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Factory-In-a-Day Project Aims To Deploy Work-Ready Robots Within 24 Hours 157

Posted by samzenpus
from the but-I-want-them-now dept.
Zothecula writes "Industrial robots have proven useful in reducing production costs in large factories, with major enterprises enlisting their services to execute repetitive tasks. The Factory-in-a-Day project, which kicked off in October, aims to also make robotic technology beneficial to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), by developing adaptable robots that can be integrated with workplace systems within 24 hours."
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Factory-In-a-Day Project Aims To Deploy Work-Ready Robots Within 24 Hours

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    How hard can it be to teach a robot to whip humans into performing menial tasks?
  • by StoutFiles (2471680) on Monday December 09, 2013 @02:30PM (#45641653)
    They want these right away to replace all their workers who want $15 an hour.
    • Im not really clear thats a bad thing. Or do you protest as well at the use of heavy machinery (as opposed to very large workforces) in construction jobs?

    • There are plenty of workers who will work for minimum. Demanding $15/hour for burger flipping is a good way to get $0/hour.

      • There are plenty of workers who will work for minimum. Demanding $15/hour for burger flipping is a good way to get $0/hour.

        Yup, so then we end up paying for even more welfare, because low-wage, high-profit companies like McDonald's and Wal-Mart refuse to pay a decent wage. In other words, the rest of us taxpayers get to subsidize their shitty wages.

        • Some people exist as a warning to others. Don't make the decisions they made. Pay attention in school, don't have kids you can't afford.

          • Some people exist as a warning to others. Don't make the decisions they made. Pay attention in school, don't have kids you can't afford.

            "Most generalizations are false, including this one." -- Mark Twain

            First, you have no empirical evidence to support your contention, so I will summarily ignore it.

            Second, even assuming you are correct, that's no excuse for treating people like shit. From what I understand, we don't have a caste system here in the USA, something I'm thankful for.

            • You get more of anything you subsidize. Do you want more fuckups?

              Being a fuckup should visibly be a path to misery, so the kids know their choices have consequences.

              • And fucking up once should condemn a person and their entire family to generations of abject poverty?

                That must be easy for you perfect, infallible types to say.

                • 'Fuckups' fuck up _far_ more then once. Partly because people like you prevent them from learning from their mistakes.

        • Yup, so then we end up paying for even more welfare, because low-wage, high-profit companies like McDonald's and Wal-Mart refuse to pay a decent wage.

          Refuse? No. Cannot. They cannot raise wages that high even if they wanted to. While it is probably true that those companies could raise their workers wages some, they cannot raise them by more than a little bit unless everyone else is forced to do so as well. They are able to offer low prices in large part by keeping a lid on labor costs. Basically all their direct competitors do exactly the same thing. If they raise wages they have to raise prices and someone else gets the business. Go ahead and d

      • by PoliTech (998983)
        $15/hour for burger flipping is a good way to get a $10.00 burger. The guy down the street with the Burger Makin Robot [singularityhub.com] is still selling $5.00 burgers.

        So in the end ... Demanding $15/hour for burger flipping is a good way to get $0/hour.

        • $15/hour for burger flipping is a good way to get a $10.00 burger.

          No.

          Until the day the official poverty line hovers somewhere around $50,000/yr, that won't happen.

          Why? Basic economics, that's why: McDonald's wouldn't be able to sell $10 Big Macs, because no one in their right mind would pay that. McDonald's knows this; they also know that the most reasonable way to pay $15/hr while still turning a fat profit would be to cut executive pay proportionally.

          Which means the guys who make these decisions would make slightly-less-obscene amounts of money. Which they can't even fa

          • You should not talk about 'zero understanding of economics'.

            Most McDonald's are franchises. There are no big cheeses.

            The reason McDonalds workers won't get $15/hour is they don't do $15/hour of work. It is that simple.

