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Foxconn's Robot Workforce Now 20,000 Strong

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the no-breaks-needed dept.

Businesses 213

itwbennett writes "Slashdot readers will recall Foxconn's plans to staff its factories with an army of 1 million robot workers to offset rising labor costs. Well, now we have an update on those plans. Speaking at the company's shareholder meeting on Wednesday, Foxconn CEO Terry Gou said that there are 20,000 robotic machines currently at work in Foxconn factories. Ultimately, these robots will replace human assembly workers and 'our [human] workers will then become technicians and engineers,' Gou said."

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Technicians and engineers, really? (3, Insightful)

RealTime (3392) | about a year ago | (#44119991)

'our [human] workers will then become unemployed ,' Gou said.

FTFY

Re:Technicians and engineers, really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44120027)

They'll have to find other jobs, perhaps go back to school, etc. Foxconn may be obligated by the government to help them with that, etc.... but why should Foxconn worry that they will be unemployed?

Re:Technicians and engineers, really? (4, Insightful)

Dutchmaan (442553) | about a year ago | (#44120273)

" but why should Foxconn worry that they will be unemployed?" ...because it shows Foxconn for what it is, a completely apathetic company who only views it's workforce as meat robots, and because those meat robots have real human traits like the need dignity and hope for a semi-decent life, we're going to throw them on the scrap heap. I mean lets face it, when you're working conditions are so bad that a percentage of your workers view death as a plausible means of escape and you're putting up nets to stop them from killing themselves, then maybe it's time to reflect on how your business is treating it's workers. Personally speaking I'd like to see Foxconn execs live for one year; hell, one month under the conditions they force everyone else to endure... but strip away their fortunes first so they can't escape to that magical place of "I'll have my old life of ease to go back to once this hell is done."

Re:Technicians and engineers, really? (5, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about a year ago | (#44120419)

Foxconn has no choice. If another company's cost of manufacturing a gadget are lower, then that's where the production will go. Anyway, increasing production efficiency is always a good thing. That's where all human progress comes from. The biggest improvements in population, lifespan, quality of life and human condition in general, the agricultural revolution and the industrial revolution, were both based on the ability to have fewer people do the work that used to take many.

Re:Technicians and engineers, really? (3, Insightful)

Daemonik (171801) | about a year ago | (#44120627)

Is increasing production efficiency always a good thing? We are quickly reaching the point where the only way to increase efficiency is to remove humans completely. So where do those humans go then?

Where do you find 1 million gainful jobs to replace all of the inefficient human labor they're replacing? How about 10 million, once all of Foxconn's partners and competitors have done the same robot transition to compete? Look at the US, we can't create enough jobs here to meet demands, and there are only so many STEM jobs available folks.

Are we prepared for a day when 50% of the world or more has to be on welfare simply because there are no jobs available to humans anymore?

Re:Technicians and engineers, really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44120649)

Well _I'm_ prepared for that day. But sure, most people aren't, they insist that although they have no useful skills they ought to be provided with "gainful employment" and then they'll whine about how that employment is too difficult and wastes too much of their time. Can't help it that people are idiots.

Automation means millions out of poverty (5, Insightful)

sjbe (173966) | about a year ago | (#44120781)

Where do you find 1 million gainful jobs to replace all of the inefficient human labor they're replacing?

I don't mean to be trite but the answer is, with other companies doing other things. Believe it or not seeing China beginning to automate production is a very positive sign for Chinese workers because it means that pay rates are increasing. If you have unlimited low cost labor there is no point in automating many tasks. But wages in China have been steadily rising to the point where China is now sometimes not competitive with other places. That means they will have to begin to automate some work to remain competitive. Automation being installed is an indicator of rising wages. I'm not even slightly exaggerating when I say it means that millions of people are being pulled out of poverty.

I see this logical fallacy again and again that replacing labor with automation is a zero sum game. It demonstrably is not. The computer you are reading this on has replaced millions of clerical workers who now do other things. Automation replaces some labor but frees it to do more than it could before. Washing clothes used to be a hugely time consuming task but we developed tools (automation) to wash for us and we spend our time on other things. Is it better that we spend our time having people type things repeatedly on typewriters or should we use a word processor and print it once? It isn't that there is suddenly no work, it's that now people have time to accomplish tasks that there wasn't time to accomplish before.

Re:Automation means millions out of poverty (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44121093)

Automation also means we can bring it back to the USA. After all, if we're not manufacturing in China because of cheap labor anymore, why don't they have their automated factory in the USA again?

On-shoring already happening (4, Interesting)

sjbe (173966) | about a year ago | (#44121119)

Automation also means we can bring it back to the USA.

Already happening. My company is able to compete on some products that were made in China but as labor costs have gone up so have the prices. The so called China price isn't as low as it used to be.

After all, if we're not manufacturing in China because of cheap labor anymore, why don't they have their automated factory in the USA again?

Production didn't move to China overnight and it won't move back to the US overnight either. We're talking about millions and billions of dollars of capital investment and that sort of thing doesn't relocate instantly.

Re:Automation means millions out of poverty (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44121213)

Automation doesn't always mean that there are new jobs to do; at least not right away. When people think of the industrial revolution, they think about how much better people are now, not the sausage factories that ground children into meat for the poor.

The new technologies favor those with capital, not labor:
http://www.businessinsider.com/paul-krugman-on-technology-and-inequality-2013-2

And its possible that we could be looking a few decades where technology doesn't benefit us as a whole. The 1900s were a bit of an anomole in the history of the world.

Re:Technicians and engineers, really? (3, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#44120927)

Where do you find 1 million gainful jobs to replace all of the inefficient human labor they're replacing?

I don't know, but it happened throughout the Industrial Age. It's worth noting here that probably all of those jobs that are being replaced, didn't exist one or two decades ago.

Look at the US, we can't create enough jobs here to meet demands, and there are only so many STEM jobs available folks.

Bad example. The US (as also in much of the developed world) is punishing businesses for hiring people. There are substantial costs associated with employing people (especially when an additional employee would push the business over a bureaucratic threshold, like 50 full time employees). And it's worth noting that minimum wage prevents a lot of people from being employed simply because their labor is worth less than minimum wage at present.

