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Foxconn Begins To Assemble Its Robot Army

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the good-robot-goooood-robot dept.

China 303

kkleiner writes "Foxconn, the Chinese electronics manufacturer that builds numerous mobile devices and gaming consoles, previously said the company would be aiming to replace 1 million Foxconn workers with robots within 3 years. It appears as if Foxconn has started the ball in motion. Since the announcement, a first batch of 10,000 robots — aptly named Foxbots — appear to have made their way into at least one factory, and by the end of 2012, another 20,000 more will be installed"

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The Clone Wars (-1, Offtopic)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#41969431)

Begin ....

Re:The Clone Wars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41969487)

Except robots aren't clones. But then you wouldn't have gotten first post if you had to write something on topic.

Re:The Clone Wars (2)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about 2 years ago | (#41969547)

I think you mean the Drone Wars. Clone Wars will take a reckless disregard for intelligent life and at least another 20 years to mature.

Re:The Clone Wars (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41969807)

Right. The Drone Wars already have a reckless disregard for intelligent life, and only need roughly 18 more months to mature and are forecated to arrive in late 2014 with the onset of the U.S./Mexicon border conflict, and the Israel/Iran nuclear power conflict.

Re:The Clone Wars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41969823)

A reckless disregard for intelligent life, apart from what is done in China already?

Re:The Clone Wars (1)

jhoegl (638955) | about 2 years ago | (#41969879)

I dont think any country can claim that they arent reckless towards intelligent life.
Except maybe Sweden.

Re:The Clone Wars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41969945)

Intelligent life? If you had said just life, maybe...

Re:The Clone Wars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41970189)

Any country reckless towards life is reckless towards intelligent life, since the latter is a subset of the former. So if what he said were valid for "life" it'd be valid for "intelligent life" as well.

Re:The Clone Wars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41969621)

starring... Pluto?

Re:The Clone Wars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41969623)

I for one welcome our new robot overlords

Re:The Clone Wars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41969919)

Do they have the strength of five gorillas?

well.. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41969465)

Foxconn can kiss my shiny metal ass.

Re:well.. (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 2 years ago | (#41970315)

Foxybots might want to!

Rise of the machines? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41969499)

Given the way Foxconn treats their employees, it makes me wonder if the robots will eventually revolt. (Terminator theme music)

more like brake down from cheaping out on upkeep (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41969645)

more like brake down from cheaping out on upkeep

Re:more like brake down from cheaping out on upkee (1)

dmacleod808 (729707) | about 2 years ago | (#41970301)

so you are saying that they will have to "put on the brakes" due to going cheap on upkeep? speeling my yeiung padwein, speeling.

Re:more like brake down from cheaping out on upkee (2)

oPless (63249) | about 2 years ago | (#41970381)

I think you mean "break down".

Please hand in your geek card and make your way to the euthanization centre.

Solent Green Is People!

Re:Rise of the machines? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41969657)

Anyone in China well tell you that people LOVE working for Foxconn -- they pay very well compared to other companies, have much better benefits. People fight to work there.

A higher risk, IMO, is that the workers revolt because they may end up having to *leave* Foxconn.

Re:Rise of the machines? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41970207)

Who the hell are you tell slashbots who couldn't find China on a map what people in China think?

These are the people who installed Ubuntu on their P3 laptops. That makes them the intellectual elite.

Re:Rise of the machines? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41970321)

Of course they'll say that since there are about 10 thousand people vying to replace them should they get let go.

Cylons at last (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41969529)

People should be pleased - no more workers for the evil corporate state to exploit.

Re:Cylons at last (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 years ago | (#41969635)

Why? It's just more poor people who don't get to participate in the economic success of a society.

It's really the only solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41969533)

Both the Chinese and Japanese have recognized for some time that if they wanted to keep the momentum of their industrial revolutions they would have to replace their dwindling supply of cheap skilled labor with robots. It's a good sign when you've moved a whole class of workers into better lives, but now that they are worth more, you are less competitive. It's a good problem to have. I wish Foxconn lots of luck and hope they help bring about the era of majority robotic labor, and end wage-slavery.

