Robot Replacement of Human Workers

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Robot Replacement of Human Workers

#1

Post by Addie » Sat Dec 31, 2016 9:36 am

The Verge
iPhone manufacturer Foxconn plans to replace almost every human worker with robots

Foxconn, the Taiwanese manufacturing giant behind Apple’s iPhone and numerous other major electronics devices, aims to automate away a vast majority of its human employees, according to a report from DigiTimes. Dai Jia-peng, the general manager of Foxconn’s automation committee, says the company has a three-phase plan in place to automate its Chinese factories using software and in-house robotics units, known as Foxbots.

The first phase of Foxconn’s automation plans involve replacing the work that is either dangerous or involves repetitious labor humans are unwilling to do. The second phase involves improving efficiency by streamlining production lines to reduce the number of excess robots in use. The third and final phase involves automating entire factories, “with only a minimal number of workers assigned for production, logistics, testing, and inspection processes,” according to Jia-peng.

The slow and steady march of manufacturing automation has been in place at Foxconn for years. The company said last year that it had set a benchmark of 30 percent automation at its Chinese factories by 2020. The company can now produce around 10,000 Foxbots a year, Jia-peng says, all of which can be used to replace human labor. In March, Foxconn said it had automated away 60,000 jobs at one of its factories.

In the long term, robots are cheaper than human labor. However, the initial investment can be costly. It’s also difficult, expensive, and time consuming to program robots to perform multiple tasks, or to reprogram a robot to perform tasks outside its original function. That is why, in labor markets like China, human workers have thus far been cheaper than robots. To stay competitive though, Foxconn understands it will have to transition to automation.

Complicating the matter is the Chinese government, which has incentivized human employment in the country. In areas like Chengdu, Shenzhen, and Zhengzhou, local governments have doled out billions of dollars in bonuses, energy contracts, and public infrastructure to Foxconn to allow the company to expand. As of last year, Foxconn employed as many as 1.2 million people, making it one of the largest employers in the world. More than 1 million of those workers reside in China, often at elaborate, city-like campuses that house and feed employees.


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Re: Robot Replacement of Human Workers

#2

Post by Volkonski » Sat Dec 31, 2016 10:33 am

So what about those manufacturing jobs that Trump is going to bring back to the USA? ;)

By the way, Foxconn has big plans but so far its implementation has not lived up to those plans.

Foxconn’s Robot Army Yet to Prove Match for Humans

http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2015/05/05/ ... or-humans/

The truth about Foxconn’s Foxbot industrial robots

http://projects.directindustry.com/project-1267.html

Nevertheless, increased automation is inevitable.

Every new technology has a period of struggle while the bugs get worked out. People shouted "Get a horse!" when early autos broke down. Steamboats were "Fulton's folly". Twenty-five years ago Consumer Reports saw no reason anyone would ever want a PC in their home. Early digital sound recordings were inferior to analog recordings. A director of Rolls Royce resigned when the company started welding its auto bodies together instead of using hand-fitted bolts. Amazon took a long time to turn a profit.

The world needs to figure out what to do as the demand for unskilled and semiskilled labor continues to decline.


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Re: Robot Replacement of Human Workers

#3

Post by Foggy » Sat Dec 31, 2016 10:37 am

Volkonski wrote:Every new technology has a period of struggle while the bugs get worked out. People shouted "Get a horse!" when early autos broke down. Steamboats were "Fulton's folly". Twenty-five years ago Consumer Reports saw no reason anyone would ever want a PC in their home. Early digital sound recordings were inferior to analog recordings. A director of Rolls Royce resigned when the company started welding its auto bodies together instead of using hand-fitted bolts. Amazon took a long time to turn a profit.
Two others from memory, too bizzy today to look 'em up (but this would be an excellent New Year's Eve project for sumbuddy).

In the late 19th century, the director of the US Patent Office suggested closing down the agency because all the inventions worth anything had already been invented, and,

In 1949, Popular Mechanics predicted that someday, there might be a computer built that weighed less than a quarter of a million pounds.