Look at the US, we can't create enough jobs here to meet demands, and there are only so many STEM jobs available folks.

My approach is to get rid of the "demands". Less demands on job creators, more jobs get created.

Are we prepared for a day when 50% of the world or more has to be on welfare simply because there are no jobs available to humans anymore?

Change labor policy before that happens. I already mentioned minimum wage as an example of a policy that creates unemployment. A second one is usual welfare policy where you get less, if you work more.

Consider an alternate welfare policy to those two. Pay everyone a fixed stipend (if you still want to avoid paying rich people, just set the income cut off at a rather high level) and completely do away with minimum wage. I'd also get rid of most health care mandates (the US style ones are particularly bad), regulatory burdens, and pensions. Someone can choose to get by on that stipend, or they can work, even a little, and get more without issue.

Re:Technicians and engineers, really? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44121063)

The problem with your viewpoint is that when businesses do not deal with things like pensions, healthcare and "regulatory burdens," those responsibilities fall to the government and businesses complain that their taxes are too high. The response is to hide profits which prevents government from doing these tasks.

The other option is to pay your workers enough so that they can pay for their own heatlthcare and pensions. Again, that's not what businesses want to to do.

It will be painful moving from a human based workforce to a robot based workforce. What businesses won't realize is that they're heading for a complete collapse because without employed humans, they have no choice but to get their prices lower to the point of being free (that's where the collapse occurs).

In the future, when labor is no longer a "significant" cost, the real power will be in those who own the natural resources; kind of coming full circle. After all, what business owners are really good at is coordinating labor. With robots, that's not as important. Business owners (managers, if you will) will be marginalized much like the working class is today.

Re:Technicians and engineers, really? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about a year ago | (#44121389)

I'm liking the "basic income" idea more and more. Instead of employing an army of people to run the welfare systems and look for "cheaters", just give everyone a stipend without any checks at all (except maybe for a high threshold as you said). I can see a lot of people choosing to pursue their own business, as long as this stipend is enough to keep them from starving; it makes the risk of starting a new business much lower. It'd also fix the idiotic problem where people on welfare don't want to work because they'd then lose their benefits, in effect, spending their time working for the same income they get for doing nothing, and now not having free time to do other things like be with family or go to school.

Re:Technicians and engineers, really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44121411)

Yes. It is ALWAYS a good thing.

The goal is that no humans need to work.

"Are we prepared for a day when 50% of the world or more has to be on welfare simply because there are no jobs available to humans anymore?"

Obviously, when we're at that stage, there is more than enough wealth available to put these people on welfare, since production capacity will be even higher than when these people were employed, but now they're not paid a salary anymore. What we have to do, is basically just starting to pay a salary to all the people whose jobs have now been automated. At some point, this will reach 100% of the human population. We can still do work, but only if we want to, there will be no difference between hobby and work anymore.

Re:Technicians and engineers, really? (2)

StripedCow (776465) | about a year ago | (#44120761)

That's the general problem with capitalism.
People at the bottom of the hierarchy get the smallest compensation and the worst working conditions. As you go higher in the hierarchy, the reward is bigger and the conditions are better.

If you could give 1 dollar extra to be given to the person who actually made your iPhone, then that would be a huge reward for this person. However, under the capitalist framework, with a simple increase in price that money could never reach that person. It would get stuck in the intermediate levels.

Re:Technicians and engineers, really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44121127)

That has nothing to do with being a specific problem with capitalism. I could have a huge socialist empire manufacturing cheap gadgets in several different layers and you wouldn't be able to send dollars to specific people either.

That's actually a problem with full transparency. (Open source / open business.) We have this problem even with our produce and meats. What specific fertilizer was used on that produce you're eating? Nobody knows. Its not printed on the label anywhere. Similarly, there is no open record of who assembled what part of your phone. The company knows, they have databases for that sort of thing. They just are not open. Why? There's no additional profit, no motivation for them to do so.

Re:Technicians and engineers, really? (2)

Skapare (16644) | about a year ago | (#44121129)

Eventually, this world will be one with 100% robotic automation, owned by the financial elite, and billions of people with no hope for work and ... not part of that ever shrinking consumer market. What if everything can be made for a penny, but nobody has any pennies to buy the stuff?

Re:Technicians and engineers, really? (2)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#44120995)

I'll observe here that it is the responsibility of the workers to have "dignity" and that "semi-decent life" not Foxconn.

Personally speaking I'd like to see Foxconn execs live for one year; hell, one month under the conditions they force everyone else to endure... but strip away their fortunes first so they can't escape to that magical place of "I'll have my old life of ease to go back to once this hell is done."

How about we don't do that and instead let Foxconn continue to gainfully employ people? They're doing all the stuff you pretend to care about such as providing jobs with more dignity and decency than the workers would get without Foxconn.

Re:Technicians and engineers, really? (1)

Kagato (116051) | about a year ago | (#44121057)

I would think about it another way. 1) They have incredibly high turn over. There don't have old line workers. 2) The part suppliers don't have the means to automate to that extent. 3) They are Taiwanese not Chinese. They have no allegiance to China and don't consider employment in China to be their problem.

Re:Technicians and engineers, really? (1)

rmstar (114746) | about a year ago | (#44120293)

but why should Foxconn worry that they will be unemployed?

Because these workers are human beings.

Please explain to me why you think that this doesn't matter. It seems many people think like that around here and that the rationale for it is somehow obvious, but I just don't get it.

Re:Technicians and engineers, really? (3, Insightful)

xelah (176252) | about a year ago | (#44120351)

He didn't actually say it doesn't matter, just that Foxconn won't worry. Of course, being a purely mental concept, Foxconn doesn't have the neurons to worry, but its management might feel uncomfortable depending on their level of psychopathy. Not that that stops anyone. But Chinese politicians will worry if it threatens to cause mass unemployment, because they're already worried that poorer economic conditions will lead to unrest and dissatisfaction with the whole one-party thing. And when the Chinese government is worrying, they have a tendency to pass it on.

