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China Robotics Hardware

Foxconn To Employ 1 Million Robots 372

hackingbear writes "Taiwanese technology giant Foxconn will replace some of its workers with 1 million robots in three years to cut rising labor expenses and improve efficiency. Foxconn, the world's largest maker of computer components, which assembles products for Apple, Sony and Nokia, employing 1 million (human) laborers in mainland China, is in the spotlight after a string of suicides of workers at its massive Chinese plants. As labor regulations tighten up in China, human laborers demanding wage rises become replaceable."
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Foxconn To Employ 1 Million Robots

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  • Peak Employment? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bzipitidoo ( 647217 ) <bzipitidoo@yahoo.com> on Sunday July 31, 2011 @02:38AM (#36937392) Journal
    We've heard of Peak Oil. I wonder if there's Peak Employment? And have we reached it? There are so many SF stories of robots making people obsolete, of that being such a strong and recurring theme in the genre, that they have to be on to something.
  • by hughbar ( 579555 ) on Sunday July 31, 2011 @03:09AM (#36937518) Homepage
    All you young'uns read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Player_Piano [wikipedia.org] when you've finally got off my lawn.

    There's an 'interesting' economic problem and endgame in full automation too, most humans aren't 'earning' [except the ones twiddling the robotic controls, that can be done by other robots too] and so they don't have any wages to 'consume'. The utopian 1950s view of this was vastly increased leisure, flying cars and people in white togas. The 2000s view is probably a vast undernourished resentful underclass and maximised value for 'shareholders'.

    Oh well, I guess the world just fills up with robot-prduced Barbies [tm] in big warehouses and the masses east kibble [tm], three meals, every day.
  • by 0123456 ( 636235 ) on Sunday July 31, 2011 @03:24AM (#36937574)

    Translation: China is pro-business while America is full of Marxists who want to put business out of business.

  • When we look back... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Vitriol+Angst ( 458300 ) on Sunday July 31, 2011 @04:28AM (#36937790)

    ... I think we will call this the beginning of the "Post Labor Age." We've had the industrial revolution, the computer revolution and the Internet age.

    >> I seriously think that we CANNOT keep society intact and life civil without changing the way we look at "earning a living." We already have so many "make work" jobs in our economy -- to keep people busy. I'd say that only 5% of us even do something necessary.

    And before you tell everyone how NECESSARY your job is -- consider that marketing, accounting, legal and sales are all about "distributing" or influencing people to purchase. Tax complications, keep many accountants employed. Haggling with insurance companies for a Doctors office.

    Once automation is able to replace most construction, and expert systems most accountants and boiler-plate legal work -- the amount of money that goes to those who OWN these smart factories of the future will be greater -- and the demand for labor, less.

    The planet just hit 7 Billion people and it is estimated, we are using resources that would require 1 and a half earths to fulfill (an estimate of the "load bearing" capacity of the planet).

    >> AS harsh as we are now in the USA to what we call "deadbeats", I think we are a generation away from most people being useless -- intensive education of the brightest, or the OWNING of resources and patents will only employ a small percentage of the population.

    It could be a golden age -- or a Darwinian nightmare -- it all depends on how we deal with this as a society. I fear that the Wealthiest, are too busy trying to create a police state and already look upon the teaming masses as useless eaters.

  • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Sunday July 31, 2011 @05:16AM (#36937924) Journal

    And just think of the money you'll save on suicide netting!

    Seriously though it is time for we humans to face a cold hard fact of reality, and that is the days of trading labor for capital are over and there is NOTHING that the capitalists can do to change that. We are playing IQ musical chairs with larger and larger amounts of people simply never getting a seat because thew reality is the machine can do it better than any human ever could. The machine won't get tired, won't get sick,, don't get hurt or need overtime.

    The jobs that just 30 years ago would have employed a large piece of the population can be done today by the amount of people that would fill a small HS gym with seats left over. The average person has an IQ of 105 so you simply can't make the entire population rocket scientists, and I would argue that like housing the next bubble that will be bursting will be the education racket, with large masses of our youth buried under crushing debt they will never be able to pay destroying their credit rating and further depressing the economy.

    So we are gonna have to make some hard choices here: Do we create millions of "make work" jobs, the equivalent of putting paper A into slot B just to justify paying the masses? Do you go on the road we are currently on, with an ever growing gap between the haves and have nots pretty much guaranteeing an Arab Spring in our future? Or do we pay people NOT to work the way we pay farmers not to grow crops?

    Because we have already lost industrial, one of the last places for those with a strong back to work, and is there any job at your local MickeyD that couldn't be done by an automated assembly line? Of course not but the fast food industry is a classic example of "make work" where the only reason they haven't automated is because the state is covering for their pathetic wages in the form over government assistance. If the corporate handouts were to end (which with declining tax revenues thanks to the rich using scams like the "double dutch" and the honest folks not having jobs will have to happen sooner or later) then the fast food industry WILL become automated, just as Wendy's now uses call centers instead of hiring someone to work the window at each location.

    We are just gonna have to face the fact that like slavery and suffrage the days of trading labor for capital have run its course. Unless we want to become Luddites and smash the machines we WILL have to find a way for the masses to survive. While I'm sure many teabaggers wouldn't mind going back to the 1840s where the poor died in the streets that simply isn't gonna happen, look to the Arab Springs to see what happens when you ignore the masses for too long. It is time to accept capitalism is dead and move on, to ignore this fact is to proceed at our own peril.

Evolution is a million line computer program falling into place by accident.