            • I agree that the mantra of $15/hr is just plain silly, but that doesn't really have a bearing on my point.

              Until the dollar devalues so much that $10 in current money == $3 today, McDonald's won't be charging ten bucks for a burger. They'd lose so much business there would be no way to keep the company solvent.

              Of course, we get to that point, and $10 Big Mac's will be the least of our concerns.

            • Most McDonald's are franchises. There are no big cheeses.

              And you don't understand business. Franchisees pay ongoing franchise fees to the franchiser. It's the bloody definition of the business. There sure as hell are some big cheeses running the McDonald's Corporation (NYSE: MCD).

          • they also know that the most reasonable way to pay $15/hr while still turning a fat profit would be to cut executive pay proportionally.

            Assuming, for the sake of argument, that McDonald's were a monolithic corporation instead of a bunch of franchises...

            Assuming that current staff is all making $7 per hour, and we wish to pay them$15 per hour, with the money coming from executive pay...

            There are 14000+ McD's in the USA. Assuming half a dozen people working any given hour of an 18 hour day, then you'll nee

            • Well, OK, maybe $15/hr is a bit nuts, but that's not really the point I was trying to make - anyone claiming that they can't afford to raise wages at all, because it would require the business to sell $10 burgers, either failed Econ 101, is hoping that everyone in the audience did, or they're a blatant liar.

              Player's choice.

              • by 0123456 (636235)

                Anyone who thinks McDonalds' workers should earn more is free to leave them a tip next time they visit.

                • Anyone who thinks McDonalds' workers should earn more is free to leave them a tip next time they visit.

                  Actually, you're not, because McDonald's does not allow their workers to accept tips. Manager is supposed to confiscate and add to the nightly totals. Employees who are caught accepting tips get fired.

                  The same goes for Burger King and Sonic (except carhops, obviously); can't speak for anywhere else because I never worked there.

          • by mjwx (966435)

            $15/hour for burger flipping is a good way to get a $10.00 burger.

            No.

            Until the day the official poverty line hovers somewhere around $50,000/yr, that won't happen.

            Why? Basic economics, that's why: McDonald's wouldn't be able to sell $10 Big Macs, because no one in their right mind would pay that. McDonald's knows this; they also know that the most reasonable way to pay $15/hr while still turning a fat profit would be to cut executive pay proportionally.

            Which means the guys who make these decisions would make slightly-less-obscene amounts of money. Which they can't even fathom. Which is why we're seeing the anti-paying-a-living-wage media blitz.

            TL;DR version - Anyone who thinks McDonald's would ever charge $10 for a burger has absolutely zero understanding of Economics.

            This.

            I live in Australia where the minimum wage is around A$15 per hour and you can get a cheeseburger from Micky D's for a cool A$2.60. Now that $15 p/h is for an 18 yr old full time employee, seeing as all McWageSlaves are casuals, you need to add loading onto that to compensate for things casuals dont get (sick leave, annual leave, job security) so it'll end up being around A$18 p/h. Underage will cost less, probably around $14-16 p/h with loading but you cant run a 24 hour Macca's on 14 yr olds (thei

      • by daem0n1x (748565)

        When everybody is paid $0 an hour, because everyone was fired to make their bosses richer, who will buy hamburgers from McDonnalds?

        Corporations don't manufacture shit and sell it to leprechauns, they sell it to real people who need real income to buy it.

    • Another way of spinning that would be "Raising the minimum wage will lead to advances in robotic technology." What the fuck are we waiting for?
      • Another way of spinning that would be "Raising the minimum wage will lead to advances in robotic technology."

        Spinning? Hell, you put so much English on that one, it managed to circumnavigate the table without touching a single bank!

  • In the situations I've encountered turnaround time hasn't been the bottleneck keeping smaller businesses from automating things with robots. Maybe there are some cases where you really need custom stuff on the spot, but more often you can wait a week. The problem is that at small scale stuff is expensive and high-overhead. If you want one industrial robot, you are going to pay a lot for it, and you are going to incur a lot of labor costs just getting the thing to work.