Re:It's really the only solution (2)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | about 2 years ago | (#41969911)

Yes, so we can Bring it back to the States! [forbes.com]

Re:It's really the only solution (4, Insightful)

magarity (164372) | about 2 years ago | (#41970613)

Keep dreaming; labor costs are a pretty small part of the problem with manufacturing moving overseas. Chinese factories staffed by robots will still spew untreated toxic waste into their rivers and skies. Until everyone there either dies of exposure or they clean up their act, they'll have a huge price advantage.

Re:It's really the only solution (1)

SolitaryMan (538416) | about 2 years ago | (#41970025)

... and start unemployment benefit slavery.

Re:It's really the only solution (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | about 2 years ago | (#41970649)

... and start unemployment benefit slavery.

They have unemployment over there?

The only question when it comes to robots... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41969553)

Can you have sex with them?

captcha:milled (lol)

Re:The only question when it comes to robots... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41969841)

No, no, these are NOT to be confused with the Lucy Liu-bot.

Or, despite the name, furries.

I Had Sex with a Robot! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41970041)

Mom: Billy, do you want to walk your dog?
Billy: No thanks, mom. I'd rather have sex with my Foxbot.

Dad: Billy, do you want to get a paper route and earn some extra cash?
Billy: No thanks, dad. I'd rather have sex with my Foxbot.

Mavis: Billy, do you want to come over tonight? We can have sex together.
Billy: Gee, Mavis, your house is across the street. That's an awfully long way to go for having sex.

Do not have sex with a robot! Before you know it, it will be the end of the human civilization.

At least ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41969561)

... they are not going to suicide.

This is the beginning of the end (3, Insightful)

Infonaut (96956) | about 2 years ago | (#41969567)

The next thing you know, they'll be using robots in automobile and aircraft factories!

Re:This is the beginning of the end (1)

dmbasso (1052166) | about 2 years ago | (#41969849)

Soon the people whose jobs were taken by robots will start crying for food and basic necessities... these entitled bastards! Can you even imagine them asking for education? What snobs!

Re:This is the beginning of the end (1)

tippe (1136385) | about 2 years ago | (#41970009)

Don't worry, they'll all be re-trained as robot technicians, I'm sure. That's what happened to all of the workers displaced by robots in the automotive industry, right? Right??

Re:This is the beginning of the end (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41970235)

I know you're being sarcastic, but what really happened was total employee compensation dropped only slightly because the maintenance techs and the process programmers all make more money than the assembly line person. But the productivity of a line was greatly increased.

So yes, some low skilled workers lost their jobs and were replaced by better paid, more highly skilled workers. The problem is the government dictates a minimum wage but doesn't dictate a minimum sales price for robots and for-profit, public companies goal is to make as much money as possible.

Re:This is the beginning of the end (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41970011)

Getting layed off at 50 with an obsolete skill set, and still wants to eat? the Nerve!!!!!

Re:This is the beginning of the end (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41970377)

China's rice is already farmed by robots, isn't it? Soon the beggars will be robots too!

Can't we all just get along, in our caves?!

Good for them. (1)

Seumas (6865) | about 2 years ago | (#41969575)

Every do-gooder busy-body over here in the states won't stop banging on them for supposed "horrid slave-treatment" of their million employees? Then we're gonna replace them with robots and now they have *no* jobs, at all! :D

Re:Good for them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41969809)

Don't worry. The goo-dooders will be along shortly to complain about the evil Foxconn putting people out of work.

Re:Good for them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41970075)

Why don't you people give a damn about the treatment of others? Is it all just about the fucking money to you? BTW, Rand was a piece of shit.

Re:Good for them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41970289)

Hello, Rand.

Wow (1)

uvsc_wolverine (692513) | about 2 years ago | (#41969617)

Is anyone else amazed by the sheer scale of an operation like that? Not just Foxconn itself (which I know is huge) but the effort and cost of installing 40,000 robots.

Taiwanese (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41969721)

"Foxconn, the Chinese electronics manufacturer..."

The company is Taiwanese. (It's just the plants that are located in China.)

Re:Taiwanese (1)

Kinthelt (96845) | about 2 years ago | (#41970039)

I wanted to point this out too. You got here first.

Re:Taiwanese (0, Troll)

1u3hr (530656) | about 2 years ago | (#41970347)

The company is Taiwanese. (It's just the plants that are located in China.)

Taiwan is China. They disagree about where the capital is though.