Re:Technicians and engineers, really? (4, Informative)

wienerschnizzel (1409447) | about a year ago | (#44120389)

Do you also care as much about all the people that lost their work when agricultural automation became wide spread? Do you cry for the thousands of workers that might have been tilling the land manually instead of just one guy riding a tractor - when you eat your morning cereals/bread/whatever? And don't tell me you only eat stuff from your local farmer's market, because those people use automation too. How is factory automation any different?

Re:Technicians and engineers, really? (2)

Daemonik (171801) | about a year ago | (#44120651)

When we started automating our farms, there was the side benefit that industry was booming and needed those very same offset farmers to fill the factory floors. In that instance the transition was beneficial all around.

Now though, those factories have their doors welded shut and even management is getting the pink slip. There is no empty job market just waiting to absorb all those extra workers. Our governments can only make the jobless numbers go down anymore by removing the long term jobless from the reports, as though it's a personal failing and not a systemic problem.

Re:Technicians and engineers, really? (1)

wienerschnizzel (1409447) | about a year ago | (#44120765)

True. But Foxconn is no more evil than the farms for making its production more efficient. If somebody would like to force Foxconn to stop making its factories more efficient, they might as well force farmers to dump their tractors and combines.

Re:Technicians and engineers, really? (1)

Daemonik (171801) | about a year ago | (#44120887)

I never claimed Foxconn was evil. I'm not even claiming they shouldn't automate. Society, however, does need to take a long hard look at ways to create opportunities for the offset workers of the future to find new liveable working conditions though. We're getting to a point where the costs of factory robots have decreased enough and their abilities risen enough that they can replace a significant portion of the work force.

Without some thought being put into what happens to those people after that, there will be some serious repercussions and telling ourselves "oh it worked out in the past" or "jobs will appear" as if by magic is foolishness.

Re:Technicians and engineers, really? (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#44121025)

Society, however, does need to take a long hard look at ways to create opportunities for the offset workers of the future to find new liveable working conditions though.

I'll tell you right now. Those policies will be business-friendly. The problem throughout the developed world (which is incidentally where the the vast majority of complaints about the current state of things come from) is the huge overhead on employing people. Get rid of that, remove the obstacles to creating new businesses, and you've just encouraged businesses to employ you.

Without some thought being put into what happens to those people after that, there will be some serious repercussions and telling ourselves "oh it worked out in the past" or "jobs will appear" as if by magic is foolishness.

I don't think so. It's quite relevant to note that this problem has been worried about for the past few centuries and has naturally resolved itself throughout that period.

Re:Technicians and engineers, really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44120405)

They are EXTRA humans who didn't need to be born. As such, they not entitled to any sort of rights whatsoever.

Re:Technicians and engineers, really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44120447)

It's called capitalism baby, when no one cares about anybody, and most certainly not expected to, as it goes against profit.

Re:Technicians and engineers, really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44120547)

So this sort of "capitalism" has been good for the US with its stubbornly high unemployment numbers?

Was around 5%, shot up to 10% and started trending downwards but currently at 7.6%. This is probably inaccurate as US numbers don't include those who simply gave up.

People need jobs, not necessarily the mindless backbreaking kind but some form of employment.

Re:Technicians and engineers, really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44120527)

Two reasons they think that way.

1) its not them. If their job was replaced by a robot they would care a great deal.
2) As long as it means their iDevice is 5 cents cheaper then go for it.

Humans are the best tool there is (4, Interesting)

sjbe (173966) | about a year ago | (#44120845)

Because these workers are human being

Which is their greatest asset. Humans are the most flexible, trainable and adaptable tool we know of. I run a factory which does a lot of manual assembly and we employ people to do things that tools either cannot or cost too much for. I can teach even a relatively uneducated person in about 30 minutes how to assemble one of our products. A machine to assemble the same product would easily cost over a million dollars and take over a year to develop. With enough volume automation makes sense but human's flexibility ensures there is plenty of work that cannot reasonably be automated. Do you really want to waste your best and most flexible asset on boring repetitive jobs that automation can do more cheaply?

I think you greatly underestimate how adaptable people really are. I think that companies who need remove someone from the payroll (for reasons other than firing for-cause) have an obligation to do what they can to make the transition gentle if they can. But there is a limit to that obligation. Ultimately it is up to the person to find their path in life, not the company to find it for them. I'm hugely optimistic about people and frankly am mystified by those who seem to think that people need to be treated like children. We don't owe them a specific job or a paycheck, we owe them opportunities to show what they can do.

Furthermore automation is a sign that wages in China are rising. If you have an endless supply of cheap labor there is no point in automating. The fact that companies are finding it financially sensible to do so is an unambiguous indicator that millions of people are being lifted out of poverty.

Re:Technicians and engineers, really? (2, Informative)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#44120095)

'our [human] workers will then become unemployed ,' Gou said.

FTFY

Unlikely. Automation has not lead to mass unemployment in the past, and there is little reason to think this time will be any different. China is transitioning to a service economy much faster than western nations did, and due to the one child policy, China's labor force has already peaked, and it will be more and more difficult for companies to find enough workers.

Re:Technicians and engineers, really? (1)

TheLink (130905) | about a year ago | (#44120161)

Think of the Chinese factory workers as robots doing repetitive tasks. How well has that worked out for the workers in the USA?

Wonderful?

Automation = Rising wages (3, Interesting)

sjbe (173966) | about a year ago | (#44120899)

Think of the Chinese factory workers as robots doing repetitive tasks. How well has that worked out for the workers in the USA?

Considering that workers in the US enjoy among the highest wages in the world I'd say pretty good. The US has a manufacturing sector that brings in about $4 TRILLION per year. The percent of jobs in manufacturing has declined (like in agriculture earlier) but those that remain in the sector are generally doing quite well and should continue to do so.

In any case you are looking at the situation backwards. Companies only automate for two reasons. The first is if there is a task that cannot be done manually - either requiring precision or due to the job being dangerous. The second and relevant one here is if labor costs are high. The fact that Chinese firms are finding it viable to automate means that millions of people are being pulled from poverty. Wages in China are rising and rising fast. If you have an endless supply of cheap labor there is no point in automating a great many tasks. Increasing automation means that labor costs are rising which is a very good thing unless your perspective is that Chinese workers should always be dirt poor. Personally I'm cheered to see lots of people able to enjoy a better standard of living.