    • Not to worry! With new FungusLease Managed Robotic Workforce technology, businesses mired in boring old 'making physical objects' industries can experience the joys of The Cloud by replacing an increasing number of aspects of their production process with robots whose hardware is leased from me, and whose software and configuration data are licensed in exchange for monthly fees in perpetuity! Don't worry, the part of the license granting me a perpetual nonexclusive license to all the configuration data and
    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      In the situations I've encountered turnaround time hasn't been the bottleneck keeping smaller businesses from automating things with robots. Maybe there are some cases where you really need custom stuff on the spot, but more often you can wait a week. The problem is that at small scale stuff is expensive and high-overhead. If you want one industrial robot, you are going to pay a lot for it, and you are going to incur a lot of labor costs just getting the thing to work.

      It depends on a lot of factors.

      One reas

  • by Sir or Madman (2818071) on Monday December 09, 2013 @02:36PM (#45641703)

    Automation like this only benefits two groups, factory owners and the consumers of the product. Owners want more profit and consumers want cheaper goods. The big loser is the worker who is left without a job. Most workers are also consumers, so more automation is required to keep prices at their level given that they are shifted into lower paying "service" jobs. It's a vicious cycle that's been going on for a century and we now have unheard of disparity between rich and poor. I love the idea of robots doing our bidding and appreciate this tech, but the reality of it sucks.

    I am not a Luddite, but we need to think about how tech affect society. I think most engineers would agree that there are certain technologies that are unethical to work in. To me, this is one of them.

    • No reason to worry, with our exciting advances in military robot technology, we can have robots solve the unemployment problems that other robots create!
    • by couchslug (175151) on Monday December 09, 2013 @02:46PM (#45641787)

      "Automation like this only benefits two groups, factory owners and the consumers of the product."

      Make that three groups, as those deploying, servicing and repairing the robots will remain in demand for many years. Industrial equipment gets used hard and doesn't fix itself yet.

      The skills needed for that are a combination not natural or intuitive to many people. The world has plenty of computer geeks, plenty of mechanics, and plenty of electricians. It has fewer who are all of those.

    • by EvilSS (557649)
      Don't be silly. Obviously all those unemployed and displaced workers will get jobs building and servicing the robots. You know, buggy wheels and industrial whip-cream and all that...
    • by sjbe (173966) on Monday December 09, 2013 @03:22PM (#45642143)

      Automation like this only benefits two groups, factory owners and the consumers of the product.

      What about the engineers who program the device? The tooling makers who build the automation and fixtures? The more skilled (higher paid) workers needed to operate the machines? The workers who remain employed because their company remains competitive? The maintenance workers who service the machine? The bank which finances the equipment purchase? The workers who get hired on the next project because the company is more competitive? All these groups and more benefit from automation. You have an overly simplistic, short sighted and incorrect view of this issue.

      It's a vicious cycle that's been going on for a century and we now have unheard of disparity between rich and poor.

      Demonstrably nonsense. Income inequality fell until around the 1970s-80s. The disparities we are seeing recently are a recent phenomena and are due to a complicated mixture of the falling power of unions, globalization, and financial manipulation.

      The big loser is the worker who is left without a job.

      Sigh... I run a small manufacturing company and I'm a certified accountant as well as an industrial engineer. Automation does not mean fewer jobs, it means different jobs and in the long run it means more jobs. Automation happens when a product needs to be produced in sufficient volume or with quality and/or safety requirements such that employing humans to do the job is not economical. The "lost" jobs you are bemoaning would never exist in the first place or if they did they would exist in the location with the lowest labor costs. My company purchased automation for lead making (we make wire harnesses) that allowed us to produce subassemblies faster. This allowed us to hire MORE people than we would have without the automation. In fact without the automation we would have been bankrupt. There is NO possible way for anyone to produce 500,000 wire leads with good quality by hand for a competitive price even with Chinese labor rates.