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Re: Robot Replacement of Human Workers

#4

Post by Volkonski » Sat Dec 31, 2016 10:45 am

Foggy wrote:
Volkonski wrote:Every new technology has a period of struggle while the bugs get worked out. People shouted "Get a horse!" when early autos broke down. Steamboats were "Fulton's folly". Twenty-five years ago Consumer Reports saw no reason anyone would ever want a PC in their home. Early digital sound recordings were inferior to analog recordings. A director of Rolls Royce resigned when the company started welding its auto bodies together instead of using hand-fitted bolts. Amazon took a long time to turn a profit.
Two others from memory, too bizzy today to look 'em up (but this would be an excellent New Year's Eve project for sumbuddy).

In the late 19th century, the director of the US Patent Office suggested closing down the agency because all the inventions worth anything had already been invented, and,

In 1949, Popular Mechanics predicted that someday, there might be a computer built that weighed less than a quarter of a million pounds one and one half tons.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Holland_Duell

http://www.howtogeek.com/trivia/in-1949 ... eigh-what/


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Re: Robot Replacement of Human Workers

#5

Post by Addie » Sat Dec 31, 2016 11:14 am

Financial Times
When robots take jobs, workers deserve compensation ...

In a recent FT blog post, the economist Gavyn Davies concluded economics urgently needed to catch up with that runaway politics. “How to compensate the losers from globalisation will be the big story in macro in 2017,” he wrote.

Some economists argue the simplest and most radical solution would be to provide all citizens with a universal basic income, a guaranteed state handout paid to everyone, irrespective of work, wealth, or social contribution.

There has been a renewed flurry of interest in the idea this year as Finland and the Netherlands have launched localised experiments. In June, Switzerland even held a referendum on whether to introduce a basic income of about SFr30,000 ($30,275) a year for all citizens but it was heavily defeated. Some of the Silicon Valley crowd also back the idea of a “digital dividend”.

Supporters of basic income argue it would boost our economies and revitalise our societies, empowering citizens to make their own life choices. It would help individuals take time off to raise children, care for the elderly, and retrain for other professions. Its opponents argue the basic income is too simplistic, costly and ill-targeted and would corrode the linkages between effort and reward. It is, at best, premature, if not wildly utopian. Properly adjusted, current welfare states can provide more effective compensation mechanisms.

A report on technological change published last week by the White House proposed a checklist of cheaper alternatives that could — in theory — be more easily implemented. “Artificial Intelligence, Automation, and the Economy” recommended raising the minimum wage, strengthening union bargaining power, providing cheaper housing to improve labour mobility, shifting taxes from labour to capital, and massively increasing funding for job training and re-education.

Stressing that technology was not destiny, the report argued it was too soon to abandon the possibility of near-full employment. “The issue is not that automation will render the vast majority of the population unemployable,” wrote Jason Furman, chair of the Council of Economic Advisers. “Instead, it is that workers will either lack the skills or the ability to successfully match with the good, high paying jobs created by automation.”


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Re: Robot Replacement of Human Workers

#6

Post by SueDB » Sat Dec 31, 2016 12:56 pm

“The issue is not that automation will render the vast majority of the population unemployable,” wrote Jason Furman, chair of the Council of Economic Advisers. “Instead, it is that workers will either lack the skills or the ability to successfully match with the good, high paying jobs created by automation.”
How many coal miners are capable of being retrained as C++ (insert technology here) programmers???


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Re: Robot Replacement of Human Workers

#7

Post by Sugar Magnolia » Sat Dec 31, 2016 1:03 pm

SueDB wrote:
“The issue is not that automation will render the vast majority of the population unemployable,” wrote Jason Furman, chair of the Council of Economic Advisers. “Instead, it is that workers will either lack the skills or the ability to successfully match with the good, high paying jobs created by automation.”
How many coal miners are capable of being retrained as C++ (insert technology here) programmers???
We don't know because there isn't a program in place to find out.



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Re: Robot Replacement of Human Workers

#8

Post by SueDB » Sat Dec 31, 2016 1:05 pm

Sugar Magnolia wrote:
SueDB wrote:
“The issue is not that automation will render the vast majority of the population unemployable,” wrote Jason Furman, chair of the Council of Economic Advisers. “Instead, it is that workers will either lack the skills or the ability to successfully match with the good, high paying jobs created by automation.”
How many coal miners are capable of being retrained as C++ (insert technology here) programmers???
We don't know because there isn't a program in place to find out.
Went to school with a bunch of displaced loggers/Ocean Spray factory folks etc. They didn't have the horsepower to cut the technical classes. Several of them remarked - "that's why I was a logger/oysterman/ (insert former occupation here)".


