship, something only psychopaths could have invented in the industrial age, something someone else does or we starve them and their family.

        Catch with automation and robotics it places the whole world upon an equal playing field, with the difference being land and building cost and most important of all, distance and cost to get it to the end user point of delivery. We are now pushing to the age of micro-manufacturing plants, small flexible plants capable of producing a broad range of products very close to the point of demand, minimising transport, warehousing and handling costs. 3D printing is just the start, along with already introduced generic parts and components. Think ceramics vs metals.

        • by TheSync (5291) on Thursday June 27, 2013 @05:25AM (#44120397) Journal

          China had a ruthlessly exploited work force not seen since the early industrial age.

          That is because China never had an industrial age due to a mixture of foreign imperialism, warlord battles, and Communist Party control. Instead tens of millions to people starved to death during the Great Leap Forward, and most people in China were barely eeking out an existence in communal farming until the 1980's. Rather than live on the edge with no hope in the countryside, rural Chinese quickly moved to the cities to work in the factories. The early factories were very capital-poor and had low productivity, thus the only way they could compete for world trade was to have low labor costs. Now Chinese factory capital investment is rising, productivity is rising, along with wages.

        • by Dogtanian (588974) on Thursday June 27, 2013 @08:09AM (#44120871) Homepage

          China had a ruthlessly exploited work force not seen since the early industrial age. Basically people doing the most unimaginably routine monotonous work, with extended hours, little time off up to the point of failure and then replaced. Things like sticking keys on a keyboard by hand, packing playing cards in boxes manually etc. the sort of work that was automated in the early 20th century in the west.

          Thirty years ago or so, robots and computerised automation were supposed to be the future, and people from back then might have been quite surprised that a generation down the line *people* are still doing work like this.

          It could be argued that the ultra-cheap labour brought about by the delayed industrialisation of China distorted this otherwise likely path, with dirt-cheap, no-investment and very flexible humans working out cheaper than expensive machinery- at least in the short term. It looks, however, like we're now returning to the predicted path...?

        • by Grishnakh (216268) on Thursday June 27, 2013 @09:52AM (#44121469)

          Gou and Foxcon might be using the word robot but in the majority of instances it is not what most people would consider a robot.

          What "most people" (or at least, most ignorant Americans) consider a "robot" is something that doesn't exist, except maybe Honda's Asimo robot (which doesn't even do anything really useful). The Roomba wouldn't be considered a "robot" by these people either, but it certainly is.

          In the industrial sector, a "robot" is a machine that completes tasks automatically. A CNC machine is a robot, for instance, even though it's just a fancy milling machine that operates according to a program. A pick-and-place machine (which places electronic components on circuit boards) is a commonly-used robot in the electronics industry. If you look at the manufacturer's plate on many of these machines, they say "industrial robot".

          • go to the singularity hub and look at the robots out there today like the baxter.

            Human level replacements for non-thinking jobs for under $25,000 and it 'll work 3 shifts.

        • by Hadlock (143607)

          Gou and Foxcon might be using the word robot but in the majority of instances it is not what most people would consider a robot. Simply an electro-mechanical device design to complete a pre-defined task, rather than be multitasking to complete a range of variable actions.

          I think you're confusing Android with Robot. C-3P0 would not be the ideal device to assemble iPods and iPads; you need specialized grip tools for the glass, frame, wires and everything else. They're also not moving from the assembly line, e

        • by gl4ss (559668)

          hmm.. you seem to be forgetting that china had an industrial age of sorts already ages ago and that ruthlessly exploiting workforce was a time honored tradition that only had a brief downturn in first half of 1900's.

          the use of the word is laughable though - machine = robot for them. so here in finland our milk is milked by robots, our butter is churned by robots, we are carried up the stairs by robots, robots wash my clothes... yay for future of the last century!

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Mashiki (184564)

        Unlikely. Automation has not lead to mass unemployment in the past, and there is little reason to think this time will be any different.

        Really? Well it's one of those things that is really hard to figure out. Though if we take queues from the auto industry here in North America where they went from manual labor to automation, and if we say don't count those who maintained their jobs by internal shifting, and instead count them as people who would have been unemployed. It's probably around 10-14%, give or take a bit. Though, that people are moved around inside companies to fill other positions heavily off-sets this, usually it means that

      • 'our [human] workers will then become unemployed ,' Gou said.

