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One of Foxconn's new robots  (Source:
The electronics manufacturer will receive another 20,000 robots before the end of 2012

Foxconn plans to replace 1 million of its human factory workers in China with robots, and the first 10,000 have already been installed.

At least one Foxconn factory in China has received 10,000 robots for the purpose of replacing human workers. These robots, which were manufactured in house and are called "Foxbots," are capable of doing simple tasks like lifting, making selections and placing items where they belong. They will act much like assembly line robots.

According to Singularity HUB, each robot costs about $20,000-$25,000.

Last year, Foxconn President Terry Gou said he wanted to replace 1 million factory workers in China with 1 million robots. This was likely due to the number of problems Foxconn has had with human employees over the years. 

The company came under fire earlier this year when The New York Times published a massive article on the working conditions of Foxconn factories. Apple was also targeted because the report mentioned Apple's lack of action when receiving reports on these poor working environments and overtime/pay issues.

Foxconn gave employees a pay boost earlier this year and is cleaning its act up slowly but surely to comply with audits. 

But it seems Foxconn just doesn't want to deal with human employees at all anymore. While it will take a long time to replace all 1 million workers with 1 million robots, the electronics manufacturer will receive another 20,000 robots before the end of 2012 -- bringing its total to 30,000 for the year. Foxconn hopes to continue increasing this number over the coming years. 

Source: Singularity HUB

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RE: Building your replacment
By FaaR on 11/14/2012 5:22:05 PM , Rating: 2
When robots are making everything in the world, to whom will the world's wealthy sell their products?

The people who work on the assembly lines of foxconn already can't afford much, so they aren't much of a driving force in the economy. Shit, you practically can't live on the salary that foxconn used to pay, now they've bumped up the salary a bit after all the suicides and such so maybe you won't go bankrupt anymore working for that company.

Robots are best suited for jobs that people aren't well suited for anyway; mindless, monotonous and/or physically demanding. It's better if robots take over these jobs, because a person working them for very long will wear themselves out, and that is a big cost overall to society (even though the owners of foxconn themselves may be making big bucks.)

RE: Building your replacment
By BifurcatedBoat on 11/14/2012 5:38:57 PM , Rating: 4
That's exactly right. You're better off building a robot to do the monotonous job, training one of the workers to maintain the robots, and getting the rest of the workers to do something else that the robots can't do yet.

That improves progress, efficiency, and ultimately quality of life for everybody.

Imagine if we were still trying to hang onto the the middle-ages blacksmith concept, and things like shovels and wheels were manually created individually using a forge for the sake of saving jobs. Yeah, you'd have more people having something to do, but it would be a waste of time and resources relative to modern mass production.

RE: Building your replacment
By Salisme on 11/14/2012 6:00:08 PM , Rating: 2
Absolutely! I was a contractor at a GM powertrain plant fresh out of college. Easily 80% of the plant was automated, and there was basically engineers that replaced down machinery. It was very efficient.

This idea is not a new concept. There will always be people needed to fix and replace the machines, that is unless skynet really does take over....

RE: Building your replacment
By Jaybus on 11/15/2012 1:32:20 PM , Rating: 2
The first industrial use robot was installed in a GM plant in 1961. They have slowly replaced human workers over the last 50 years and robots are now widespread. It is not surprising that Foxcon would automate. If instead of low wage workers, they were actually slaves, robots would still be cheaper. My father worked for a steel mill in the 60's and 70's. At the time, they had over 10,000 employees. Now they make almost twice as much steel with only 2,000 employees. None of these lost jobs were outsourced. They simply were replaced with robots. I consider it a good thing, because the place is a hell on Earth and many people were killed or injured there in really dangerous jobs. Likely you couldn't even find anybody who would dare to do those jobs now. That was a much tougher generation.

RE: Building your replacment
By Tony Swash on 11/14/12, Rating: 0
RE: Building your replacment
By bupkus on 11/15/2012 1:30:51 AM , Rating: 1
Give it a rest. You don't need to defend Apple about Foxconn anymore. Simply said, considering the problems here we truly don't care about worker problems in China.

RE: Building your replacment
By Tony Swash on 11/15/2012 6:46:29 AM , Rating: 1
I note you don't challenge any of the points I made. You just don't much like the truth.

Industrial workers in China are a lot better off than their parents. Fact

The Foxconn suicide rate is below the national average. Fact

Foxconn wages are about twice the average industrial wage. Fact

It may be galling but 'dems the facts' :)

RE: Building your replacment
By YashBudini on 11/15/2012 12:29:53 PM , Rating: 2
It may be galling but 'dems the facts' :)

You can be in the the best most humane torture chamber in the country, doesn't make it a good place to be. Chew on those facts for a while.

RE: Building your replacment
By testerguy on 11/16/2012 5:09:18 AM , Rating: 2
A torture chamber which you have a choice whether to enter, or stay in?

Right... OK.

RE: Building your replacment
By bupkus on 11/15/2012 1:45:19 PM , Rating: 2
It may be galling but 'dems the facts' :)

Uhh... it may be galling but 'who cares' :)

Fact is, I don't see myself buying anything Apple in the next forever. I wouldn't change that if Foxconn gave their employee "guests" conjugal visits.

Now, before you call me a hater, it's not because I hate Apple, I just prefer the Google way of open sourcing Android. In addition, I would only purchase Nexus devices with repeated Android updates; it's like Christmas every 16 weeks.

RE: Building your replacment
By Twistedbro5 on 11/15/2012 11:51:22 AM , Rating: 2
China doesn't even care about China, their workers can die their people can suffer, they have the money,the military, the numbers, the goods. They will win as the U.S goes over the fiscal Cliff. WW3 comin in the next 20 years max

RE: Building your replacment
By TheSlamma on 11/15/2012 2:39:29 PM , Rating: 2
Have you been reading up on China's economy lately? They are not looking that great and they are losing jobs left and right now. They need money from something also to support their government, we'll see how they hold up.

What goes up... must come down.. spinnin' wheel... you finish it!!

RE: Building your replacment
By Ringold on 11/15/2012 2:01:23 AM , Rating: 2
Don't know why that's -2. In this instance.. He speaks truth.

China, pre Deng Xioping's 1980s reforms, had nothing but rice paddies and cow dung. Now look at it. Swash is right. Only an idiot would think those hundreds of millions of people that've swarmed the city don't obviously consider the city and its factories preferable to the rice paddies. For a lot of legal reasons, it'd even be easier for them if they did go back. But they choose to stay. Consumer spending in China is booming; do you see Apple stores, legit or not, sprouting up all over what is the equivalent of pre-Deng China, North Korea? No, you do not.

I know a lot of my fellow pampered Westerners would like if, somehow, a country could go straight from cow dung and rice paddies to a wine-sipping 30-hour work week, iPhone 5 in every pocket, metrosexual-filled society afraid to gets its hands dirty. Stalin and Mao both tried it, millions died. Just doesn't work that way.

RE: Building your replacment
By YashBudini on 11/15/2012 12:32:24 PM , Rating: 2
RE: Building your replacment
By Ringold on 11/15/2012 3:57:50 PM , Rating: 2
What does that have to do with anything? If anything, it reinforces Tony's point. He's selling a body part, like an idiot, not for food, housing, or anything else necessary for a basic standard of human living. He sold it to acquire a 100% luxury item.

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