×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

US Regaining Manufacturing Might With Robots and 3D Printing

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the finally-something-we-can-exploit-for-cheap-labor-again dept.

Robotics 475

For years, the U.S. has been hemorrhaging manufacturing jobs to China because of the vastly cheaper labor pool. But now, several different technologies have ripened to the point where U.S. companies are bringing some operations back home. 3D printing, robotics, AI, and nanotechnology are all expected to dramatically change the manufacturing landscape over the next several years. From the article: "The factory assembly that the Chinese are performing is child’s play for the next generation of robots—which will soon become cheaper than human labor. Indeed, one of China’s largest manufacturers, Taiwan-based Foxconn Technology Group, announced last August that it plans to install one million robots within three years to do the work that its workers in China presently do. It found Chinese labor to be too expensive and demanding. The world’s most advanced car, the Tesla Roadster, is also being manufactured in Silicon Valley, which is one of the most expensive places in the country. Tesla can afford this because it is using robots to do the assembly. ... 3D printers can already create physical mechanical devices, medical implants, jewelry, and even clothing. The cheapest 3D printers, which print rudimentary objects, currently sell for between $500 and $1000. Soon, we will have printers for this price that can print toys and household goods. By the end of this decade, we will see 3D printers doing the small-scale production of previously labor-intensive crafts and goods. It is entirely conceivable that in the next decade we start 3D-printing buildings and electronics."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

475 comments

Just imagine (4, Funny)

plover (150551) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739083)

Imagine the size and strength of the nets Foxconn will have to install to keep their industrial robots from leaping to the streets!

Too soon?

Re:Just imagine (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40739537)

Actually, much of the cost of installing industrial robots is spent on 'caging' and other safety features to keep puny humans out.

Re:Just imagine (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739549)

More importantly....

Did they start making the Tesla Roadster again!?!?!?

I thought they halted the production of the good car in their line to concentrate on 'family cars'....

[rolls eyes]

Goodbye jobs (5, Insightful)

RichMan (8097) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739107)

Say goodbye to a whole lot more mid-level jobs. This is the path we are going down, labor is expensive.

But what is the cost of a large unemployed population ?

Re:Goodbye jobs (5, Insightful)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739177)

But what is the cost of a large unemployed population ?

Historically, this has led to political instability and social unrest.

Re:Goodbye jobs (1)

aurizon (122550) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739305)

The robots will demand wages, then they will unite, and ask for wage parity with the blood bags.
It will not be too bad - they will have purchasing power...

Re:Goodbye jobs (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40739185)

I guess half of us will be employed as security to keep the other half from stealing all the rich people's stuff?

Re:Goodbye jobs (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40739201)

It just means we won't have to do jobs that can be done by robots, and those are tedious and repetitive jobs anyway so no biggie.

People will be freed up for creative jobs, jobs that involve human intelligence which can't be done by machines. It's not robots writing Diablo III, inventing costumes for the Hobbit movie, writing screenplays, and so on. It will enable so much more human productivity, if we don't have to use valuable human minds on robot-like labour any more.

Re:Goodbye jobs (5, Insightful)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739287)

People will be freed up for creative jobs, jobs that involve human intelligence which can't be done by machines.

And what are the non-creative idiots going to do for a living? Working in the environments that most of us /.ers work in, it's easy to forget that they're still the majority, you know.

Re:Goodbye jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40739449)

Sneer if you like, but you need the non-creative idiots every bit as much as they need you. Society needs them as much as it needs you, the creative non-idiot. Someone has to drive the buses, sweep the streets, flip the burgers and operate the checkout at the supermarket et cetera, et cetera. If the jobs these people traditionally took disappear completely, then society is in trouble, as lots of poor people unable to purchase the basic necessities of life and with lots of free time to get angry tends to lead to severe social disorder.

Re:Goodbye jobs (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40739619)

I don't believe he was sneering... I think we all agree it's a legitimate concern. He's honestly asking, what will these people do when we've replaced them with more efficient AI, robotics, and 3-D printers? We're close to the point where society can bear the burden of letting them be unproductive and do whatever they want. But then how do we convince the creative non-idiots to work?

Re:Goodbye jobs (4, Interesting)

Githaron (2462596) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739513)

At first, there will be hardship. Eventually, no one will be doing the jobs that robots can easily do. Unless we find more stuff to do, eventually, the work weeks will shorten while the standard of living will either remain the same or get higher. Of course, 1984 could just happen where all the excess goes into perpetual war rather than the economy.