        FTFY

        Unlikely. Automation has not lead to mass unemployment in the past, and there is little reason to think this time will be any different.

        As they say on Wall Street, "Past Performance is not guarantee of future results".

    • I imagine they'll do the same thing as all the scribes, elevator operators, and weavers who have been replaced by machines.
      Some of them will be like my buddy and get paid better money to maintain and operate the new machines, he is an engineer taking care of weaving machines.
      The rest will become datacenter techs, web designers, whatever new jobs are required.

      As I typed this post my phone auto corrected "elevator operator" to "website operator".
      My phone knows elevator operators are replaced by website opera
      • by Grishnakh (216268)

        I imagine they'll do the same thing as all the scribes, elevator operators, and weavers who have been replaced by machines.
        Some of them will be like my buddy and get paid better money to maintain and operate the new machines, he is an engineer taking care of weaving machines.
        The rest will become datacenter techs, web designers, whatever new jobs are required.

        Yes, but what about the Kardashian and Honey Boo Boo fans? People like that aren't capable of being datacenter techs or web designers. And America is

  • by Kartu (1490911) on Thursday June 27, 2013 @03:23AM (#44120037)

    Kurt Vonnegut considered this problem more than 60 years ago in his novel "Player Piano".
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Player_Piano_(novel) [wikipedia.org]

    Out of all imaginable scenarios of going robotic, Foxconn doing it is the worst I could come up with. Even North Korea doing it would be less evil in my humble opinion.

    • by gtirloni (1531285)
      Why?
    • by gl4ss (559668)

      why? they're just machines that they're calling robots.

      it's no different from the industrial revolution at all. it's totally the same as replacing people who made fabrics with machines. what the machines are like is irrelevant, point of those machines has always been to reduce labor needed for output - because then we can do more.

      or do you think it would be a good idea to get rid out of pick'n'place machines in electronics production? to get rid of chainsaws? notice that this is a "problem" we have been fac

      • by Daemonik (171801)

        ideally nobody would need to work on needed output and could just work on arts, science, drinking etc...

        Yes, because everyone is suited to be an artist of some sort and artists have always had a tradition of making a liveable wage.

      • "ideally nobody would need to work on needed output"

        A good idea, but one that requires a revolution in economics - even if the industrial capacity exists for one-tenth of the population to work and support the rest, right now that tenth would have no reason to work because the non-workers would have no money to buy goods. Your 'ideally' just can't work in any form of market-based economy - it'd require full-blown communism, and that economic structure has a very poor historical record.

        • by khallow (566160)
          It's worth noting that we haven't actually run out of things to do for money. For example, in the US, a bit less than a tenth of the population does manufacture. The rest have found something else to do.
        • by gl4ss (559668)

          social security isn't full blown communism.

          90% of jobs are already jobs which are serving for lack of better word "having more fun". barbers, game coders, game system manufacturers, sailing, sports fishing, all hobby providers...

          what's more you can not fight it. you can not fight it anymore than you could fight it in 1800's. what you can do is either find work making things more efficient for the producers or something inefficient people want to pay for because it's "fun"(art, music, hobbies). there's some

  • by cold fjord (826450) on Thursday June 27, 2013 @03:26AM (#44120045)

    The world is becoming a strange place.

    As Indian companies grow in the U.S., outsourcing comes home [washingtonpost.com]

    India’s outsourcing giants — faced with rising wages at home — have looked for growth opportunities in the United States. But with Washington crimping visas for visiting Indian workers, some companies such as Aegis are slowly hiring workers in North America, where their largest corporate customers are based. In this evolution, outsourcing has come home.

    Foxconn to speed up 'robot army' deployment; 20,000 robots already in its factories [itworld.com]

    In addition, Foxconn's CEO said the company is prepared to expand its manufacturing in the U.S., but the move will depend on "economic factors." The company already has factories in Indianapolis and Houston, and employs thousands of workers in the country, according to Gou. -- more [itworld.com]

  • Good! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 27, 2013 @03:40AM (#44120091)

    If the number on man hours per year needed to produce the products I use decreases, then I should get to work less right? Less work for everyone, more free time and the same amount of Chinese electronics! A higher percent of the money then goes to research and development, where most of the people can be employed, but work less hours. I'm looking forward to working 10 hours a week!