      I'll give you another example. We use automation to process a six conductor cable for a jumper harness. We make about 1000 of these each day. While it is technically possible to automate this with some very expensive robotics and vision systems, the volume requirements would have to be ten times what we are producing to even consider doing that. The automation would cost well over US$2 million (yes I've looked). So we have unskilled workers who don't get paid much doing the work. Because of the cost of this automation (we can't afford it) we have to charge higher prices for our services which means we lose out on bids for work and cannot hire as many people. Lack of automation actually hinders our ability to hire more people because it limits our competitiveness.

      I am not a Luddite, but we need to think about how tech affect society. I think most engineers would agree that there are certain technologies that are unethical to work in. To me, this is one of them.

      Factory automation is not in any way unethical. People are the most flexible and useful asset companies have. Why would you limit your people to doing boring, repetitive tasks when they are capable of so much more? I'm guessing you have never worked an assembly line. It is mostly dull, soul crushing work that pays badly and grossly underutilizes what people can do. Come work on our assembly line for a few days and you'll be whistling a different tune. Factory automation lets us get more work and hire more people and the people we hire can be paid more and do more. It's a positive cycle.

      • by couchslug (175151)

        In a huge number of cases, automation produces items manual production methods simply cannot produce.
        CNC machining as an example. It's vital to the modern world because either a thing is made by CNC machining or it's made using equipment produced by CNC machining at some or all stages of production.

      • Automation does not mean fewer jobs, it means different jobs and in the long run it means more jobs.

        You're missing the point, and as an accountant, that's odd. Sure, you might be right in that it might actually mean more jobs. But it doesn't mean more jobs per widget (per month, or whatever). That wouldn't make financial sense. So you're right, instead of 5 guys carving 5 widgets out of wood, now you've got a highly automated factory, staffed by 10 guys. But they're producing millions of widgets. If the market demands millions of widgets, you're now meeting that demand by employing only 10 guys, instead o

        • by sjbe (173966)

          You're missing the point, and as an accountant, that's odd. Sure, you might be right in that it might actually mean more jobs. But it doesn't mean more jobs per widget (per month, or whatever).

          Number of jobs per widget is an irrelevant measure unless it is related to profitability, particularly if we are only considering the company making the widget and not the rest of the supply chain. It's called productivity and it is a Good Thing. Remember companies don't exist in a vacuum. They have to compete and without productivity gains they will quickly go out of business. The average productivity of a worker in the US is much higher than in China but since China has 5X as many people that is a nec

          • Number of jobs per widget is an irrelevant measure unless it is related to profitability

            Oh you "but it's not a zero sum game!" people. Basic math escapes you because it is "too simplistic". First of all, number of jobs per widget is also relevant if we're talking about jobs, which we are. If today X people are needed to make Y widgets, and tomorrow we only need X-n people to make Y widgets, that means that there are n fewer jobs, necessarily. That these people are now free to do other jobs doesn't mean that those other jobs were somehow "created" when these people were freed up. That's quite a

    • Automation like this only benefits two groups, factory owners and the consumers of the product. Owners want more profit and consumers want cheaper goods. The big loser is the worker who is left without a job.

      Labor and capital can be visualized as occupying the two sides of a seesaw. As you increase the utilization of one, the other will become less utilized. With labor becoming increasingly expensive, business will naturally do its best to replace it with capital (i.e. equipment), because that's the most cost-effective route. The only way to stop that from happening is to somehow drop the cost of labor, and I don't see how that's possible in today's political climate other than to have government subsidize it.

    • I am not a Luddite, but we need to think about how tech affect society

      Youre not destroying looms, but youre voicing the same concern, and it simply hasnt panned out. Yes, those skilled textile workers lost their jobs, and the number of people needing jobs grew exponentially; yet we have lower unemployment, higher wages, and more wide-spread post secondary education since the luddite days, primarily BECAUSE of advances that reduced the need for manual labor.

