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One of Foxconn's new robots  (Source: singularityhub.com)
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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The thing about Communism...
By CaedenV on 11/15/2012 10:16:21 AM , Rating: 2
I know that China is not exactly pure communism, just as the US is not exactly pure capitalism, but in a future society of automated labor communism has a distinct advantage in that it does not require people to work in order to have a flowing economy. The whole idea of communism is that those on top who 'know better' control the distribution of wealth and dictate the standard of living for the masses. In a future world where there is a high level of automation this works because the people do not need to work for the country to have an economy. Those who are motivated and want to have the perks of the 'working class' can get their education and get a job. Those who do not want to work can sit on their collective butts and twiddle their thumbs because the gov't would have the resources to afford them a decent minimum standard of life with even a minimal workforce being productive. Not saying I am for communism (I rather dislike top-down authority structures), but they will have that advantage when moving from a worker based economy to an automation based economy.

The problem with straight capitalism (and the reason it is not practiced in the real world) is that the minute you cannot work then your personal money supply dries up, and then you cannot provide for your basic necessities of life for you and your family. But even here in America we practice a form of socialism where we afford people a minimum standard of living (though it is a broken system right now... but that is another issue).

As things become more automated there will be less need for workers, but the standard of living for those without work will rise. It will never rise to the point of those who are gainfully employed, but it will make it to where you will not have to worry about what you will eat, or if you will have a roof over your head, or have heat in the winter, or even basic health care. Not saying it will all be sunshine and rainbows, but there is no reason for it to have the stigma of the 'welfare society' of the past.

The problem right now is that we are in an odd transition, similar to that of the beginning of the industrial era. We have some economies that rely on a labor force which can easily, or soon, be replaced by machines. The issue is not if the people being replaced will have their basic necessities taken care of (because we are compassionate enough to provide that). The issue is going from the pride of being self sufficient, to being reliant on society. This is something that Americans are greatly divided on. I think it is a largely generational thing. My parents generation was all for working at the same place their entire lives at one company. They want/need to be told what to do, and find security in that. Meanwhile, much of my generation (and I include myself in this) would absolutely love to have more automation, and that higher minimum standard of living. Not because I want to sit on my butt and twiddle my thumbs all day, but because I want to spend more time at home with my kids during the day while they are growing up (something my parents did not have the option to do because they both had to work full time for both economic and psychological reasons). I also would love to have it because it would free me up to do whatever I want to do. I am a highly motivated person, and if I have more free time then I would spend it learning and doing things rather than just watching TV all day, and I think a lot of people (though certainly not all) of my generation are similar to me in this.

The trick is structuring this transition so that it does not disrupt the life plans of the people who did not see this shift coming (like my parents). They saved a ton of money in various investments which have lost value due to inflation and the recent collapse/correction/Armageddon of the economy, and will only lose value in the future (tell me what happens to the stock market when more than 50% of the people in it are forced to sell stock due to the structure of their retirement plan... ya, that will not be pretty). They did everything 'right' by the rules of their parent's world, and what they were taught, but it does not work in this 'brave new world', and if we jilt their generation as they retire over the next few years then we should feel ashamed as a society.




RE: The thing about Communism...
By zephyrprime on 11/15/2012 12:03:13 PM , Rating: 2
I think you should read judge dredd if you want to see what the world you describe will turn out to be like. The world is judge dredd is a workerless one like you describe.


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