    More free time for everyone means more cool projects, more web comics, more opens source software, more political involvement, more educated people, and even time to really think! More time to make you own food, raise your own kids, and other things that add even more efficiency and thus further reductions in hours to work!

    How I wish that were true. I'd gladly work 1/2 time for 1/3 pay as it is (I'd love to share my job with the unemployed, but I can't). If stuff gets more affordable, working 40 hours a week is going to be even more overkill. If it didn't suck so much to be unemployed in the US (say we provided at least what we give the prisoners: food, shelter, and healthcare), I'd be happy to take time off work without fear I'd get stuck jobless. Our economy is kinda messed up.

    • What actually happens:
      - The cost of living goes down by a third.
      - People are thus able to support themselves on a third lower wages.
      - Your employer either cuts your pay by a third, or fires you and hires someone willing to work for less in your place.

    • If the number on man hours per year needed to produce the products I use decreases, then I should get to work less right? Less work for everyone, more free time and the same amount of Chinese electronics! A higher percent of the money then goes to research and development, where most of the people can be employed, but work less hours. I'm looking forward to working 10 hours a week!

      More free time for everyone means more cool projects, more web comics, more opens source software, more political involvement, more educated people, and even time to really think! More time to make you own food, raise your own kids, and other things that add even more efficiency and thus further reductions in hours to work!

      How I wish that were true. I'd gladly work 1/2 time for 1/3 pay as it is (I'd love to share my job with the unemployed, but I can't). If stuff gets more affordable, working 40 hours a week is going to be even more overkill. If it didn't suck so much to be unemployed in the US (say we provided at least what we give the prisoners: food, shelter, and healthcare), I'd be happy to take time off work without fear I'd get stuck jobless. Our economy is kinda messed up.

      lol

      Try working in China, India or any developing or under-developed country for awhile and then we'll see if you complain about working in the USA.

      With regard to the idea of working less and having more free time...the French tried that. It's possible, but against international competition where there are no labor laws it doesn't work very well.

      Also, it would be socialism to have a shorter work week and we all know how evil socialism is.

  • I've never been in a Foxconn plant, but I wonder how many of these so-called robots are just dumb 2- or 3-axis pick-and-place gadgets. "Robot" sounds more impressive to journalists and investors, but among industrial automation professionals the term has specific meanings. Of course, to the layperson a self-basting turkey could be called "robotic" by colloquial usage.

  • by tuppe666 (904118) on Thursday June 27, 2013 @04:20AM (#44120211)

    I am in shock and awe. Apple apologists have been arguing that Chinese workers(Foxconn) are cheaper than robots for forever, while Apple have smugly told the president that iphone manufacture will not return to America(They only argue to the Tax Man they are Irish...not the Irish tax Man obviously), because their workforce is does anything for biscuits. They have promised with must gusto to move the the less complicated parts of (one of its products) for PC manufacture(seriously) to the states to great fanfair...and failed to deliver.

    Apples instance and investment in what accounts to slave labour (ironically now simply redundant) has cost the company its cutting edge products to long refresh cycles, and heavy dependences on its rivals technology, which actually manufacture products, and have thousands of patents on touch-screen technology and update there phones every three months. Its profits dropping now its devices are considered Mid-range at best...At least they proudly pay no profits on those ever shrinking profit margins. At least it to Collect a Billion for its few design patents...Sorry 400Million...Less.

    I notice Google is getting Motorola to manufacture the cool named Xphone in the United States. I think its a good strategy. It would have been a better one for Apple...they chose to give the money back to shareholders instead...while avoiding paying tax again with ibonds.

    Apples Apologists continued defence of Android is only winning because of cheap Chinese Phones ignoring its where the cheap (with high margin) iPhone is made, is coming true only they unlike the iPhone are "Great Value" Look at the Neo N003;iOcean;X7;UMi X2;JiaYu G4 http://www.gizchina.com/2013/03/05/poll-neo-n003-vs-iocean-x7-vs-umi-x2-vs-jiayu-g4/ [gizchina.com] all phones that destroy the iPhone a a fraction of cost, sporting (1.5ghz now)Quad cores and 2GB of Memory and 13 Mega-Pixel cameras and full-hd 1080P (and Multiple Simslots ;) They are incredibly tempting.

    I think the bottom line is you can have buildings full of robots *anywhere*.