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Re: Robot Replacement of Human Workers

#9

Post by Sugar Magnolia » Sat Dec 31, 2016 1:14 pm

SueDB wrote:
Sugar Magnolia wrote:
SueDB wrote:
How many coal miners are capable of being retrained as C++ (insert technology here) programmers???
We don't know because there isn't a program in place to find out.
Went to school with a bunch of displaced loggers/Ocean Spray factory folks etc. They didn't have the horsepower to cut the technical classes. Several of them remarked - "that's why I was a logger/oysterman/ (insert former occupation here)".
I went to school with a bunch of cotton and catfish farmers who ran rings around me scholastically. I'm not a genius, but some of those guys were.



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Re: Robot Replacement of Human Workers

#10

Post by Volkonski » Sat Dec 31, 2016 1:41 pm

Automation must create fewer jobs than it eliminates. Otherwise automation does not make economic sense.


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Re: Robot Replacement of Human Workers

#11

Post by SueDB » Sat Dec 31, 2016 2:56 pm

It was like some of the loggers were hit over the head one too many times.


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Re: Robot Replacement of Human Workers

#12

Post by ZekeB » Sat Dec 31, 2016 3:42 pm

SueDB wrote:
How many coal miners are capable of being retrained as C++ (insert technology here) programmers???
Hindsight is 20/20, but what if they had been raised in an environment where it was instilled in them that getting an education is a good thing even if the student only planned on mining? Employed coal miners make pretty good money although it's based on a 60 hour work week. Instant gratification right out of high school (or tenth grade) is what drives many. It's too bad so many parents have a "just like me" attitude instead of a "better than me" attitude toward raising their children.


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Re: Robot Replacement of Human Workers

#13

Post by tek » Sun Jan 01, 2017 7:35 am

ZekeB wrote:Hindsight is 20/20, but what if they had been raised in an environment where it was instilled in them that getting an education is a good thing even if the student only planned on mining? .
:yeah:


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Re: Robot Replacement of Human Workers

#14

Post by SueDB » Sun Jan 01, 2017 2:15 pm

ZekeB wrote:
SueDB wrote:
How many coal miners are capable of being retrained as C++ (insert technology here) programmers???
Hindsight is 20/20, but what if they had been raised in an environment where it was instilled in them that getting an education is a good thing even if the student only planned on mining? Employed coal miners make pretty good money although it's based on a 60 hour work week. Instant gratification right out of high school (or tenth grade) is what drives many. It's too bad so many parents have a "just like me" attitude instead of a "better than me" attitude toward raising their children.
It's as hard or harder on your body than the NFL, but not even close to the money.

Between broken bones, black lung, cave ins (which will become more frequent when the EPA, Mining regulators and so forth get Trumped), along with the rampant drug and alcohol addiction (gotta ease the pain of both the body and what mind was left) etc.... West Virginia/Kentucky will get thoroughly Trumped up the ass.


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Re: Robot Replacement of Human Workers

#15

Post by Hercule Parrot » Sun Jan 01, 2017 9:10 pm

Volkonski wrote:Automation must create fewer jobs than it eliminates. Otherwise automation does not make economic sense.
True, but it also doesn't make economic sense to mass-manufacture consumer goods if there are few people who can afford to buy them. In an elite future where only 10-20% of us have well-paid jobs, the liberal-capitalist model will collapse.

Martin Ford's "Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future" is a good read.



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Re: Robot Replacement of Human Workers

#16

Post by RoadScholar » Sun Jan 01, 2017 9:44 pm

Volkonski's statement assumes that businesses are short-sighted about profit. And when have they not been?