Re:Automation = Rising wages (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44121039)

Now can you relate this to the real world, say automotive manufacturing.

At one point the us OWNED auto manufacturing, no one could touch them as they made them better, faster and cheaper then anyone.

Now how'd Detroit working out?

Automation wasn't the sole factor in the decimation but it was decimated none the less. What are those people doing for work now?

Re:Automation = Rising wages (1)

sjbe (173966) | about a year ago | (#44121257)

At one point the us OWNED auto manufacturing, no one could touch them as they made them better, faster and cheaper then anyone.

And as a result they got fat, lazy and bloated and started making inferior products that cost more. Other companies came in and took advantage of the arrogance and sloth.

Now how'd Detroit working out?

Pretty good actually. Ford made a profit of about $1.6 billion last quarter. GM made about $1.1 billion last quarter and Chrysler reportedly made about $1.7 billion in 2012.

Automation wasn't the sole factor in the decimation but it was decimated none the less.

Automation doesn't occur unless labor costs are high. And without automation just how competitive do you think US automakers would be? The US automakers managed to keep ridiculously overpaid assembly line workers going for decades in spite of competition from much lower paid overseas labor.

What are those people doing for work now?

Many still work in auto manufacturing. It remains a huge employer. Others are working other places doing other things. Until the last few years unemployment was below 5% which is clear evidence that those people found other work.

Re:Automation = Rising wages (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44121443)

First, I somewhat anti-union for the reasons you list. While they start off great (protecting worker rights) they have a tendency to become lazy/bloated/costly.

I know Ford/GM/Chrysler are all back in black (after bankruptcy,bailout, restructuring due to other issues outside this discussion).

My question wasn't "How are the big three doing?" it was "how is Detroit doing?"

Detroit use to be the automotive manufacturing powerhouse prior to its implosion.

On one had you have labor costs going up (unions, standard of living, etc) and automation as well as ruthless outsourcing (great for Mexico/Canada back in the day), not necessarily great for the US when those people become unemployed and unable to find suitable work.

This is what will eventually happen to China. People are already looking for a new "third world" to exploit and as you list, profits are good so why the need to find the absolute cheapest lowest labor costs?

Re:Automation = Rising wages (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | about a year ago | (#44121497)

In any case you are looking at the situation backwards. Companies only automate for two reasons. The first is if there is a task that cannot be done manually - either requiring precision or due to the job being dangerous. The second and relevant one here is if labor costs are high.

The third reason is if the automation costs are declining, companies won't mind replacing a low wage job if a robot still undercuts it by half. And the labor market can't really adjust because humans have a living wage floor while robots don't. If rising labor costs were the prime driver we'd see more companies leaving China for poorer countries by now.

Re:Technicians and engineers, really? (2)

theedgeofoblivious (2474916) | about a year ago | (#44120335)

Automation has not lead to mass unemployment in the past,

You're kidding, right?

Re:Technicians and engineers, really? (4, Interesting)

rtb61 (674572) | about a year ago | (#44120343)

Not really. China had a ruthlessly exploited work force not seen since the early industrial age. Basically people doing the most unimaginably routine monotonous work, with extended hours, little time off up to the point of failure and then replaced. Things like sticking keys on a keyboard by hand, packing playing cards in boxes manually etc. the sort of work that was automated in the early 20th century in the west.

Gou and Foxcon might be using the word robot but in the majority of instances it is not what most people would consider a robot. Simply an electro-mechanical device design to complete a pre-defined task, rather than be multitasking to complete a range of variable actions.

Honestly and realistically the work was unfit for human beings, soulless demeaning, requiring no craftsmanship, something only psychopaths could have invented in the industrial age, something someone else does or we starve them and their family.

Catch with automation and robotics it places the whole world upon an equal playing field, with the difference being land and building cost and most important of all, distance and cost to get it to the end user point of delivery. We are now pushing to the age of micro-manufacturing plants, small flexible plants capable of producing a broad range of products very close to the point of demand, minimising transport, warehousing and handling costs. 3D printing is just the start, along with already introduced generic parts and components. Think ceramics vs metals.

Re:Technicians and engineers, really? (4, Insightful)

TheSync (5291) | about a year ago | (#44120397)

China had a ruthlessly exploited work force not seen since the early industrial age.

That is because China never had an industrial age due to a mixture of foreign imperialism, warlord battles, and Communist Party control. Instead tens of millions to people starved to death during the Great Leap Forward, and most people in China were barely eeking out an existence in communal farming until the 1980's. Rather than live on the edge with no hope in the countryside, rural Chinese quickly moved to the cities to work in the factories. The early factories were very capital-poor and had low productivity, thus the only way they could compete for world trade was to have low labor costs. Now Chinese factory capital investment is rising, productivity is rising, along with wages.

Re:Technicians and engineers, really? (3, Insightful)

Dogtanian (588974) | about a year ago | (#44120871)

China had a ruthlessly exploited work force not seen since the early industrial age. Basically people doing the most unimaginably routine monotonous work, with extended hours, little time off up to the point of failure and then replaced. Things like sticking keys on a keyboard by hand, packing playing cards in boxes manually etc. the sort of work that was automated in the early 20th century in the west.

Thirty years ago or so, robots and computerised automation were supposed to be the future, and people from back then might have been quite surprised that a generation down the line *people* are still doing work like this.

It could be argued that the ultra-cheap labour brought about by the delayed industrialisation of China distorted this otherwise likely path, with dirt-cheap, no-investment and very flexible humans working out cheaper than expensive machinery- at least in the short term. It looks, however, like we're now returning to the predicted path...?

Re:Technicians and engineers, really? (3, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | about a year ago | (#44121469)

Gou and Foxcon might be using the word robot but in the majority of instances it is not what most people would consider a robot.

What "most people" (or at least, most ignorant Americans) consider a "robot" is something that doesn't exist, except maybe Honda's Asimo robot (which doesn't even do anything really useful). The Roomba wouldn't be considered a "robot" by these people either, but it certainly is.