      Every time an advance comes along that promises to reduce menial work and improve life, people wonder whether it will me

      • by compro01 (777531)

        and the answer has always been "yes: but there will be new jobs and more opportunities"

        When resource production (primary) industrialized, there was manufacturing (secondary) to pick up the slack.
        When manufacturing automated, there was services (tertiary) to pick up the slack.
        When services automate, then what? There isn't another sector up and coming to pick up the slack like the last two times.

        Which means we need to think about what we're going to do to deal with that.

        As you say, trying to put the brakes on automation isn't a viable option, so what is? Spread the remaining jobs thinner by r

        • Literally your exact concern (minus the word robotics) has been voiced so many times in the past, and turned out to be a complete non-issue, that the whole conversation is wearying.

          It actually feels like its sapping my will to discuss the issue to hear techies wondering what will happen when menial / low-skilled jobs disappear. Where exactly do you think the tech sector came from? Where exactly do you think the industrial revolution came from? Why exactly did people form cities?

          But what about the sheep-h

    • by myrdos2 (989497)

      This is known as the 'broken window fallacy'. It says that if I go around breaking windows, jobs to fix windows will be created, and the economy will benefit. But really, what's happened is that we're living less efficiently. Houses with windows become more expensive, since the windows must be continually replaced. We waste effort fixing them that could have been spent on something with benefit.

      The same is true when you make a factory less efficient. On the extreme side, we could require all workers to have

    • While I fully agree with the workers affected and there needs to be something done for them, it is not immoral or unethical to work in the field.

      Personally, the workers should be redeployed and workshare as needed.

      Instead of hiring 1 person at 90k/year, hire 2 at 45k and have them work half time. More families are supported. More people have free time.

      Yes, this might not be possible in certain fields, but it is possible in most fields.

      Keep spreading the jobs and reducing the hours worked so all people contr

    • Automation like this only benefits two groups, factory owners and the consumers of the product

      That is, until the consumers lose their jobs due to automation.

    • I am not a Luddite

      You might want to check again, because that's exactly the position you're advocating. [wikipedia.org]

      The Luddites were 19th-century English textile artisans who protested against newly developed labour-saving machinery from 1811 to 1817.

    • Automation engineer here.

      I (obviously) don't think that automation is inherently unethical, but I very much agree that societies can use it in unethical ways, e.g. for concentrating the wealth of a country on only a small percentage of the population. I don't see the current skewed distribution of wealth [youtube.com] as a problem of automation, but as a problem in the government. I miss a good debate about who should benefit from the increased productivity, how the wealth should be redistributed in a "fair" way, and wha

  • FTFY (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Daemonik (171801) on Monday December 09, 2013 @02:48PM (#45641805) Homepage
    "Industrial robots have proven useful in reducing EMPLOYEES in large factories, with major enterprises enlisting their services to LAYOFF EMPLOYEES. The Factory-in-a-Day project, which kicked off in October, aims to also make robotic technology beneficial to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), by LAYING OFF EMPLOYEES within 24 hours."
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by LordLimecat (1103839)

      How is an ostensibly tech-oriented site such a hotbed of Luddism?

      Has noone considered how the quality of life goes UP as the number of people required for menial labor goes down? Has noone even looked in a history book, to see if concerns about vanishing workforces have EVER come true? Have all of these so-called geeks never considered how its BETTER to have a more educated workforce than to have one comprised primarily of factory workers?

      Or on the flipside, perhaps one of you can explain why it is prefer

      • Re:FTFY (Score:4, Insightful)

        by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Monday December 09, 2013 @04:08PM (#45642711) Homepage Journal

        How is an ostensibly tech-oriented site such a hotbed of Luddism?

