iPhone/iPad Manufacturer Foxconn Replacing Workers with a Million Robots, Beginning of the End for Human Employment?
This story is more breaking, significant news than it may seem at first glance: Foxconn, which manufactures products for a wide array of electronics companies including Apple’s iOS devices, is going to replace workers with a million robots. The company is already using 10,000 with plans for 300,000 next year then a game-changing one million by 2014.
Why replace robots with humans? Simply, they are superior to humans in any jobs that do not require emotion, empathy, or creativity. Robots have an unmatched precision with benefits such as a lowered amount of defective devices due to the lack of human error as well as how there is no need for them to be programmed to focus on anything but work, they can be significantly cheaper, and many of the jobs that they are fit for arguably do not really seem natural for humans to be doing anyway. Foxconn is assumedly making the move now as a result of raising salary requirements that may make it unfeasible for them to operate at the dirt-cheap prices that clients like Apple insist on.
The underlying significance of the story is that anybody with business sense should realize that this is just the beginning of robots taking the place of humans in the workplace; some, including myself, have already foreseen this for years. It will be quite interesting to see how long it takes businesses to make such a transition, particularly in service industries. The pros of using finely-tuned robots for a majority of jobs in place now can greatly outweigh the cons for businesses.
It seems that this will eventually become such a serious issue that the government will have to step in to regulate the usage of robotic devices. They will have a responsibility to due so as an effect of unemployment going way up once the robotics industry advances just a little more. A job will require special connections or talents to get into the few markets that robots could not pursue and excel at.
Mark my words: the generation of the 22th century will be going places like McDonalds to have orders taken, cooked, and served by robots. (Not to sound too I, Robot, more specifically computerized devices.) Of course the restaurant would also be cleaned by, you guessed it, robots, and may not even have a manager on-premises but rather a couple of people remotely keeping an eye on every location in the area. Who knows, maybe the “robots” that take food orders will be created by Apple in a form similar to the iPad if they see how a transition is imminent, though not in the immediate future.
Robots will not begin taking human jobs overnight. The process would be very slow, relying on the domino effect, and Foxconn could very possibly have knocked over one of the first dominos. It is far-fetched to believe that companies will transition over in one fell swoop, but rather in minuscule steps beginning with the simplest jobs. In fact, a fairly significant amount of jobs have already been eliminated by automated, computer-based systems.
I believe it is undeniable that we will see tremendous growth in our future with the technological advancements that have only just begun, especially considering how much we have accomplished in just the last 50 years. Here’s to wherever the future takes us.