In the industrial sector, a "robot" is a machine that completes tasks automatically. A CNC machine is a robot, for instance, even though it's just a fancy milling machine that operates according to a program. A pick-and-place machine (which places electronic components on circuit boards) is a commonly-used robot in the electronics industry. If you look at the manufacturer's plate on many of these machines, they say "industrial robot".

Re:Technicians and engineers, really? (1, Informative)

Mashiki (184564) | about a year ago | (#44120477)

Unlikely. Automation has not lead to mass unemployment in the past, and there is little reason to think this time will be any different.

Really? Well it's one of those things that is really hard to figure out. Though if we take queues from the auto industry here in North America where they went from manual labor to automation, and if we say don't count those who maintained their jobs by internal shifting, and instead count them as people who would have been unemployed. It's probably around 10-14%, give or take a bit. Though, that people are moved around inside companies to fill other positions heavily off-sets this, usually it means that 1-3% from said companies only end up losing their jobs due to either a lack of jobs, attrition/buyouts, retirement and so on.

Re:Technicians and engineers, really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44120359)

'our [human] workers will then become unemployed ,' Gou said.

FTFY

Don't you mean "no longer be slaves"? Oh how fast the of the Apple haters claims change.

and the scribes and the elevator operators, weaver (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about a year ago | (#44120951)

I imagine they'll do the same thing as all the scribes, elevator operators, and weavers who have been replaced by machines.
Some of them will be like my buddy and get paid better money to maintain and operate the new machines, he is an engineer taking care of weaving machines.
The rest will become datacenter techs, web designers, whatever new jobs are required.

As I typed this post my phone auto corrected "elevator operator" to "website operator".
My phone knows elevator operators are replaced by website operators. It is seemingly smarter than the person I'm replying to.

Re:and the scribes and the elevator operators, wea (2)

Grishnakh (216268) | about a year ago | (#44121501)

I imagine they'll do the same thing as all the scribes, elevator operators, and weavers who have been replaced by machines.
Some of them will be like my buddy and get paid better money to maintain and operate the new machines, he is an engineer taking care of weaving machines.
The rest will become datacenter techs, web designers, whatever new jobs are required.

Yes, but what about the Kardashian and Honey Boo Boo fans? People like that aren't capable of being datacenter techs or web designers. And America is absolutely full of people like that. There's only so many barista and janitor jobs out there.

At Foxconn Republic (1)

vencs (1937504) | about a year ago | (#44119993)

Who assembles the Robots?

Re:At Foxconn Republic (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44120009)

Other robots.

Re:At Foxconn Republic (1, Funny)

lxs (131946) | about a year ago | (#44120021)

Far less people than those who assemble the iPhones. On the bright side, robots don't hurl themselves off the roof of your factory.

Re:At Foxconn Republic (1)

Narcocide (102829) | about a year ago | (#44120463)

On the bright side, robots don't hurl themselves off the roof of your factory.

... yet.

Re:At Foxconn Republic (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#44120597)

On the bright side, robots don't hurl themselves off the roof of your factory.

Which is good; being much sturdier, they'd trash the blacktop.

Re:At Foxconn Republic (1)

dingen (958134) | about a year ago | (#44120611)

You know your working conditions are bad when the robots are committing suicide.

Re:At Foxconn Republic (1)

MickLinux (579158) | about a year ago | (#44121181)

Robo-Rally gamers unite!

social meltdown (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44120029)

...and so the march to inevitable social meltdown in China continues.

Just a matter of time.

Kurt Vonnegut considered this problem more than 60 (3, Insightful)

Kartu (1490911) | about a year ago | (#44120037)

Kurt Vonnegut considered this problem more than 60 years ago in his novel "Player Piano".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Player_Piano_(novel) [wikipedia.org]

Out of all imaginable scenarios of going robotic, Foxconn doing it is the worst I could come up with. Even North Korea doing it would be less evil in my humble opinion.

Re:Kurt Vonnegut considered this problem more than (2)

gtirloni (1531285) | about a year ago | (#44120063)

Why?

Re:Kurt Vonnegut considered this problem more than (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44120173)

That's a slightly updated version of Marxist/socialist economics, and about as true and relevant to the real world.

Re:Kurt Vonnegut considered this problem more than (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44120429)

why? they're just machines that they're calling robots.

it's no different from the industrial revolution at all. it's totally the same as replacing people who made fabrics with machines. what the machines are like is irrelevant, point of those machines has always been to reduce labor needed for output - because then we can do more.

or do you think it would be a good idea to get rid out of pick'n'place machines in electronics production? to get rid of chainsaws? notice that this is a "problem" we have been facing for many centuries now. ideally nobody would need to work on needed output and could just work on arts, science, drinking etc...

Re:Kurt Vonnegut considered this problem more than (2)

Daemonik (171801) | about a year ago | (#44120661)

ideally nobody would need to work on needed output and could just work on arts, science, drinking etc...

Yes, because everyone is suited to be an artist of some sort and artists have always had a tradition of making a liveable wage.

Re:Kurt Vonnegut considered this problem more than (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#44120679)

"ideally nobody would need to work on needed output"

A good idea, but one that requires a revolution in economics - even if the industrial capacity exists for one-tenth of the population to work and support the rest, right now that tenth would have no reason to work because the non-workers would have no money to buy goods. Your 'ideally' just can't work in any form of market-based economy - it'd require full-blown communism, and that economic structure has a very poor historical record.

Re:Kurt Vonnegut considered this problem more than (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#44120771)

It's worth noting that we haven't actually run out of things to do for money. For example, in the US, a bit less than a tenth of the population does manufacture. The rest have found something else to do.

Re:Kurt Vonnegut considered this problem more than (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44120933)

social security isn't full blown communism.

90% of jobs are already jobs which are serving for lack of better word "having more fun". barbers, game coders, game system manufacturers, sailing, sports fishing, all hobby providers...

what's more you can not fight it. you can not fight it anymore than you could fight it in 1800's. what you can do is either find work making things more efficient for the producers or something inefficient people want to pay for because it's "fun"(art, music, hobbies). there's some service jobs of course, but in the end those are paid by the production folk and social security.

of course to get on top you need more specialisation, more education for yourself - but you're having more time for that as well since you're not making thread by hand.