Re:Goodbye jobs (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40739553)

And what are the non-creative idiots going to do for a living? Working in the environments that most of us /.ers work in, it's easy to forget that they're still the majority, you know.

Jeez, condescending much?

Glad to see that to you most people are "idiots" and you are oh so superior.

Maybe people aren't as dumb as you snob types think.

Re:Goodbye jobs (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40739567)

And what are the non-creative idiots going to do for a living?

They'll do what they've always done: Management.

Re:Goodbye jobs (1)

dmbasso (1052166) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739635)

And what are the non-creative idiots going to do for a living?

Soon the creative idiots (supposedly like yourself) will follow the same trend. And then society will be forced to change dramatically. We already see the signs (e.g. occupy wall street), but the constrast is still not enough to make the majority of the population to stand against the system.

Re:Goodbye jobs (3, Insightful)

MiniMike (234881) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739645)

Don't agree with the use of the term 'idiot' for all non-creative people, but there's plenty of people working now who are in mostly "non-creative" jobs which are not on an assembly line. The entire service industry, the legal industry (i.e. not just lawyers, but all the other affiliated jobs), honest accountants, education, medical industries, etc. Many of those jobs also require some degree of creativity, even if that's not the primary focus.

As for the actual idiots, who knows what they will do. Maybe we'll have to be creative to think of something for them...

Re:Goodbye jobs (2)

Tough Love (215404) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739655)

People will be freed up for creative jobs, jobs that involve human intelligence which can't be done by machines.

And what are the non-creative idiots going to do for a living?

Did you see Soylent Green?

Re:Goodbye jobs (0)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739687)

The wages will drop as the productivity will increase with some of these robots, the wages will drop, which will make the human labour competitive again.

Of-course the problem is that the gov't stands in the way with its labour laws, minimum wage, SS, welfare, EI, food stamps, all that jazz, they prevent people who can't do anything else from working in factories.

Re:Goodbye jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40739705)

And what are the non-creative idiots going to do for a living?

Why don't you ask them? "What would you do, if you didn't have to work?"

Yes, I realize not everyone is going to be flying around on 1701-D, but there's got to be something people want out of their lives, other than that but also other than working for someone else.

I'm not saying it's an easy question, but that's just it: you're basically asking what's the point of living.

Re:Goodbye jobs (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739321)

It just means we won't have to do jobs that can be done by robots, and those are tedious and repetitive jobs anyway so no biggie.

People will be freed up for creative jobs, jobs that involve human intelligence which can't be done by machines. It's not robots writing Diablo III, inventing costumes for the Hobbit movie, writing screenplays, and so on. It will enable so much more human productivity, if we don't have to use valuable human minds on robot-like labour any more.

I know that this is a very un-PC comment to make, but it happens to be true: some humans don't have the intelligence to do jobs that couldn't otherwise be done by robots...

Re:Goodbye jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40739531)

I just watched a movie called Zeitgeist on Youtube, and it covers alot of this material. hell, it mentions 3d printing buildings. Worth a watch, even if alot of it is hyperbole.

Re:Goodbye jobs (1)

vlm (69642) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739325)

if we don't have to use valuable human minds

What will the non-valuable human minds do. Say the bottom 75% or so. That is the mystery. Some of the bottom 75% might be trophy wives, actors and actresses, models, whatever ultra low paid retail remains. That leaves maybe 74% of the population unemployed. Whoops.

Re:Goodbye jobs (4, Interesting)

mhajicek (1582795) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739395)

The creative jobs already tend to have far more applicants than positions. In order to be gainfully employed you have to be able to do something better than a robot of comparable expense, which is beyond a growing sector of the population. We're entering an ugly phase of economic reform, between scarcity and abundance. In the old way, the default state was lack, and if you could provide something it had value, and so could be traded for something else of value. In the future there could be abundance, in which case everyone can just take what they want. In between there's the point where there is enough for everyone, but those who have it won't share because (instinctively if not consciously) they're concerned about not having enough in the future. They also won't trade with you because you don't have anything that's of value to them.

Re:Goodbye jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40739617)

The number of positions is not something set into cast iron, it's something that depends on the people, and people can make new jobs.

A guy I went to college with is currently publishing his first novel. No robot is gonna write that, and that "position" didn't exist until he sat down at his computer and started writing.