But now younger people in Taiwan prefer to call themselves "Taiwanese" rather than "Chinese".

Re:Taiwanese (5, Insightful)

Krneki (1192201) | about 2 years ago | (#41970493)

And the USA is England colony. But now younger people in USA prefer to call themselves "Americans" rather than "British".

Re:Taiwanese (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41970441)

You mean the same Taiwan whose official name is the "Republic of China" and ethnically is 98% Han Chinese?

Do robots dream of better working conditions? (1)

amstrad (60839) | about 2 years ago | (#41969817)

Also, the 10,000 new robots begin to complain of poor working conditions, instigate riots, and some even commit suicide.

Re:Do robots dream of better working conditions? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41969917)

I hear a certain bending unit was the ring leader.

Interesting times ahead in China (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 2 years ago | (#41969845)

Given the cultural differences between China and the West, it will be interesting to see how the Chinese populace deals with automation replacing a significant chunk of the workforce. It hasn't always been a smooth, peaceful change here...

Re:Interesting times ahead in China (1)

pr0nbot (313417) | about 2 years ago | (#41970147)

On this evidence, it also seems to be happening much faster in China. It took about 50 years for well-paying, low-skilled jobs to be all but extinct in the US, leading to the current levels of poverty and social inequality there. Interesting article on this in this week's Economist: http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21565956-americas-poor-were-little-mentioned-barack-obamas-re-election-campaign-they-deserve [economist.com]

Re:Interesting times ahead in China (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 2 years ago | (#41970287)

Their media will suppress it, just like everything else that isn't part of the glorious harmony.

Re:Interesting times ahead in China (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41970567)

In a communist country, is working really necessary though?
Isnt everything provided for by the govt anyways?

Re:Interesting times ahead in China (2)

0123456 (636235) | about 2 years ago | (#41970607)

In a communist country, is working really necessary though?

No. The Chinese government will allow you to starve, if you prefer not working.

Re:Interesting times ahead in China (2)

BinarySolo (1951210) | about 2 years ago | (#41970641)

I never did understand why Americans were always lamenting about China taking all the manufacturing jobs. Seems like if we weren't losing them to the Chinese then we would have lost them to automation. Although now that automation is starting to replace the Chinese workforce as well, there's really no reason for American companies not to move their manufacturing back to the US and save on overseas shipping and export/import regulations and taxes.

Great (5, Insightful)

daem0n1x (748565) | about 2 years ago | (#41969851)

I can only be happy when humans are replaced by machines to do repetitive, menial and hazardous tasks. In the future, nobody will have to do things like that. People will enjoy a comfortable life with lots of leisure and plenty of time to do things that make them fulfilled, instead of slaving for 16 hours a day.

Re:Great (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41970033)

I can only be happy when humans are replaced by machines to do repetitive, menial and hazardous tasks. In the future, nobody will have to do things like that. People will enjoy a comfortable life with lots of leisure and plenty of time to do things that make them fulfilled, instead of slaving for 16 hours a day.

I expect without Star Trek replicators, the future will rather instead look like that two-part episode of DS9 where Sisko went back in time and ended up in the ghetto. You know, the ghetto, where the vast masses in your utopian vision will end up, whilst the privileged few complain about the eye sore from their comfortable life of leisure.

Robotic labor alone isn't going to unseat our economic system.

Except there is a flaw in your logic (5, Insightful)

pkbarbiedoll (851110) | about 2 years ago | (#41970037)

When all of the low-skill repetitive jobs are replaced by robots, and there is no work for the millions of displaced workers they are going to find unexpected ways to spend their forced leisure time, such as developing a newfound love of pitchforks, machetes, rope and guillotines.. and an unhealthy obsession with the "Job Creators" who created a new life of misery for them.

Re:Except there is a flaw in your logic (1)

kwerle (39371) | about 2 years ago | (#41970201)

Billions.

Except there is a flaw in YOUR logic (1)

zarlino (985890) | about 2 years ago | (#41970219)

When most repetitive work is done by machines and productivity goes sky-high, unemployment will not rise at all. Society will just focus on other tasks that were previously not achievable. Automation began 100 years ago and it hasn't caused mass unemployment.

Except there is a flaw in YOUR logic (0)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#41970257)

You're having problems counting the unemployed around the world, aren't you? We're already there and we haven't found things for those people to do.