First India, now China... (2)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#44120045)

The world is becoming a strange place.

As Indian companies grow in the U.S., outsourcing comes home [washingtonpost.com]

India’s outsourcing giants — faced with rising wages at home — have looked for growth opportunities in the United States. But with Washington crimping visas for visiting Indian workers, some companies such as Aegis are slowly hiring workers in North America, where their largest corporate customers are based. In this evolution, outsourcing has come home.

Foxconn to speed up 'robot army' deployment; 20,000 robots already in its factories [itworld.com]

In addition, Foxconn's CEO said the company is prepared to expand its manufacturing in the U.S., but the move will depend on "economic factors." The company already has factories in Indianapolis and Houston, and employs thousands of workers in the country, according to Gou. -- more [itworld.com]

Re:First India, now China... (2)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#44120117)

The US computer importers are just rethinking ideas like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CKD_kits [wikipedia.org] for their products to get in 'new' classified edu and mil projects.
All the paperwork now looks clean and the long cheap supply chains stay intact.
The world is not strange, just using old creativity to apply for massive ongoing US gov contracts that have security fine print no direct outside firm can get around.

Re:First India, now China... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44120121)

I'm not sure it's at all surprising or strange that the US is now the source of outsourced labor. Have you seen the wages offered to college-educated twenty-somethings in this country? If you're not in the top 1%, you're in the bottom third, and that's the god's honest truth, awful as it is.

Re:First India, now China... (4, Funny)

Your.Master (1088569) | about a year ago | (#44120157)

If you're not in the top 1%, you're in the bottom third

You are hurting math.

Good move (1)

formfeed (703859) | about a year ago | (#44120051)

Robots are far less likely to jump of buildings if you treat them like crap.

(On the other hand, a robot revolt could get ugly.)

Good! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44120091)

If the number on man hours per year needed to produce the products I use decreases, then I should get to work less right? Less work for everyone, more free time and the same amount of Chinese electronics! A higher percent of the money then goes to research and development, where most of the people can be employed, but work less hours. I'm looking forward to working 10 hours a week!

More free time for everyone means more cool projects, more web comics, more opens source software, more political involvement, more educated people, and even time to really think! More time to make you own food, raise your own kids, and other things that add even more efficiency and thus further reductions in hours to work!

How I wish that were true. I'd gladly work 1/2 time for 1/3 pay as it is (I'd love to share my job with the unemployed, but I can't). If stuff gets more affordable, working 40 hours a week is going to be even more overkill. If it didn't suck so much to be unemployed in the US (say we provided at least what we give the prisoners: food, shelter, and healthcare), I'd be happy to take time off work without fear I'd get stuck jobless. Our economy is kinda messed up.

Re:Good! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44120285)

Sounds like communism to me. You goddamn terrist!

Re:Good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44120555)

As someone who is about to make that exact jump - 12 hours a week for around 1/3 the pay as before, I can say that I'm really looking forward to it. Will give me time to get back in shape, work on some of my own projects, and fix up my house a bit. Will also open up another job for someone else if they want it/can do it.

And full benefits at work. Pension accumulates at 1/2 speed, but not worried about that. Medical coverage will be there, on top of what we already get up here in Canada.

Can't wait.

Re:Good! (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#44120683)

What actually happens:
- The cost of living goes down by a third.
- People are thus able to support themselves on a third lower wages.
- Your employer either cuts your pay by a third, or fires you and hires someone willing to work for less in your place.

Stretching the Term (1)

some old guy (674482) | about a year ago | (#44120183)

I've never been in a Foxconn plant, but I wonder how many of these so-called robots are just dumb 2- or 3-axis pick-and-place gadgets. "Robot" sounds more impressive to journalists and investors, but among industrial automation professionals the term has specific meanings. Of course, to the layperson a self-basting turkey could be called "robotic" by colloquial usage.

Re:Stretching the Term (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44120599)

Coo, my Roburkey has been rumbled! TO THE PATENT OFFICE!

Time to Support Google (4, Interesting)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#44120211)

I am in shock and awe. Apple apologists have been arguing that Chinese workers(Foxconn) are cheaper than robots for forever, while Apple have smugly told the president that iphone manufacture will not return to America(They only argue to the Tax Man they are Irish...not the Irish tax Man obviously), because their workforce is does anything for biscuits. They have promised with must gusto to move the the less complicated parts of (one of its products) for PC manufacture(seriously) to the states to great fanfair...and failed to deliver.

Apples instance and investment in what accounts to slave labour (ironically now simply redundant) has cost the company its cutting edge products to long refresh cycles, and heavy dependences on its rivals technology, which actually manufacture products, and have thousands of patents on touch-screen technology and update there phones every three months. Its profits dropping now its devices are considered Mid-range at best...At least they proudly pay no profits on those ever shrinking profit margins. At least it to Collect a Billion for its few design patents...Sorry 400Million...Less.

I notice Google is getting Motorola to manufacture the cool named Xphone in the United States. I think its a good strategy. It would have been a better one for Apple...they chose to give the money back to shareholders instead...while avoiding paying tax again with ibonds.

Apples Apologists continued defence of Android is only winning because of cheap Chinese Phones ignoring its where the cheap (with high margin) iPhone is made, is coming true only they unlike the iPhone are "Great Value" Look at the Neo N003;iOcean;X7;UMi X2;JiaYu G4 http://www.gizchina.com/2013/03/05/poll-neo-n003-vs-iocean-x7-vs-umi-x2-vs-jiayu-g4/ [gizchina.com] all phones that destroy the iPhone a a fraction of cost, sporting (1.5ghz now)Quad cores and 2GB of Memory and 13 Mega-Pixel cameras and full-hd 1080P (and Multiple Simslots ;) They are incredibly tempting.

I think the bottom line is you can have buildings full of robots *anywhere*.

Re:Time to Support Google (1)

citizenr (871508) | about a year ago | (#44120541)

Yes Google. Remember how google announced that weird ball shaped TV thingamajiggy? They said it was "made in usa". Turned out to be assembled in USA from prefabricated Chinese modules (not parts, whole modules snapped together in US just to be able to slap made in usa sticker).