    • by citizenr (871508)

      Yes Google. Remember how google announced that weird ball shaped TV thingamajiggy? They said it was "made in usa". Turned out to be assembled in USA from prefabricated Chinese modules (not parts, whole modules snapped together in US just to be able to slap made in usa sticker).

  • by Virtucon (127420) on Thursday June 27, 2013 @04:21AM (#44120219)

    LOL, man Foxconn sounds like the US Auto Makers in the 1970s. It's because as others have pointed out. Bolted Down robotic workers don't complain and don't jump out of the nearest window. They depreciate, require routine maintenance but day after day they do what they're instructed within extremely precise tolerances. That means a better quality product for their customers without all of those "soft problems" that complicates business.

    With China pushing people out of rural areas and into ever larger cities [nytimes.com], it will be very interesting over the next few years to see how all of those people will earn a living. While the jobs at Foxconn are drudgery by any modern standard, they do allow people to earn money and contribute to the economy. Turning them ultimately into those nice wage slaves that all companies love that buy products and need services. Workers in China are already pushing for higher wages and better working conditions [bloomberg.com], something that the beneficent Foxconn would be very reluctant to go along with given their recent labor relations gaffs and breakup with Apple. [yahoo.com] Unfortunately the stories about labor shortages in China seem a bit disingenuous and reminds me of how there's a presumed "tech shortage" [cringely.com] in this country. It seems even in China getting labor for the absolute cheapest price [bloomberg.com] may be pushing this 12 year urbanization plan. These are all problems for China which are magnitudes of order more complex when you're talking about the scale in terms of a population of over one billion. I don't think China can make enough of anything, electronics, knock-off watches, handbags et al to keep up with the population demanding a better quality of life, which means better wages, better working conditions and all those consumer goodies the rest of us take so much for granted.

    As a father with three kids in college and another one one just about there already, I wonder where they're going to make their niche in this world economy where your education and your experience can all be cooped out to some fraud ridden outsourcing firm who brings in a person or outsources your position elsewhere. I've told all of my kids not to follow me into Software and Engineering fields because people employed in those fields are now considered a commodity and subject to too much educational push from an ever increasing wave of immigrants from diploma mills overseas. What people don't really realize is that we've shifted out way of thinking from "value and quality" to "good enough at a low price" because the products and services we use have varying degrees based on those expectations. Entire markets the world over have been shifting in that direction and it's eroding the economic and social landscape of countries everywhere with companies seeking the lowest cost labor they can find that has just enough technical competency to get what they need done.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jmhobrien (2750125)
      College is increasingly becoming a waste of time and money. This is increasingly the case in our global economy, where everyone is racing each other to the bottom and everything you need to know, can be learned online as required. This is especially true for technical fields. If you can afford to go to college, the chances are you don't need the money as much as your future competition.
    • by xelah (176252) on Thursday June 27, 2013 @05:19AM (#44120379)

      With China pushing people out of rural areas and into ever larger cities [nytimes.com], it will be very interesting over the next few years to see how all of those people will earn a living.

      There's no shortage of things worth doing in the world, and especially not in a middle income country with a huge population still in poverty. It's a shorter-term problem, though - economies can't jump from one state to another, nor can people jump in to jobs needing different skills. And in a country like China, the state can always use those people to build a new high speed railway in the wrong place or a new ghost city nobody lives in. They could even do something shocking, like use them to make their food supply safe or clean their environment. A recession like that in the west is a pure economic problem - a problem in the control system, not the physical reality - and the Chinese government is a lot more able to meddle in it.

      • by khallow (566160) on Thursday June 27, 2013 @08:03AM (#44120833)

        A recession like that in the west is a pure economic problem - a problem in the control system, not the physical reality - and the Chinese government is a lot more able to meddle in it.

        I disagree. A recession is not a problem. It is a consequence of a problem, here, that whatever society is doing is simply out of whack with reality to the point that when the illusion falls apart and society attempts to return to a more reasonable approach, it results in considerable economic harm in the form of a recession. Such a problem can be as simple as a mistaken perception of what is valuable.

        I suppose you can view the avoiding of recession as a control problem, though the usual means of control (such as altering the money supply) aren't particularly powerful unless one is capable of deeply interfering with peoples' choices. But even with that power, attempting to avoid recession is poor strategy.

        The difficulty is that recessions are natural corrections of problems, not the actual problems themselves. And trying to prevent for decades on end, societies from fixing inherent problems just ends up with really large recessions in the end when your control systems are overwhelmed.