Re:Except there is a flaw in your logic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41970453)

Not to worry. I'm sure they can get a copy of "Robot Repair for Dummies" for $0.99 from the App Store.

Re:Except there is a flaw in your logic (4, Insightful)

daem0n1x (748565) | about 2 years ago | (#41970505)

I guess that's what happened with mechanisation of agriculture and the invention of the assembly line here in the Western countries. We live a life of misery, now. We were so much happier working 18 hour shifts in a shitty factory or plowing from dawn to dusk!

Re:Except there is a flaw in your logic (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | about 2 years ago | (#41970529)

When all of the low-skill repetitive jobs are replaced by robots, and there is no work for the millions of displaced workers they are going to find unexpected ways to spend their forced leisure time, such as developing a newfound love of pitchforks, machetes, rope and guillotines.. and an unhealthy obsession with the "Job Creators" who created a new life of misery for them.

You're talking about a revolution in China. That's never happened before, has it? ***

*** (:-) for the humor impared

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41970049)

But they'll have no income with which to enjoy that leisure time...

Re:Great (1)

jcdenhartog (840940) | about 2 years ago | (#41970069)

...do things that make them fulfilled...

Right. That's the hard part. Most people end up doing things that contribute more to the destruction of themselves and society as a whole when given all this 'free' time and endless pursuit of pleasure. It's human nature to do so. In the end, it's hard to say there's a net gain.

Re:Great (1)

daem0n1x (748565) | about 2 years ago | (#41970485)

Bullshit. We enjoy a great standard of living in modern western societies. We no longer work 18-hour shifts in dangerous factories full of smoke. Yet, we've found something to do with all that "spare time" we got.

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41970071)

More likely labourers will be discarded into scavenging and fighting for food where a handfull of technocrats are living luxurious lives served by robots.
Think it's going to be different? Do you like the idea of donating most of your salary to feed the hungry instead of buying a bigger house a better car and spending it on your pleasure?

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41970251)

What about people who can do nothing but repetitive and stupid tasks?

Should we dump them like retired machines? Or should we provide them free lunch and everything?

Re:Great (1)

daem0n1x (748565) | about 2 years ago | (#41970573)

Seems to me that society will be productive enough that those people will make a living anyway without having to work for it. Not as glamorous as more intelligent people, though. And they can pursue stupid and repetitive hobbies to keep busy.

Re:Great (1)

pr0nbot (313417) | about 2 years ago | (#41970279)

One of the famous old economists (Smith, or Keynes, someone like that) also predicted that increased productivity would inevitably lead to the end of work, with everyone free to pursue leisure activities, enjoying unparalleled prosperity. But it doesn't seem to work out that way; those for whom there is no more work live in grinding poverty, while the majority of those who do work, work longer hours than ever. (The work is, however, by and large physically less taxing and more enjoyable.)

Re:Great (2)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | about 2 years ago | (#41970577)

If you don't own land now, go out and buy some. In the end, that's the one thing that robots can't build.*

* I'll have egg on my face when the robot army builds massive floating cities.

Re:Great (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 2 years ago | (#41970635)

I'll have egg on my face when the robot army builds massive floating cities.

More like space habitats, which can easily provide many times as much land area as every planet in the solar system. Land on Earth won't have much value in a century or two.

Re:Great (1)

daem0n1x (748565) | about 2 years ago | (#41970591)

That only shows the current economic system is stupid and unsustainable. A new system will come up eventually.

Player Piano (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41970323)

Read Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.'s novel by that name. All the boring, hazardous, repetitive jobs are done by robots. Only engineers (and probably politicians) have jobs. Everything else is handled by computers, including deciding how much money you get, where you live, and what you buy, so as to make the economy work best.

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41970397)

People will enjoy a comfortable life with lots of leisure and plenty of time to do things that make them fulfilled, instead of slaving for 16 hours a day.

I always wondered how people are going to afford food and shelter, nevermind any luxuries, to enjoy their enforced leisure time if they're not employed.

I guess the government will just cut them a check once a month or something.

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41970537)

If you were a rich capitalist would you give the goods produced by YOUR robots in YOUR factories for free? If everyone could have anything they wanted for free your capital would be worthless, you'd lose all the power and be no different from the dirty peasants. With propaganda as developed as it is today, I doubt anything would change for the better.