A hundred years ago nobody would have imagined that someday millions of people would be employed designing and programming computers. TImes change.

Re:Goodbye jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40739409)

People will be freed up for creative jobs, jobs that involve human intelligence which can't be done by machines.

Are those the same sorts of jobs that all of the "freed-up" creative people are currently not being hired for?

Re:Goodbye jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40739227)

You think these jobs losses will just suddenly kill off the will to work?

Jobs will appear to fill the place of these losses to various extents. Whether it is people running a 3D printing facility for others, or running storage for these goods until they are picked up, or delivering them, or buying requested goods to resell.

People will move to other industries. Whether it is as simple as cutting grass or large-scale aquaponics to help feed people. (which is seriously going to need to happen all around the world, farms of all kinds are too inefficient, they simply cannot work anymore. Not to mention the changing weather extremes)
People still need to eat. They will do anything and everything they can to do so, or go bad and possibly die / rot in jail.

These jobs also won't be instantly lost. It will be gradual.

Re:Goodbye jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40739235)

A very interesting, short and entertaining prospective fiction on the topic: Manna: Two Visions of Humanity's Future

http://marshallbrain.com/manna1.htm (free online HTML edition)
http://www.amazon.com/Manna-Visions-Humanitys-Future-ebook/dp/B007HQH67U/ (Kindle ebook $1.09)

Re:Goodbye jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40739431)

I think a better work of prospective fiction on this subject would be Suarez's "Daemon" and the sequel "Freedom". I'll start my own Holon, if Blackwater / Academi doesn't get me first.

Re:Goodbye jobs (2)

Martin Blank (154261) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739335)

I was thinking about this recently. At some point, robots will be able to handle almost all of the jobs out there including many service jobs, something that has been happening over the last couple of decades anyway as the ability to order things via touch-tone phone and then later the Internet has removed the need for many entry-level customer service jobs. As computers and robots become more common, the ability to gain the basic skills to perform the more advanced skills beyond the contemporary capabilities of robots will become more difficult as well. Asimov's short story "The Feeling of Power" may have been a more prescient look at our future than it once seemed.

Either the economy will have to change dramatically, or a touch of luddism will need to be legally introduced to prevent certain jobs from going to robots (which itself will be a change to the underlying economic concepts upon which most of our societies are based).

Re:Goodbye jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40739355)

Eventually all 'low level' jobs will be done by robots. They dont complain. They can work 24/7 in the dark. Their temp rang is more extreme than most people will put up with. Also they have a low 'ongoing cost'. It only takes a small group of people to swap out parts and diagnose issues. Oh and for a company it is a 'fixed cost' instead of a recurring high 'ongoing cost' (which means they can amortize it over time and get tax breaks). Where it maybe takes a team of 5-10 people to run a mcdonalds you can have a set of robots and maybe one guy who swings by once and awhile to make sure everything is good. Oh and you can get them all to show up to do the job (which if any of you has worked fast food you know can be an issue).

You will see more automation move close to the final sale. As another cost is shipping as fuel prices go up...

What if *everything* were automated? What do *we* do with our time? How do we pay for things when we have no job because they are *all* automated?

Re:Goodbye jobs (5, Interesting)

Belial6 (794905) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739385)

This is why at some point we need to accept that as some point in the future most of the population is going to be permanently unemployed. This can either be the dream of a paradise where everyone can live a life of leisure and self fulfillment, or it can be a horror where where the wealthy live in leisure while the teaming masses live in a perpetual state of starvation and poverty. We need to decide which way we will go, and move in that direction.

We are not there yet for the general population, but we are far enough along that we would likely be better off if we accepted that some segments of our society have reached that point.

Re:Goodbye jobs (5, Informative)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739601)

If you want to get an idea of what this looks like in practice, just look at Brazil. The rich live in heavily-secured opulence, the poor live in abysmal poverty.

Re:Goodbye jobs (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40739641)

I am sure all that equipment will need frequent repairing and maintenance. Most of those mindless pick and place jobs are not fit for humans anyhow.

Re:Goodbye jobs (4, Insightful)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739651)

100 years ago 90% of the people in the US were employed on farms. today its 4%. why isn't 90% of the USA unemployed?

new jobs open up and are created

Tumult in China? (2)

Thorodin (1999352) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739113)

I wonder what will happen to all those Chinese hoping to get into the middle class when their jobs are being replaced by robots. It could be very bad news for the ones in power.

