Replace its human workers with thousands of robots

Pauvres jeunes, non seulement, vous devez compétitionner contre les pays émergents, car vos salaires sont trop haut.

Mais, maintenant, vous devez compétitionner contre les robots.

Pas facile, l’avenir ne sera pas rose, précarité, inflation, stagnation des salaires …


Foxconn is attempting to replace its human workers with thousands of robots

·         By Grant Brunner on July 8, 2014 at 4:15 pm

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After years of facing criticism for its labor practices, Foxconn is working to solve the problem. Will living conditions be completely revamped, and employees paid fairly? Don’t be ridiculous! Instead, Foxconn wants to replace those pesky workers with ten thousand robots. These robots alone could manufacture hundreds of millions of iPhones every year — potentially eliminating the need for most of the workforce. This rollout of “Foxbots” might solve Foxconn’s current PR problem, but will it create a bigger uproar when thousands of workers lose their jobs to robots?

At a shareholder’s meeting held recently, Foxconn’s Terry Gou explained that these so-called “Foxbots” are almost ready for prime time. These machines will be installed in at least one large-scale factory in the near future, and we can most assuredly expect more to come once the kinks have been worked out. Interestingly, Chinese site IT Home is reporting that Apple — the company most associated with Foxconn — will be the first company to use these new robots. If that’s true, maybe that rumored 4.7-inch iPhone 6 we’ve heard so much about will be assembled exclusively by robots.

Apparently, each of these machines cost between $20,000 and $25,000, and they’ll be able to pump out 30,000 units in a year’s time. After doing some back-of-the-envelope calculations, it seems that 10,000 of these devices could churn out over 820,000 devices in a single day. With numbers like that, it’s no surprise that Foxconn is looking to automate its assembly line.

Of course, this doesn’t spell the immediate end of factory labor. In 2011, we were told that Foxconn would have upwards of a million robots in its factories by 2014, but we’ve yet to see any official headcount. Since Foxconn isn’t bragging about its total number of robots, it’s safe to assume that those early estimates were overly optimistic. As it stands, Foxconn employs well over a million people in factories all over the world, and it’s just not practical to fire all of those people just yet. The human touch is still needed in many aspects of production, but how long is that going to last? The fields of robotics and artificial intelligence are growing incredibly fast, and it seems inevitable that number of factory jobs will slowly dwindle to nothing over the next few decades.

It’s not all bad news, though. Robotic labor will most certainly reduce cost, increase efficiency, and prevent exposure to unsafe working conditions. Electronics will be even more affordable as robots take over more jobs, and you won’t have to worry about supporting the sketchy labor practices found abroad. Unfortunately, that will likely come at the cost of millions of jobs across the entire industry.

Source: Foxconn is attempting to replace its human workers with thousands of robots


Robots will soon replace some workers at Foxconn

Foxconn, a manufacturer of Apple products, hasn’t had the easiest relationship with its workers. With a spate of suicides and an explosion at one of the Taiwan-based company’s plants, Apple saw fit to look for a new manufacturer. Foxconn’s HR department may have to work overtime with the manufacturer’s plans to introduce more robots into the workplace.

 

The robots will be tasked with simple assignments. Xinhua News reports that the robots would take care of “spraying, welding, and assembling.” This spells danger for current Foxconn workers as many of them are responsible for those tasks.

 

The plan to introduce these robots will take place over the course of three years. As many as one million robots are slated to be introduced into Foxconn’s plants. Currently, Foxconn has approximately 10,000 robots in its plants. That will expand to 300,000 next year.

 

This move is in place with the intention of cutting labor costs. That’s an awfully politically correct way to say workers are getting the axe, and it remains unclear just how many workers will lose their jobs.

 

A robot takeover could be an HR disaster for a company that has received more negative press than it could ever want. The series of suicides last year prompted a number of pay raises and a no-suicide contract. The explosion in Chengdu forced that plant to close. While robots may cut costs, they will inevitably make many people unhappy, including the remaining workforce.

 

The company’s current staff is said to be 1.2 million people. No estimate was given as to the impact the expanded use of robots would have on that number.

Source:  Robots will soon replace some workers at Foxconn