Re:Time to Support Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44120693)

Oh here's Tuppe666. Here for his daily Apple attacking. Your poorly put together shilling doesn't even make sense today.

You must be ignoring all of the Mac production moving to the states. Call me when Google/Motorola actually produce said product.

Re:Time to Support Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44120803)

tuppe! I was wondering when you'd get your pro-Google/anti-Apple schtick on in this thread. kudos for making slashdot feel like The Verge.

more spare time to humans than (1)

zugedneb (601299) | about a year ago | (#44120215)

so we can enjoy the short time we have to live... or am i missing something here?
AHHH yes, the establisheed values, they are threatened... the horro and the shame...

I think we will just have to learn to live with ourselves, and mother nature, ot die out. There is really no other option.

This will be very interesting (2)

Virtucon (127420) | about a year ago | (#44120219)

LOL, man Foxconn sounds like the US Auto Makers in the 1970s. It's because as others have pointed out. Bolted Down robotic workers don't complain and don't jump out of the nearest window. They depreciate, require routine maintenance but day after day they do what they're instructed within extremely precise tolerances. That means a better quality product for their customers without all of those "soft problems" that complicates business.

With China pushing people out of rural areas and into ever larger cities [nytimes.com] , it will be very interesting over the next few years to see how all of those people will earn a living. While the jobs at Foxconn are drudgery by any modern standard, they do allow people to earn money and contribute to the economy. Turning them ultimately into those nice wage slaves that all companies love that buy products and need services. Workers in China are already pushing for higher wages and better working conditions [bloomberg.com] , something that the beneficent Foxconn would be very reluctant to go along with given their recent labor relations gaffs and breakup with Apple. [yahoo.com] Unfortunately the stories about labor shortages in China seem a bit disingenuous and reminds me of how there's a presumed "tech shortage" [cringely.com] in this country. It seems even in China getting labor for the absolute cheapest price [bloomberg.com] may be pushing this 12 year urbanization plan. These are all problems for China which are magnitudes of order more complex when you're talking about the scale in terms of a population of over one billion. I don't think China can make enough of anything, electronics, knock-off watches, handbags et al to keep up with the population demanding a better quality of life, which means better wages, better working conditions and all those consumer goodies the rest of us take so much for granted.

As a father with three kids in college and another one one just about there already, I wonder where they're going to make their niche in this world economy where your education and your experience can all be cooped out to some fraud ridden outsourcing firm who brings in a person or outsources your position elsewhere. I've told all of my kids not to follow me into Software and Engineering fields because people employed in those fields are now considered a commodity and subject to too much educational push from an ever increasing wave of immigrants from diploma mills overseas. What people don't really realize is that we've shifted out way of thinking from "value and quality" to "good enough at a low price" because the products and services we use have varying degrees based on those expectations. Entire markets the world over have been shifting in that direction and it's eroding the economic and social landscape of countries everywhere with companies seeking the lowest cost labor they can find that has just enough technical competency to get what they need done.

Re:This will be very interesting (3, Insightful)

jmhobrien (2750125) | about a year ago | (#44120371)

College is increasingly becoming a waste of time and money. This is increasingly the case in our global economy, where everyone is racing each other to the bottom and everything you need to know, can be learned online as required. This is especially true for technical fields. If you can afford to go to college, the chances are you don't need the money as much as your future competition.

Re:This will be very interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44121009)

College is increasingly becoming a waste of time and money...

I tihnk that is a bit of an oversimplification. It is becoming a waste of time and money for a lot of cases where having just any old degree, MBA, PHD, what-have-you just so you can say you have a qualification, versus a qualifiation (and I would say generally in Science/Engineering where you cannot just really 'learn on the job') that is required for the job in hand. That can only be a good thing.

We will see the more 'frivilous' examples of University Courses that really have no specific aim being dropped and those that are left will really force those prospective students to have to know their stuff to get those places rather than it just be a ant trail through the system with the Universities having to have additional tests and qualfiications to justify that their degree is actually meaningful.

Re:This will be very interesting (4, Interesting)

xelah (176252) | about a year ago | (#44120379)

With China pushing people out of rural areas and into ever larger cities [nytimes.com], it will be very interesting over the next few years to see how all of those people will earn a living.

There's no shortage of things worth doing in the world, and especially not in a middle income country with a huge population still in poverty. It's a shorter-term problem, though - economies can't jump from one state to another, nor can people jump in to jobs needing different skills. And in a country like China, the state can always use those people to build a new high speed railway in the wrong place or a new ghost city nobody lives in. They could even do something shocking, like use them to make their food supply safe or clean their environment. A recession like that in the west is a pure economic problem - a problem in the control system, not the physical reality - and the Chinese government is a lot more able to meddle in it.

Re:This will be very interesting (3, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#44120833)

A recession like that in the west is a pure economic problem - a problem in the control system, not the physical reality - and the Chinese government is a lot more able to meddle in it.

I disagree. A recession is not a problem. It is a consequence of a problem, here, that whatever society is doing is simply out of whack with reality to the point that when the illusion falls apart and society attempts to return to a more reasonable approach, it results in considerable economic harm in the form of a recession. Such a problem can be as simple as a mistaken perception of what is valuable.

I suppose you can view the avoiding of recession as a control problem, though the usual means of control (such as altering the money supply) aren't particularly powerful unless one is capable of deeply interfering with peoples' choices. But even with that power, attempting to avoid recession is poor strategy.

The difficulty is that recessions are natural corrections of problems, not the actual problems themselves. And trying to prevent for decades on end, societies from fixing inherent problems just ends up with really large recessions in the end when your control systems are overwhelmed.

For example, a lot of people have noted that businesses have collectively grown very short-sighted in how they operate. This wasn't always the case. I believe it to be a direct result of the various attempts to evade recessions and such. When you remove a vast amount of future risk, you also remove the need to plan against that risk.