Re:Tumult in China? (1)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739161)

I wonder what will happen to all those Chinese hoping to get into the middle class

The same thing that's already happening to the U.S. middle class, I imagine.

Re:Tumult in China? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40739257)

And some european countries middle class.

A lose-lose situation(unless you make 3D printers) (4, Interesting)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739119)

or years, the U.S. has been hemorrhaging manufacturing jobs to China because of the vastly cheaper labor pool. But now, several different technologies have ripened to the point where U.S. companies are bringing some operations back home.

These two sentences don't mesh in the way I think you meant them to. The new technologies may allow companies to bring the OPERATIONS back home, but not the JOBS. If anything, they will allow many manufacturing operations still in the U.S. to cut even more jobs (though not send them overseas).

Re:A lose-lose situation(unless you make 3D printe (1)

FhnuZoag (875558) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739209)

Yeah. After outsourcing internationally, we'll now have outsourcing out of the human race altogether.

Moreover, why move your operations back to the US, in such a case? Freed from the need for workers, manufacturing can take place anywhere. Like, say, the place with the lowest local taxation and weakest safety regulations. I can't see much reason for optimism here.

Re:A lose-lose situation(unless you make 3D printe (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739359)

Except dropping your robot manufacturing plant into Somalia means you will have to employ a very vast security force to make sure it isn't blown up, taken hostage, etc. There are still advantages to locating in modern, industrialized states.

Re:A lose-lose situation(unless you make 3D printe (1)

FhnuZoag (875558) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739493)

Well, true. But nevertheless, I'd expect that the more mobile companies will be in a position of advantage in the years ahead, being able to demand increasingly favourable deals from countries in return for siting there, to everyone else's cost.

Re:A lose-lose situation(unless you make 3D printe (3, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739497)

Moreover, why move your operations back to the US, in such a case? Freed from the need for workers, manufacturing can take place anywhere. Like, say, the place with the lowest local taxation and weakest safety regulations. I can't see much reason for optimism here.

Transportation. I buy electronic stuff direct from China (think like seeed studios but also PCB mfg houses, etc). Lets say they make my hobby custom microwave RF amplifier PCB $10 cheaper than local, but fedex 3-day costs $15. Right now the ratio is in their favor, but decreasing rapidly. I'm probably going to switch to US pretty soon. As for long term trends, I don't think oil is going to get cheaper. I don't think aircraft are going to get less capital intensive. I don't think postage and handling ever decreases. In the very long run I think PCB houses in China are inherently going away for US customers... there will always be Chinese customers of Chinese PCB houses...

Doesn't mean someone in my hometown will get a job feeding rolls of SMD devices into a pick-n-place machine or cleaning the filthy wave soldering tank for ancient thru-hole designs, but maybe someone just over the border in .mx might get their job back. Remember the jobs did not go from US to China. They went from US done by citizens, to US done by illegal aliens, to just over the .mx border, to Taiwan, to China. We've got a lot of steps along the way, the return path is unlikely to be China directly back to USA. Look for more "made in taiwan" and "made in mexico" stickers at Walmart to build up and peak before you start seeing "made in the USA" stickers again.

Re:A lose-lose situation(unless you make 3D printe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40739581)

If your market is the US, producing in the US nearly eliminates the cost of transportation and simplifies the logistics. You can have products in stores 2 weeks after you start making them. Try doing that from an undeveloped country.
Most safety regulations are focused on workers. No workers = no problem.

Re:A lose-lose situation(unless you make 3D printe (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739607)

...outsourcing out of the human race altogether.

Human: Spare some change?
Robot: Get a job meat bag!

Re:A lose-lose situation(unless you make 3D printe (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739691)

Freed from the need for workers, manufacturing can take place anywhere. Like, say, the place with the lowest local taxation and weakest safety regulations.

Or in whatever location minimizes logistical costs of moving the raw material and finished product.

Re:A lose-lose situation(unless you make 3D printe (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739295)

Didn't you see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory!?

Re:A lose-lose situation(unless you make 3D printe (1)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739339)

Are you saying we should become Oompa Loompas? Because they don't look very happy to me.

Re:A lose-lose situation(unless you make 3D printe (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739327)

We've already had a jobless recovery from the recession.
Why did anyone expect anything other than a future of jobless economic growth?

Worker productivity has been going up for so long, the only way to really get more profit/dollar is with robots.