        It's not. Pointing out that a certain technology has potential negative consequences is not the same thing as destroying technology out of fear and misunderstanding. The opposite, really.

        Has noone considered how the quality of life goes UP as the number of people required for menial labor goes down?

        Depends on how you measure quality of life, and who we're measuring it for.

        Ask yourself this: What was the quality of life for black people in the US right after they were emancipated? You might be surprised by the facts, because it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows.

        Has noone even looked in a history book, to see if concerns about vanishing workforces have EVER come true?

        Has there ever been a time in history where the majority of the workforce could be replaced quickly and cheaply by a single technology? If not, then there's no comparison to make; we kind of jumped the shark in terms of employment when we came up with robotics.

        Have all of these so-called geeks never considered how its BETTER to have a more educated workforce than to have one comprised primarily of factory workers?

        A matter of opinion, and a bad one at that - what, so if a guy works in a factory he's automatically less intelligent, and worth less than the "educated" manager, who got an MBA but never learned what the word "work" actually means? Pardon me if I take offense to that concept.

        Or on the flipside, perhaps one of you can explain why it is preferable that we (as a society / economy) spend money paying people to do non-creative work that can easily be done by an automaton, rather than spending it on art / design / innovation / work that cannot easily be done by a robot?

        Because to sell products, you need customers, and for customers to buy products, they need money, and to acquire money, most people need a job, menial or otherwise. I think they call that the Law of Supply and Demand, or some such nonsense.

        • and to acquire money, most people need a job, menial or otherwise

          How about, as a solution, we have the Federal Reserve continue to offer those awesome 0% loans. But instead of banks, the recipients of the loans can be ordinary unemployed citizens. And we can have the Fed keep printing more money (cue people mentioning that the Treasury does that, bla, bla) to loan them, indefinitely. Then upon death, those unemployed citizens can have their debt discharged, so they don't need to worry about paying back the government. The destruction of money (money starts its life as de

        • by kbolino (920292)

          Ask yourself this: What was the quality of life for black people in the US right after they were emancipated?

          Often worse than when they were slaves. Yet that does not make slavery just, nor its abolition unjust.

        • by sjbe (173966)

          Has there ever been a time in history where the majority of the workforce could be replaced quickly and cheaply by a single technology?

          Yes, though I disagree with your assertion that factory automation is cheap - it demonstrably is not. All you have to do is look at farming. 100 years ago farming employed the majority of the population. Now it employes less than 2% and much of that is due to automation, particularly devices like tractors, irrigation systems and similar technology. However the economy and the farming sector have both grown tremendously.

        • Has there ever been a time in history where the majority of the workforce could be replaced quickly and cheaply by a single technology?

          No, and there still isnt. There have been times where some sector (textile workers, or longshoremen, or assembly plants) were replaced by a new techology (power looms, shipping crates, robotics), and of course the result was an INCREASE in economy and wealth for society at large (cheap clothing, vastly cheaper shipping / global trade, cheaper assembled products) and new sectors where education is required.

          we kind of jumped the shark in terms of employment when we came up with robotics.

          A matter of opinion, and a bad one at that - what, so if a guy works in a factory he's automatically l

          • screwed up the quotes :( '
            this should be quoted:

            A matter of opinion, and a bad one at that - what, so if a guy works in a factory he's automatically less intelligent, and worth less than the "educated" manager, who got an MBA but never learned what the word "work" actually means? Pardon me if I take offense to that concept.

            This should have been stricken:

            we kind of jumped the shark in terms of employment when we came up with robotics.

      • by Daemonik (171801)

        Having an interest in technology does not mean you have to blind yourself to the pitfalls of technology. I love my cell phone, but I acknowledge that it was assembled through labor practices I would deem inhuman for laughable wages with unregulated toxic waste disposal. Technology is not a panacea.