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Re: Robot Replacement of Human Workers

#17

Post by vic » Mon Jan 02, 2017 1:26 am

SueDB wrote:
ZekeB wrote:
SueDB wrote:
Hindsight is 20/20, but what if they had been raised in an environment where it was instilled in them that getting an education is a good thing even if the student only planned on mining? Employed coal miners make pretty good money although it's based on a 60 hour work week. Instant gratification right out of high school (or tenth grade) is what drives many. It's too bad so many parents have a "just like me" attitude instead of a "better than me" attitude toward raising their children.
It's as hard or harder on your body than the NFL, but not even close to the money.

Between broken bones, black lung, cave ins (which will become more frequent when the EPA, Mining regulators and so forth get Trumped), along with the rampant drug and alcohol addiction (gotta ease the pain of both the body and what mind was left) etc.... West Virginia/Kentucky will get thoroughly Trumped up the ass.
I worked with someone who had grown up in Pennsylvania coal mining country. He lived in a house with a dirt floor, and his father was a miner. He tells the story that one weekend his dad took him into the mine, and after they went a few hundred feet, turned off the lamps on his and his son's hard hats. He then told his son that if he didn't get an education, this is how he'd spend the rest of his life.

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Regarding re-training: I spent five years doing software development for newspaper computer systems. Then for ten years, I was a consultant supporting those systems. I finally got tired of consulting and went to work for a newspaper.

In the U. S., we were installing the second (or maybe it was the third) generation of newspaper automation. The papers were already using phototypesetters for most work. We were basically replacing typewriters and teletypes with computer terminals. So for example, the ad taker who received an ad over the phone and then counted characters to give an estimated price now typed it into the computer and could see exactly how big it would be and what it would cost. While there were probably some people who might lose jobs, I didn't know enough about the backend workflow to know about that.

Things were different when I went to Finland. The newspaper had just gotten phototypesetters, but most work was done with Linotype machines. Their automation was only to the extent that instead of sitting at the Linotype, the composing room staff used special machines which punched paper tape which could then be fed to the typecaster. One day I walked through the composing area and noticed one grandmotherly person who was taking slugs of type from the Linotype and placing them into the galleys. I felt pangs of guilt that I was about to put her out of a job.

The day of the changover came. I went into the new terminal room, and there she was. While we were installing the computers and software, the newspaper was training her to use the new system, and she was now typing in and formatting the news stories. But of course, the difference there was that due to both of law and tradition, jobs at the newspaper were considered jobs for life.

And one other thing. The computers did make them more efficient, so the staff had "free" time. The workers and managers found ways to use that time to increase income. They took on work for small publications. But what I found most interesting is something they did for the state employment offices. People would have to go to the office and wait to have a chance to review a computer printout of available jobs. The newspaper got a contract to get a tape of those jobs, and run it through our system; they could then print a small newspaper of all those job listings. The papers were delivered to the employment offices as part of the regular newspaper delivery. Job seekers at the employment office could get their own copy of the listings without waiting in line.



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Re: Robot Replacement of Human Workers

#18

Post by Sugar Magnolia » Mon Jan 02, 2017 4:39 am

vic wrote: Things were different when I went to Finland. The newspaper had just gotten phototypesetters, but most work was done with Linotype machines. Their automation was only to the extent that instead of sitting at the Linotype, the composing room staff used special machines which punched paper tape which could then be fed to the typecaster. One day I walked through the composing area and noticed one grandmotherly person who was taking slugs of type from the Linotype and placing them into the galleys. I felt pangs of guilt that I was about to put her out of a job.

The day of the changover came. I went into the new terminal room, and there she was. While we were installing the computers and software, the newspaper was training her to use the new system, and she was now typing in and formatting the news stories. But of course, the difference there was that due to both of law and tradition, jobs at the newspaper were considered jobs for life.

And one other thing. The computers did make them more efficient, so the staff had "free" time. The workers and managers found ways to use that time to increase income. They took on work for small publications. But what I found most interesting is something they did for the state employment offices. People would have to go to the office and wait to have a chance to review a computer printout of available jobs. The newspaper got a contract to get a tape of those jobs, and run it through our system; they could then print a small newspaper of all those job listings. The papers were delivered to the employment offices as part of the regular newspaper delivery. Job seekers at the employment office could get their own copy of the listings without waiting in line.
I love your newspaper stories. My grandfather owned a small town newspaper in the Delta and my dad and uncle worked for him when they were kids. They set the type (and dumped some sort of lead refuse into the bayou behind the newspaper office!) and delivered the papers and my grandmother wrote the society column. She also owned the only flower shop in town so the column was heavy on weddings. "The bride entered from the kitchen wearing a dress from Goldsmith's" sort of stories.