Re:A lose-lose situation(unless you make 3D printe (2)

defcon-11 (2181232) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739559)

Yes, and the funny thing is that the US manufacturing sector has never really shrunk in terms of dollar output, only jobs and some market share to China. In fact, the number of manufacturing jobs worldwide, not just in the US, has been consistently declining for the past 30 years due to increased automation. We will never get more manufacturing jobs, ever, no matter what policies the government puts in place.

Re:A lose-lose situation(unless you make 3D printe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40739587)

or years, the U.S. has been hemorrhaging manufacturing jobs to China because of the vastly cheaper labor pool. But now, several different technologies have ripened to the point where U.S. companies are bringing some operations back home.

These two sentences don't mesh in the way I think you meant them to. The new technologies may allow companies to bring the OPERATIONS back home, but not the JOBS. If anything, they will allow many manufacturing operations still in the U.S. to cut even more jobs (though not send them overseas).

It'll result in the last great outsourcing wave - the outsourcing of consumers overseas.

Re:A lose-lose situation(unless you make 3D printe (2)

c (8461) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739595)

> These two sentences don't mesh in the way I think you meant them to. The new technologies
> may allow companies to bring the OPERATIONS back home, but not the JOBS.

Not as many jobs, granted, but someone's going to be doing maintenance on those robots. Someone needs to drop off raw materials. Someone needs to pick up finished product. Someone needs to be there to pull a tangled mess out of the feed rollers do the entire line doesn't shut down. Heck, someone needs to sweep the floor, mow the lawn, and patch the roof.

We're not talking about as many jobs, nor necessarily as high quality, but it's better than the big nothing you get when not just the factory but the entire supply chain goes to another country.

My Goodness (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40739135)

Shut me down! Machines making machines?

(Please forgive my quoting of one of the prequels.)

And how does this benefit the working class? (3, Insightful)

na1led (1030470) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739137)

At least those people working in China might spend some of their hard earned money over here. Robots won't earn any income.

Re:And how does this benefit the working class? (4, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739241)

By increasing manufacturing efficiency, lowering prices for everyone (including products that aren't produced with automation by increasing the available labor pool for other industries). If you care about giving people jobs more than you care about making products efficiently, why not just have everyone build a giant brick pyramid in the middle of Nebraska. Oh, and make sure they do it by hand, wouldn't want any pesky earth moving equipment costing people their jobs.

Re:And how does this benefit the working class? (2)

na1led (1030470) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739371)

Might as well live in a Zoo then! Robots and Machines will take care of all our needs.

Re:And how does this benefit the working class? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40739603)

As if they'd pass on those savings to the comsumer. Instead they'll just use it to pad the bottom line, and in turn their bonuses. Hell it would even be a good excuse to raise prices cause installing all those robots is gonna be expensive (even if it's a one-time up front cost that will save money in the long run).

Re:And how does this benefit the working class? (1)

rgbrenner (317308) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739251)

US manufacturing has NOT been losing to China. Look at the chart labeled "Real Manufacturing Output vs Real GDP" on this page:
http://seekingalpha.com/article/602691-u-s-manufacturing-leads-current-economic-growth-as-it-has-for-15-years [seekingalpha.com]

US manufacturing jobs have been lost to China and technology. It's the job loss that causes people to say US manufacturing is declining.. and robots and 3d printing changes nothing on that front. Fact is, US factories are already full of robots

Re:And how does this benefit the working class? (1)

evilviper (135110) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739519)

This is economics 101. First, products are manufactured less expensively, giving everyone a higher standard of living for less money. Second, there's now a number of higher-paying jobs, programming, servicing, and also BUILDING these robots, and also often there remain a number of human jobs in certain portions of the assembly line for tasks which the robots aren't good at, which get filled with more people to keep up with the new robots. Third, with lower manufacturing costs, there's more money available to pay the skilled labor, like the product designers, engineers, etc.

Continually improving efficiency is why there are ANY jobs in the US, today. With such a large wage disparity between US workers and other countries, US workers need to be several times as productive, usually assisted by robots and other machines, to be competitive on the world market. We certainly shouldn't be striving for lots of jobs at any price... we should be striving for more HIGH-PAYING jobs.

The irony of "creating jobs" (5, Insightful)

ACluk90 (2618091) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739165)

What an irony when politicians are talking about creating jobs. Economy is not about creating jobs, but about eliminating the need to work and rising the quality of life. This is the way to the future.