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41970609)

... enjoy a comfortable life with lots of leisure and plenty of time to do things that make them fulfilled, ...

Like starve.

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41970655)

the owners of these robots will need to redistribute the wealth somehow?

Solution for the Chinese (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41969867)

In light of such a system, where the few who own the means of production are capable of disenfranchising and exploiting all others, I propose an alternative economic system that the Chinese can implement, in order to prevent the exploitation of the common man by the wealthy. One where the means of production are owned by the state, which represents the collective will of the people...

Oh, wait a minute...

RUR (1)

contrarywise (1981398) | about 2 years ago | (#41969871)

Will the new iThing be designed to be manufactured entirely by robots in Cupertino now that Foxcon is eliminating its cheap labor advantage.

Re:RUR (1)

WillAdams (45638) | about 2 years ago | (#41970501)

That _was_ Steve Jobs original vision back when he built the highly-automated (for its time) NeXT factory --- what he really wanted was a factory where sand (and other raw materials) came in one end and finished machines went out the other.

William

Foxbots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41969899)

Foxbots? I heard Foxconn was planning to open factories in the US and thought this news is about hiring Fox channel viewers.

Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41969901)

Finally we can automate production, and stop forcing people to work.

cant wait for H265 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41969927)

should a be a great time where the 3d modelling finally goes to look so well we no longer will need actors nor musicans
ony writers which we can get AI to do as well....
yup the golden age is coming and no one will have a job
right fucking on does anyone in capitalism think this is good? raise your hand ( BANG slices em off )

For Foxconn, "killbots" would be a better name (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41969949)

(Subject line says it all.)

Will this army of robots be "Three Laws Safe"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41970045)

Will Smith didn't seem to be having a lot of fun taking out the first army, I don't know if he could do it again.

Oddly fitting (1)

Sperbels (1008585) | about 2 years ago | (#41970053)

All this has happened before, and all this will happen again

how long (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41970101)

I wonder how long until we hear about the first robot jumping to its death out of a window.

UGLY! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41970209)

I have never seen a robot uglier than that. Are they all blinds?

Suit their bloody factories, though.

I can't wait (1)

wbr1 (2538558) | about 2 years ago | (#41970215)

I cannot wait for an iPhone built by I,robot.

Re:I can't wait (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 2 years ago | (#41970303)

iRobot doesn't make industrial robots. They make military and domestic robots.

The worker will soon be replaced by technology. (1)

concealment (2447304) | about 2 years ago | (#41970217)

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57548757-93/here-come-the-humanoids-there-go-u.s-jobs/ [cnet.com]

As robots become more available, and they can take on the jobs that ordinary workers do, look for employers to replace employees with robots wherever they can.

Not only are costs lower, with wages versus maintenance, but there's no chance of strikes, labor disruptions, lawsuits, etc.

What will we do when there are no "worker" jobs and everyone has to be a web developer?

Re:The worker will soon be replaced by technology. (1)

dmacleod808 (729707) | about 2 years ago | (#41970411)

Myspace - where everyone has to be a web developer. I gouged my eyes out, the have only recently grown back.

What of their economy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41970273)

The Chinese economy has been built on unlimited cheap industrial labor producing products that could be competitively exported - now what? A billion people w/o jobs? Those people have now become a liability not an asset.

Historically, technology development has provided new-industry jobs to absorb such technology-induced job losses - at least when technological development was sufficiently rapid. Sure hope the Chinese allocate sufficient resources to technology development sectors. Sure am glad the US is allocating sufficient resources to technology development instead of depending on mergers and buy-outs floating stock recapitalization to provide wealth and letting R&D tank. Just think what would happen to the US if, say, mathematicians were employed optimizing nanosecond stock trading instead of technology development.

oblig (1)

wbr1 (2538558) | about 2 years ago | (#41970281)

iWelcome our iPad building iRobot iOverlords.

who builds the robots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41970477)

isn't this the beginning of all bad scifi movies?

Foxconn is typical of the Chinese (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41970571)

This is why you can't trust the Chinese: They don't value human life much at all, as Foxconn's actions demonstrate. Putting 1,000,000 people out of work is something I consider to be a crime against humanity, and they are to be reviled for doing it.
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