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Re: Robot Replacement of Human Workers

#19

Post by RTH10260 » Thu Mar 09, 2017 7:56 am

Trump must work harder to keep his promise of more jobs
CaliBurger to roll out burger-flipping robot

“Flippy” is latest in growing trend of restaurant automation
Lisa Jennings | Mar 07, 2017

The quick-service CaliBurger chain on Tuesday unveiled a new burger-flipping robot that it plans to roll out to more than 50 locations worldwide by the end of 2019.

Dubbed “Flippy,” the robotic kitchen assistant is the creation of Miso Robotics, an engineering firm specializing in “adaptable robotics” for commercial kitchens. The goal is to develop technology that can handle hazardous, tedious and time-sensitive aspects of cooking, from flipping burgers to frying chicken, cutting vegetables or final plating, according to press materials.
http://www.nrn.com/technology/caliburge ... ping-robot

https://vimeo.com/206666438



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Re: Robot Replacement of Human Workers

#20

Post by Volkonski » Thu Mar 09, 2017 9:25 am

More and more restaurants now have touch screen ordering and paying reducing the need for wait staff.

http://www.ziosk.com/


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Re: Robot Replacement of Human Workers

#21

Post by TollandRCR » Thu Mar 09, 2017 9:30 am

When I moved to this town of 16,000 the garbage and recycling was handled by humans. The garbage truck would come first and pick up the black plastic sacks piled at the side of the curb. There was a driver and a grabber. They would be followed by a truck to pick up recycling from a blue plastic box. Again, a two-person crew.

I don't how about the skills that were required for these jobs. I do know that all of these workers lost their jobs to monster trucks and plastic bins that would be raised to the entry point. This action was taken in a Democratic administration of the town's affairs.

It may have saved the town money. No other obvious benefits.

I agree that being a garbage man is not a fit job for humans. I do think it is better than unemployment.


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Re: Robot Replacement of Human Workers

#22

Post by Volkonski » Thu Mar 09, 2017 9:34 am

Sometimes it is not the direct cost of the workers, it is the liability in the event one of them gets injured.

When I was working we were sometimes able to justify the investment cost for mechanization/automation just on that.


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Re: Robot Replacement of Human Workers

#23

Post by TollandRCR » Thu Mar 09, 2017 9:37 am

Volkonski wrote:Sometimes it is not the direct cost of the workers, it is the liability in the event one of them gets injured.
It was that problem of danger to the workers that Martin Luther King, Jr., was working on when we was assassinated.


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Re: Robot Replacement of Human Workers

#24

Post by SueDB » Thu Mar 09, 2017 4:56 pm

Volkonski wrote:More and more restaurants now have touch screen ordering and paying reducing the need for wait staff.

http://www.ziosk.com/
IMHO
And it cuts into their tips. Why pay full service for only half service?

It also pretty much puts the tip on the plastic VISA where it's reported to the IRS and allows management to make rules to steal the tips as they are in control of the cashbox.


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Re: Robot Replacement of Human Workers

#25

Post by listeme » Thu Mar 09, 2017 6:19 pm

Unemployment benefits are completely insufficient for something like "robots take over your job". Six months approx, of less than you were making, while you panic and job search, in an area where other people are looking for the same jobs.

It's basically enough to figure out how to move somewhere else or luck into something. You can't even stockpile food; you're trying to keep creditors from taking your house and car so that you have a chance of keeping your life if you do find a job. Unemployment is a bandaid.

If you're in a low wage job, you don't have a lot of savings and the safety net is food stamps and food banks. There's not really welfare checks. A payout wouldn't be a bad way to help mitigate this -- years of pay? I mean the robots are not cheap, double them? Give folks a decent runway and help planning.

But the problem isn't going away. We can't just sit around and moan about it (society, I mean, not individuals). We see the problem. It is escalating. Let's get ahead of it.


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