Re:This will be very interesting (1)

microTodd (240390) | about a year ago | (#44120881)

I've told all of my kids not to follow me into Software and Engineering fields because people employed in those fields are now considered a commodity and subject to too much educational push from an ever increasing wave of immigrants from diploma mills overseas

An honest question...where are you pushing them instead? Healthcare maybe? Finance? Or something like plumbing or electrical, something pragmatic and non-outsourceable but still able to make a decent living?

I have two kids, not college age yet, so I wrestle with this thought problem all the time.

Re:This will be very interesting (1)

foniksonik (573572) | about a year ago | (#44121021)

Teach the kids leadership and/or coordination skills. There will always be good jobs at the top. It's not important where you start as long as you rise quickly into a strategic role.

If they don't have an aptitude for those then go with research in any field. It's not long before technicians (doctors, engineers, programmers, etc) will be automated or trained cheaply / imported.

If you combine leadership, coordination and research you have all the skills to start your own company or elevate an existing one. The other necessary roles can be contracted.

Progress (1, Insightful)

jmhobrien (2750125) | about a year ago | (#44120355)

Despite what many may believe, this could be good for humans for many reasons. 1) It should free up human labour to work on things that humans can do better than robots. 2) It will force people to become smarter. Some may not like this, but it is survival of the fittest. 3) Ideally, prices will drop. In reality, profits increase.

Re:Progress (1)

Daemonik (171801) | about a year ago | (#44120723)

Usually the people who spout things like "but it is survival of the fittest" are the ones willing to step over the dead homeless unemployed people laying in the streets while they clutch their copies of Atlas Shrugged tightly to their chests and tell themselves if all those parasites would just quit being lazy and get a job they would be better off. And then they order another round of layoffs so their stocks go up another 2%.

who's going to (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44120491)

maintain the robots? I guess that will employ some people back?

Re:who's going to (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#44120701)

But not as many as the robots replace. That's the idea. Fewer workers means lower labor costs.

Productivity is a good thing, jobs are not... (2)

KonoWatakushi (910213) | about a year ago | (#44120507)

The ultimate goal of our endeavors should be to produce wealth for human beings, not mindless jobs, nor backbreaking labor. If tedious and burdensome tasks like agriculture, manufacturing, and mining can be done by machines, all the better. That should free up people to do other things, including not slaving away for 40-60 hours a week. Increases in productivity are always a good thing--the problem is in the distribution of wealth, or rather the utter lack thereof nowadays. As jobs inevitably evaporate, we need to find new and better ways of doing this.

One particular area of productivity deserves special mention. Virtually all of wealth is derived from energy, yet energy has no intrinsic value. It is purely an input, so energy generation should be done as cheaply and efficiently as possible, as it compounds the cost of everything else. It is asinine to make it into a jobs program, yet that is exactly what Obama has done with his recent proposal.

Re:Productivity is a good thing, jobs are not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44121199)

I can't wait until they outsource jobs to automation in this country for things like fast food workers. Then my order would never be messed up! (As long as the voice recognition gets it correctly. But I've always wondered why its voice anyway. Why not just a mobile phone selection that's delivered to the restaurant?)

Re:Productivity is a good thing, jobs are not... (1)

moeinvt (851793) | about a year ago | (#44121475)

You might be interested in a book called "Progress and Poverty".

The fact that we've had such gains in productivity, especially from the Industrial Revolution to the present, but have also had a perpetual underclass of poor and homeless is rather perplexing.

The book is a theory attempting to explain the conundrum and some suggested public policy measures to address it. In brief, the author suggests that resource monopoly is the fundamental cause of unequal wealth distribution and therefore resources should be the focus of tax policy.

Hope you're proud of yourselves... (1, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | about a year ago | (#44120551)

Even though the Foxconn suicide rate was about the same as the rest of the country, the media and various agitators saw fit to demonize Foxconn as though it were in the same vein of blood-for-profit as the African diamond trade. Now lo and behold, Foxconn has said "fuck this, robots are cheaper" and a million Chinese are going to lose their jobs because of your histrionics over a few deaths by mentally unstable people.

And yeah, Foxconn's jobs may suck by American standards. However they were pure gold if you came from rural China where you probably had the same hours, even more back-breaking work and probably a worse place to sleep at night than a Foxconn dormitory.

Re:Hope you're proud of yourselves... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44120815)

Even though the Foxconn suicide rate was about the same as the rest of the country, the media and various agitators saw fit to demonize Foxconn as though it were in the same vein of blood-for-profit as the African diamond trade. Now lo and behold, Foxconn has said "fuck this, robots are cheaper" and a million Chinese are going to lose their jobs because of your histrionics over a few deaths by mentally unstable people.

And yeah, Foxconn's jobs may suck by American standards. However they were pure gold if you came from rural China where you probably had the same hours, even more back-breaking work and probably a worse place to sleep at night than a Foxconn dormitory.

Do you really think that the decision to invest in cheaper automated manufacturing technologies was because of the bad press they caught about working conditions in their factories?

Guess what, they did it because it's cheaper and they are interested in the bottom line. The "histronics" in the west has had little to no effect on their sales or practices. And no, those jobs are not "pure gold" to anyone, nobody WANTS those jobs they take them because they need them or as a transition as evidenced by their extremely high turnover rate and occasional riot/strike at their factories; try talking to someone who's worked there. If anything it's the actions taken by the workers themselves that has led to the bosses coughing up higher wages and looking to find ways to reduce those costs in a way that won't cause hundreds of workers to take managers hostage or burn down a factory.

Re:Hope you're proud of yourselves... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#44120839)

Even though the Foxconn suicide rate was about the same as the rest of the country,

And you're basing this on what? Figures from the Chinese government?

What Will They Do (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about a year ago | (#44121283)

When the robots start committing suicide?

beach time (1)

beefoot (2250164) | about a year ago | (#44121303)

Cool. These unemployed workers could spend their days at the beach enjoying life. We know that our civilization is in decline when this sort of things are happening.

This is a good and humane development (1)

elucido (870205) | about a year ago | (#44121473)

Robots should replace the human workforce until a day where there is no work left for human beings to do.
At that point human beings can play for a living.

Look out below (1)

operagost (62405) | about a year ago | (#44121511)

They had better close up all the windows in the building. It will be really hazardous with all the shiny metal ROBOTS committing suicide now.
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