        For example, a lot of people have noted that businesses have collectively grown very short-sighted in how they operate. This wasn't always the case. I believe it to be a direct result of the various attempts to evade recessions and such. When you remove a vast amount of future risk, you also remove the need to plan against that risk.

        • by xelah (176252)

          I disagree. A recession is not a problem.

          In a recession like the recent one (or any economic conditions with high unemployment) we have a bunch of things worth doing and a bunch of people who could do them but are not. This is a problem in which the economy's control system (by which I mean the markets, currencies, contracts, regulations an all the other social mechanisms which case the economy to produce this physical outcome rather than that physical outcome) doesn't make the best decisions. The chain of causation may go back further, but it doe

    • by microTodd (240390)

      I've told all of my kids not to follow me into Software and Engineering fields because people employed in those fields are now considered a commodity and subject to too much educational push from an ever increasing wave of immigrants from diploma mills overseas

      An honest question...where are you pushing them instead? Healthcare maybe? Finance? Or something like plumbing or electrical, something pragmatic and non-outsourceable but still able to make a decent living?

      I have two kids, not college age yet, so I wrestle with this thought problem all the time.

      • Teach the kids leadership and/or coordination skills. There will always be good jobs at the top. It's not important where you start as long as you rise quickly into a strategic role.

        If they don't have an aptitude for those then go with research in any field. It's not long before technicians (doctors, engineers, programmers, etc) will be automated or trained cheaply / imported.

        If you combine leadership, coordination and research you have all the skills to start your own company or elevate an existing one. Th

  • by KonoWatakushi (910213) on Thursday June 27, 2013 @06:08AM (#44120507)

    The ultimate goal of our endeavors should be to produce wealth for human beings, not mindless jobs, nor backbreaking labor. If tedious and burdensome tasks like agriculture, manufacturing, and mining can be done by machines, all the better. That should free up people to do other things, including not slaving away for 40-60 hours a week. Increases in productivity are always a good thing--the problem is in the distribution of wealth, or rather the utter lack thereof nowadays. As jobs inevitably evaporate, we need to find new and better ways of doing this.

    One particular area of productivity deserves special mention. Virtually all of wealth is derived from energy, yet energy has no intrinsic value. It is purely an input, so energy generation should be done as cheaply and efficiently as possible, as it compounds the cost of everything else. It is asinine to make it into a jobs program, yet that is exactly what Obama has done with his recent proposal.

    • by moeinvt (851793)

      You might be interested in a book called "Progress and Poverty".

      The fact that we've had such gains in productivity, especially from the Industrial Revolution to the present, but have also had a perpetual underclass of poor and homeless is rather perplexing.

      The book is a theory attempting to explain the conundrum and some suggested public policy measures to address it. In brief, the author suggests that resource monopoly is the fundamental cause of unequal wealth distribution and therefore resources should

  • Even though the Foxconn suicide rate was about the same as the rest of the country, the media and various agitators saw fit to demonize Foxconn as though it were in the same vein of blood-for-profit as the African diamond trade. Now lo and behold, Foxconn has said "fuck this, robots are cheaper" and a million Chinese are going to lose their jobs because of your histrionics over a few deaths by mentally unstable people.

    And yeah, Foxconn's jobs may suck by American standards. However they were pure gold if yo

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Even though the Foxconn suicide rate was about the same as the rest of the country,

      And you're basing this on what? Figures from the Chinese government?

  • When the robots start committing suicide?
  • Robots should replace the human workforce until a day where there is no work left for human beings to do.
    At that point human beings can play for a living.

    • by RobinH (124750)
      Under the current system, if you don't have a job, you can't buy any of the things that the robots produce. The system will have to change. I'm wondering what that change will be. Guaranteed minimum income? A separate economy of people who aren't qualified enough to maintain the robots, but who just form their own economy to do work for each other, similar to what we're doing now? Co-operatives that scrape enough cash together to buy automation to run themselves?
  • Instead of possibly slowly moving production of electronics back to the US, we'd already have a large cost-efficient automated electronic production industry if we hadn't embraced the ideology and political agenda of so-called free trade. People talk as though robotic assembly were the hot new thing, but it's 1980's tech! In the 80's and early-mid 90's automating electronic assembly and designing things so they could easily be assembled by robots were the hot things. Then we threw that know-how and that ind

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