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Robotics

Bringing Affordable Robotics To Big Agriculture 196

Posted by Soulskill
from the feed-all-humans-feed-all-humans dept.
kkleiner writes "Boston-based Harvest Automation has made good on its mission to bring robots into the world of agriculture by introducing Harvey, a bot tasked with the rather modest job of moving plants around in nurseries and greenhouses because people aren't keen on doing the laborious work. At a price point of $30k each, two bots would cost the same as three unskilled human laborers who earn about $20k annually not to mention medical bills due to injury. Harvey's job may not be flashy, but considering the potted plant industry is valued at $50 billion, the bot's little impact could translate into significant money."
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Bringing Affordable Robotics To Big Agriculture

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  • Re:Impressive. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 03, 2013 @08:35PM (#44752291)

    We should be ready to support those on the bottom end. If you really want unstoppable efficiency then the govt has to subsidize labour to allow labour to survive. Not everyone needs a job, and it is about time we recognize that, but at the same time there's no sense making people's lives hell because they can't get one.

  • by manu0601 (2221348) on Tuesday September 03, 2013 @08:47PM (#44752347)

    This is another move toward producing what humanity needs without human working. How many persons we need to feed the USA today?

    At some point we will have to admit that there must be an universal income regardless of work done, Otherwise the end of the story will be robots producing goods that nobody can afford except the robot owners.

  • Re:Hidden cost (Score:4, Insightful)

    by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Tuesday September 03, 2013 @09:49PM (#44752695)
    You have hit at the exact problem with all robotics where modern robotics will eat all low skilled jobs. It is a cultural problem not a technological or economic one. Some societies will become feudal with a small few owning everything and the great unwashed masses completely left out of the economic game and on some kind of punitive welfare.

    But some societies will know that they are all about their people. One guess is that concepts like Minimum Basic Wages (different from minimum wage) and high income taxes will shift the focus from production and capitalism (which is easy with robotics and thus shouldn't be greatly rewarded) to consumption and fairness.

    I am not talking about communism for if you look at the defective planned economy of the Soviet Union where they focused on production and things still sucked. The idea is that you focus on simple things that encourage consumption and equality and then let people figure the rest out themselves. But most societies focus on the magic term GDP and with robots that number can be very very high even with extreme unemployment. Thus it is a terrible standard to measure a happy economic situation.

    But the stupidest societies of all will ban or fight robotic production.
  • Which is it? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pkbarbiedoll (851110) on Tuesday September 03, 2013 @11:32PM (#44753219)

    > because people aren't keen on doing the laborious work.

    Or...

    > two bots would cost the same as three unskilled human laborers who earn about $20k annually not to mention medical bills due to injury.

    My money is on door #2.

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