        Let's suppose 20-30% of Americans are employed as engineers, doctors, lawyers, CEO's. The non-trade jobs. What happens when we roboticize the other 70-80%'s jobs? Will ALL of them train to become robot repair

        • What happens when we roboticize the other 70-80%'s jobs?

          I dont know, we could probably ask our history books that same question: what happened when we replaced the need for 95% of the population to grow its own food, gather its own water, knit its own clothing? What about when we no longer needed whole cities to power textile mills in the 19th century?

          Why, people came up with a million new industries and created a million new jobs; we innovated, we improved the quality of life; we got educated.

          Seriously, this is so much the opposite of "a problem" that its act

          • by Daemonik (171801)

            Now you're just being stupid. When we replaced farm work with industry, we were creating manufacturing jobs. Millions of them. This is the exact friggin' opposite of that. We are shrinking and offshoring those well paid manual labor jobs. They're not coming back, at least not in the form of employment for people. I'm sure we could rebuild with robots and use 1/100th the employee labor we used to use for the same tasks.

            Also, in that time having a college degree, ANY college degree was a guarantee of a

  • This should be very effective if it works. Which it should. Automated manufacturing usually takes a lot of startup time. Production lines have to be designed, fabricated, and carefully installed with everything aligned properly.

    There's already a big success in this area - Kiva Systems. They make those little mobile robots used for order processing. [youtube.com] Kiva already is handling about 20% of online orders, and Amazon bought the company recently. Setting up a warehouse for Kiva is simple - all you really need i

    • by aaarrrgggh (9205)

      I'm pretty sure deployment time (including programming) for Kiva is much more than 24 hours.

      While I am all for automation, Kiva is about as dehumanizing a system as I could imagine possible. It will be interesting when things like ABB's FRIDA dual-armed table-top robots become reality.

      • by Animats (122034)

        While I am all for automation, Kiva is about as dehumanizing a system as I could imagine possible.

        Agreed. Kiva is one of the most blatant examples of "Machines should think, people should work". The intelligence in the system is in computers. All the humans do is reach into the bin the laser pointer points to, take out an item, wave it under a bar code scanner, and put it in the output bin which has a light on. It takes 15 minutes to learn the job (really, about 90 seconds, but you get a little faster with practice). There's no hope of promotion, and it's only a temporary job until the picking robots a

    • http://www.rethinkrobotics.com/products/baxter/ [rethinkrobotics.com]

      I've been tempted to get one as an investment ($22K) to learn to write apps for it, but I don't have the time right now doing other work. But stuff like Baxter is clearly the future...

      And, while we "rethink robotics", we need to "rethink economics" (including a basic income, an expanded gift economy, improved local subsistence, and better democratic planning), like I talk about on my site.

      • by kermidge (2221646)

        Given the tenor and kind of the discussion to this point, one of the things we need is to find a sufficient common point of agreement, firmly eschew any a priori ideology, then start doing questioning and analysis based on energy flow and cost. The permanently attached rider is the question that's been central to what's passed for debate so far: what, exactly, will we do with the current and future members of our species (expected to peak ~10billions) who have no current or realistically projected place.

        T

  • Hurray, more time to play Final Fantasy XIV with my friends!

  • Light duty industrial robot: $60,000.

    So, 4000 hours of labor (can work continuously) = about 6 months of 8-hour-day $15/hour labor.

    • by mjwx (966435)

      Light duty industrial robot: $60,000.

      So, 4000 hours of labor (can work continuously) = about 6 months of 8-hour-day $15/hour labor.

      This is not a zero sum game.

      That $60,000 robot has costs of its own (electricity, maintenance, parts, replacement) that the worker does not. The robot has a much shorter shelf life than the employee, think about a car and the costs of keeping a 15 yr old car in the same condition it was in new under constant use. Even if you buy a highly reliable EK Civic 15 years later you'll be replacing a bunch of components (seals, hoses, engine mounts, anything with rubber in it degrades over time), now you can easi

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