So Americans without a solid skill set want a minimum wage of $15 an hour so they can live off a McDonald’s or Wendy’s job and not try to pursue a better job that will take care of them and their family? Now in electronics factories in Kunshan, China, the replacement of humans by robots is well underway. “The Foxconn factory has reduced its employee strength from 110,000 to 50,000, thanks to the introduction of robots. It has tasted success in reduction of labour costs.” A government survey says as many as 600 other companies have plans to do the same.
To change over from human workers to robots, where possible, Foxconn and other Taiwanese companies in Kunshan spent 4 billion yuan ($610 million) in artificial intelligence in 2015. Imagine not if, but when this comes to the United States. I am 100 percent positive it’s going to find its way over here because when businesses find out how much much they will save with artificial intelligence robots doing the work more efficiently and effectively, it’s over.
And what will the American public say? NOTHING.
China is investing heavily in a robot workforce.
In a statement to the BBC, Foxconn Technology Group confirmed that it was automating “many of the manufacturing tasks associated with our operations” but denied that it meant long-term job losses.
“We are applying robotics engineering and other innovative manufacturing technologies to replace repetitive tasks previously done by employees, and through training, also enable our employees to focus on higher value-added elements in the manufacturing process, such as research and development, process control and quality control.
“We will continue to harness automation and manpower in our manufacturing operations, and we expect to maintain our significant workforce in China.”
Since September 2014, 505 factories across Dongguan, in the Guangdong province, have invested 4.2bn yuan (£430m) in robots, aiming to replace thousands of workers.
Kunshan, Jiangsu province, is a manufacturing hub for the electronics industry.
Economists have issued dire warnings about how automation will affect the job market, with one report, from consultants Deloitte in partnership with Oxford University, suggesting that 35% of jobs were at risk over the next 20 years.
I have a question. Who will be left to buy the products being made when a sizeable portion of the workforce has been replaced by robotics and automation? I understand wanting to cut costs. What I do not understand is the throat cutting of the consumer base.
For years, it has seemed to many that what was holding back AI and thus robotics was some mysterious development. Some discovery or simply an algorithm that would pave the way for further advances. Apparently, that “thing” is here and like many breakthroughs, it is simple in concept. “Deep learning,” as it is being called in the press, is that thing. All the big players in AI have seized upon it. The development of efficient learning algorithms appears to be a cornerstone in AI advancement. The last year or two has seen big jumps in AI capability. It is exciting but at the same time a little disconcerting.
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