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EU Robotics

EU Launches World's Largest Civilian Robotics Program; 240,000 New Jobs Expected 171

Hallie Siegel writes: "The European Commission and 180 companies and research organizations (under the umbrella of euRobotics) have launched the world's largest civilian research and innovation program in robotics. Covering manufacturing, agriculture, health, transport, civil security and households, the initiative – called SPARC – is the E.U.'s industrial policy effort to strengthen Europe's position in the global robotics market (€60 billion a year by 2020). This initiative is expected to create over 240,000 jobs in Europe, and increase Europe's share of the global market to 42% (a boost of €4 billion per year). The European Commission will invest €700 million and euRobotics will invest €2.1 billion."
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EU Launches World's Largest Civilian Robotics Program; 240,000 New Jobs Expected

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  • by K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @02:07PM (#47157913)
    Automation improves productivity. By your logic, ancient agrarian economies should be strived for because everyone had a chance to work his ass off. I mean, what does it matter how little wealth was actually produced with that, right?
  • by aix tom ( 902140 ) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @02:32PM (#47158209)

    It worked pretty well as long as there were still "new products" that could be sold, and the people building that products (cars, washing machines, TVs) where essentially roughly the same segment of the population that actually bought them in the end. Then every increase in productivity meant an increase in wealth.

    Back then the economic motor was "build more stuff that people actually want to buy". which is in my opinion the only reason that can make commerce prosper.

    "Make more money" and "Create more jobs" goals are in my opinion just as worthless as economic motors as the old communist "Make everybody equal" goal. Neither of those actually CREATES wealth, only building new stuff that people actually want that actually winds up in the hands of most of the populace creates wealth. The trip that most "make money" companies these days are on (produce in low-wage countries, sell in high-wage countries) will someday come to an end when the former high-wage countries collapse. It's just a matter of time and a matter of how big a bang they create when they go down.

  • Is this Slashdot? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ponos ( 122721 ) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @02:45PM (#47158337)

    Everyone speaks about a possible losss of jobs or trademark issues. Am I the only one thinking that robot technology is cool? This is the kind of shit that could allow exploration of the oceans and eventually space, prosthetic help for sick people, cheaper and more efficient mass production etc. Plus, it would probably generate some interesting by-products, like advanced algorithms, maybe a new programming language or new processor types. And it gives jobs to young people with PhDs.

    PS Jobs are being lost and created all the time. Think robot maintainer, robot programmer, robot police (?) (the "Turing"?), robot designer. And, anyway, if a job can be taken by a robot it probably isn't very interesting or creative to begin with. If I had a choice, I'd rather be doing the creative stuff.

  • by Missing.Matter ( 1845576 ) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @03:22PM (#47158673)

    The vast majority of work available for people throughout the world is manual labor, including trades

    And most of that work isn't going away in the near future. With the current state of robots, you're talking about taking away the most dull, dangerous, and dirty jobs out there. Some robots will even have jobs that humans aren't capable of doing because they are so dangerous or dirty. Any jobs for these robots will be a net gain in employment, creating jobs surrounding and supporting the robot that were not possible before.

    Again, as for those replaced by robots, well, tough. Your job is now done by a machine. Find something else to do.

    If you can't see that coming then I wonder if you've given much thought to this issue at all.

    If you think that's coming any time in the near or even distant future, you have absolutely zero knowledge of what robots are actually capable of. As someone who designs robots for a living, you can rest assured that humans will be the ones designing and repairing robots for a long time to come.

    In this case, replacing horse drawn carriages with cars was of the same type.

    It was the same "type" insofar as both made you go forward faster than walking. That's about where the similarities end between the horse/buggy industry and the automobile industry. Horsewhip makers really have no transferrable skills in a world where horsewhips don't make cars go faster. And yet the world moved on. Shocking.

  • by ponos ( 122721 ) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @03:41PM (#47158885)

    This is another example of corporate welfare masquerading as a jobs plan, combined with protectionist sentiment. The central planners will take money out of the productive economy and spend it on a corporate giveaway to favoured interests. Jobs that otherwise would have been created in the productive sector will be lost, while only the 240,000 pork barrel jobs will be noticed by the superficial.

    Is there an alternative way of stimulating research in a specific field for the public good? And why wouldn't the proposed approach work? I mean, NASA went to the moon in the 60s and here we are today waiting for some billionaires who hope to one day send some rich kids at a hundred km from the earth's surface. As if that would be a great achievement. And don't even tell me who in the private sector would ever fund obscenely expensive shit like CERN or the ITER fusion reactor. The fact is, if you want basic research, government funding is extremely important. So, while the productive sector is busy developing the iPhone 6 or some other must-have "gadget", someone will have to pay for basic research if you want to get that flying car one day.

    And, for what it's worth, getting EU research funding is often so hard and competitive that if you manage to obtain it, it becomes a key item in your resume. Sort of like a prize. So, I fail to see how a highly specialized research program with high barriers to entry will result in pork barrel jobs.

Fear is the greatest salesman. -- Robert Klein