Re:The irony of "creating jobs" (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739211)

What an irony when politicians are talking about creating jobs. Economy is not about creating jobs, but about eliminating the need to work and rising the quality of life. This is the way to the future.

Perhaps; the problem is, with the approach our society is taking, the "rising quality of life" is no where to be found.

Re:The irony of "creating jobs" (1)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739231)

eliminating the need to work and rising the quality of life

To get that, you would need a permanent state-provided income for the entire population. And that's very unlikely to happen in the U.S.

Re:The irony of "creating jobs" (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40739379)

eliminating the need to work and rising the quality of life

To get that, you would need a permanent state-provided income for the entire population. And that's very unlikely to happen in the U.S.

I believe similar concerns were voiced upon the invention of the cotton gin and various farming tractors. And yet, with those inventions, the cost of food has fallen. Even when food is supposed to be expensive, it's not (at least not in the United States). If you can make everything automated enough where it costs pennies to provide food, shelter, water, electricity, etc. Then, no, it does not require "a permanent state-provided income for the entire population." This is progress and any comment otherwise will focus on temporary restructural unemployment. In a single generation that problem will fix itself. Nobody is born today dreaming of the job of picking cotton and separating the seeds from it. Long gone are the fears that the cotton gin will destroy every single job and the entire economy. Soon, your fears will be laughed at in a similar fashion.

Re:The irony of "creating jobs" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40739239)

about eliminating the need to work and rising the quality of life

People would need new things to strive toward. Like the saying goes, An idle mind is the devil's workshop.

Re:The irony of "creating jobs" (3, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739661)

People would need new things to strive toward. Like the saying goes, An idle mind is the devil's workshop.

Sports, "Hollywood celebrity news", pr0n, video games, social networking ... wait am I supposed to be talking about now, or in the future?

Education might help. The original point of higher ed was to give the kids of the idle rich something interesting to think about for the rest of their lives ... Give them "good taste" and hobbies and lifetime interests worthy of a man of wealth and leisure. Hence the intense focus on the liberal arts at ancient universities, not so much focus on cooking classes or barrel making classes. The educational-industrial complex could abandon their wanna-be training role of mass producing identical cubical proles for middle class jobs that will never exist again anyway and go back to their roots. Would it really be so bad of a society if one quarter of the population were "into" the fine arts and liberal arts in general, another quarter "into" science and math, another quarter "into" not-so-fine arts like manual labor crafts, and the final quarter too stupid and/or unmotivated to do any of the above hang out on facebook and 4chan all day and play xbox and watch TV and use drugs?

Re:The irony of "creating jobs" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40739263)

OK, your post is either hilariously funny or so sadly communist as to be pathetic. Let's say I work at Foxconn for poor pay today. Tomorrow, I get laid off and replaced by robotics. The need to work was eliminated. My need to eat was not. Where is the progress and how did it raise my quality of life? I can no longer feed my family.

Re:The irony of "creating jobs" (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40739391)

The phrase "this will create jobs" should be one of the most terrifying things your elected official will ever say. It usually means one of a few things:

1) we will have a massive project that will demand a lot of temporary labor who aren't going to receive benefits or permanent employment. Hopefully after it's all over and they're unemployed again they'll all go... well, somewhere else.

2) we have arranged for fund to dedicate 25 people full time to the goal of making some 300 other people completely unnecessary. We hope to have even more of you laid off some time next year!

2) we have bribed a large corporation to come in install a new operations center. They won't pay taxes, most of the 200 permanent jobs that it creates will be filled by specifically-skilled people and managers imported from other places, and the remaining permanent jobs that locals can get will be janitorial or security services which are contracted to a low-paying third party. But there's a plus side: all that new money surging into the economy will raise prices (and taxes) on other things, like rent and food! That means more money for your local government. And once all the riff-raff are forced out by higher prices, I'll have a better class of constituent!

4 day work week? (5, Insightful)

Piata (927858) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739253)

All this automation is great and everything but when does it actually translate into a benefit for humanity in general?

I'm so glad some business can now churn out more crap to purchase at cheaper prices. When are we going to focus on shortening the work week or making housing more affordable? What about investing more time in expanding humanity's presence in the solar system? Or reducing our environmental foot print?

Re:4 day work week? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40739649)

Lower incomes translates into a demand for cheaper products which justifies lower costs to manufacture which translates to a demand for more automation.

At some point there won't BE a middle class anymore just a few factory owners, a cadre of technicians and billions of poor people with no jobs or skills.

The next century is gonna be a big slide backward.

Set full time to 30-40 with some kind of sliding O (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739703)

Set full time to 30-40 hours with some kind of sliding OT scale and full OT after 40 and crack down on employee misclassification.

That will get rid of the 39.5 hour part times

Don't Forget Fracking (2)

geoffrobinson (109879) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739317)

Having really cheap (relative to world prices) natural gas is a huge factor in domestic manufacturing. If you have any energy intensive operations, you are immediately given a big advantage. Natural gas is also used as a feedstock for the chemical industry in America, so you get a huge advantage there as well.

Player Piano (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40739329)

Kurt Vonnegut's Player Piano comes to mind, with all of its meanings and implications.

Pirates and Copyright Trolls Will Eat This Up (2)

ilikenwf (1139495) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739351)

*inserts Linux LiveUSB, downloads schematics from PirateBay physibles
"Now printing "Apple MacBook Pro - By 1337 Warez Group." Approximate cost: materials only.

Re:Pirates and Copyright Trolls Will Eat This Up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40739463)

Well, that'll happen until they kick your door down for not paying $2000 for the intellectual rights to print the thing. "Please place your hands on the yellow circles."

Is it easier if ... (1)

fluffythedestroyer (2586259) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739363)

The US along with Canada and other major countries creates rules and regulation regarding the safety and quality of their products. Lots of organisation and magazines talk about chinese products shipped in Canada and US that are simply not safe to use....or even very dangerous. The list of product is so big but on top of my head, tops made in China comes to mind. They break very easily and most of those can either kill a child very easily because of the material they use are not great quality. Having those regulations would stop the import and thus creating more jobs here since the people would buy the products inside their own country (the US or canada) instead of importing them... just in idea

also, creating a rule for certain events that prohibits the manufacturing of products outside the country would certainly help. I mean, I saw vancouver olympic games products that said "made in China"... WTF IS THAT ??? I'm pretty sure the same situation applies in the us. What a shame

How is the Tesla Roadster advanced? (1)

subreality (157447) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739401)

To me it appears to be a straightforward application of the idea: "Why isn't anyone trying to make a desirable electric car? Why don't we make an electric sports car? Fuck the people who say it can't be done, let's do it and see what happens!"

Re:How is the Tesla Roadster advanced? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40739481)

Was kind of wondering the same thing, electric cars are actually much much more simple than ICE cars. That's part of the appeal.

Yay? All of the pollution and none of the jobs (4, Insightful)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739421)

So you are telling me that we are getting back our manufacturing plants, but are not going to see any more jobs or other benefits, just the negatives?

Re:Yay? All of the pollution and none of the jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40739681)

Profit is a postive, just only for the shareholders.

freelancer (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40739423)

as Tammy answered I'm dazzled that any body able to get paid $8241 in 4 weeks on the internet. did you read this site link makecash16.com

Cheap Labor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40739427)

Currently manufacturing is done in China by untrained workers. They are cheaper than U.S. workers. Robots don't maintain themselves, they need a lot of infrastructure. So you basically need more skilled workers. If this skilled robot-factory-maintaining working class will be in China or in the U.S. remains to be seen.

Price of goods (1)

joenathan7 (2680255) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739515)

If all manufacturing came back to the US and there was no labor to needed to produce it as well as a shortened supply chain. The price would plummet for everyday goods. In which case you could work considerably less and still afford every day items.

But where to find the educated work force. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40739597)

46% of people in the US do not accept the science behind The Theory of Evolution which means they do not accept the sciences of chemistry or physics. They believe that God moves all those electrons etc. himself.

Robots like Cam-performers (1)

Tekfactory (937086) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739605)

With all these advances in 3D printing, Robotics and AI, would it be possible or even profitable to have a web enabled service where you submit a 3D model to a service like Shapeways, you see your 3D object printed, picked up by the robot and packed in a box to be shipped to you?

I watched some stuff getting 3D printed at the DC hackerspace and its really slow right now. So maybe they can time lapse that part of the job.

Also who has a $500-600 3D printer kit, I never seem to find these, always $900 or more.

Yeah, right. (3, Insightful)

Jawnn (445279) | about a year and a half ago | (#40739631)

When I start to see a significant number of items on the shelves of the Mega-Lo-Mart with "Made In U.S.A." labels, I'll agree. Until then, "increase in domestic manufacturing" is just useless spin.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...