Skip to main content

Expanding rapidly: Human labor force eliminated by robots

260516 Monitoring AI and hyper-automation

Apple and Samsung supplier Foxconn has reportedly replaced 60,000 factory workers with robots. From BBC :

One factory has "reduced employee strength from 110,000 to 50,000 thanks to the introduction of robots", a government official told the South China Morning Post. Xu Yulian, head of publicity for the Kunshan region, added: "More companies are likely to follow suit."

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.

[...]

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.

[...]

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.

Former McDonald's chief executive Ed Rensi recently told the US's Fox Business programme a minimum-wage increase to $15 an hour would make companies consider robot workers. "It's cheaper to buy a $35,000 robotic arm than it is to hire an employee who is inefficient, making $15 an hour bagging French fries," he said.

Adidas unveils new factory in Germany that will use machines to make shoes instead of humans in Asia. From Guardian :

Adidas, the German maker of sportswear and equipment, has announced it will start marketing its first series of shoes manufactured by robots in Germany from 2017.

More than 20 years after Adidas ceased production activities in Germany and moved them to Asia, chief executive Herbert Hainer unveiled to the press the group’s new prototype “Speedfactory” in Ansbach, southern Germany. The 4,600-square-metre plant is still being built but Adidas opened it to the press, pledging to automate shoe production – which is currently done mostly by hand in Asia – and enable the shoes to be made more quickly and closer to its sales outlets.

[...]

Large-scale production will begin in 2017 and Adidas was planning a second “Speed Factory” in the United States in the same year, said Hainer.

[...]

In the longer term Adidas is planning to build robot-operated factories in Britain or in France, and could even produce the shirts of Germany’s national football team in its home country, said Hainer. The shoes made in Germany would sell at a similar price to those produced in Asia, he said.

Adidas is facing rising production costs in Asia where it employs around one million workers. Arch-rival Nike is also developing its robot-operated factory.

Totally confirmed what has been already reported two years ago:

Yanis Varoufakis in his article "What if the capital of future doesn't need us?", describes what he saw in Austin-Texas and what that means:

While I was watching from my window in Austin-Texas, I saw a big cloud of dust deep in horizon. Two days ago, I was walking in that area and I was surprised by the view of the big factory where bulldozers and machines were continuously working, producing the dust. From the front side of the building under construction it was obvious that (fortunately) they were not building a new trade center or apartment blocks. No, it was a big industrial center.”

Although I didn't notice it the first time, after a few seconds I realised that something was missing from this factory: people! Specifically, I counted three. All of them were wearing helmets and protection suits and were located in a small office in a space outside with a few computers, while they were covered by a tent like those used by the army. Ten bulldozers, three cranes and more or less ten moving tools, at least from what I could see, were moving without drivers, operators, workers generally.”

When I returned to my office, I went straight to find a colleague who knows well what's going on. He informed me that the workplace I saw, was the new factory of Apple to produce MacBook Pro. It was true that, it was constructed through almost complete automatization. The materials had been selected through a way with which, the automatic machines - therefore robots connected to eachother through a local wireless network (intranet) - to be able to construct without human interference - even the hydraulic structure of the building will be constructed by plumpers-robots. A factory that under normal conditions should employ thousands of workers is functioning with the presence of less than one hundred souls.”

I asked him about the move of Apple to produce computers in America, by bringing back in the US the production from China for the first time after decades. 'How's that?' And the answer was the expected one, although quite impressive: 'Wages are of no importance. The export of productive processes from America to China (off-shoring) was only an intermediate stage. The production has returned to America, but not the jobs. The new factory of Apple, not only is constructed without American workers' sweat, but will also produce MacBook Pro through complete automatization, without hiring Texans. Welcome to the New, Brave World', ended with a smile, referring obviously to the Brave New World of Aldous Huxley.”

Coming faster than we thought:

The general conclusions from the report The Future of Jobs, of the 2016 World Economic Forum, leave little room for optimistic thoughts about the future. They reflect what already most of us have realized: that the combination of the current socio-economic model with the rapid hyper-automation of production, lead to further imbalance and inequality in favor of the very few. [...] The study estimates that there will be no “widespread societal upheaval—at least up until the year 2020”, due to the takeover of jobs by artificial intelligence, but is this realy a reason not to worry seriously? Think about it: 2020 is only four years from now! Say, at the end of the new US presidency.

On the occasion of a latest report by Oxfam:

... the loss of jobs in other sectors due to hyper-automation creates oversupply of available workforce. The machines are pushing towards a fierce competition between the workers who seek desperately for a job in sectors that are still occupied by human labor. But this is only an intermediate stage as robots will soon occupy these positions too. [...] The description in Oxfam's report is characteristic. Humans are denied even basic needs and pushed towards robotic behavior. The phrase “Workers are reduced to pieces of the machine, little more than the body parts that hang, cut, trim, and load ...”, shows characteristically that workers in the US do not have to compete with other cheap labor abroad anymore, but with a workforce which appears to be unbeatable: hyper-automated machines.

Previously:


Related:



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Hyper-educated poor: one of the last 'achievements' of collapsing capitalism

globinfo freexchange
Truthdig's Robert Scheer spoke with Alissa Quart about the "hyper-educated poor" phenomenon on the context of her new book.
An interesting part of the story is the bizarre psychology of 'self-blaming', identified in most of these highly educated people who are increasingly struggling to find a job proportional to their skills and knowledge.
Quart explains:
You have $1.5 trillion student debt. You have, an income inequality thrumming under all this. Since 1997 the top one percent, its income has grown 20 times faster than the other 90 percent. It’s so high now, and the gap is so great. And you have this whole world of counselors and coaches and certificate programs that, I think of them as like vultures on the carcass of the middle class. Also, when you’re talking about race, the whites’ median wealth is 68 times the median wealth of African Americans.
So, in the middle class, it starts to mirror that too; I talked to an African American woman who …

Highly suspicious latest poll shows corporate Democrats will promote Joe Biden against Bernie Sanders

globinfo freexchange
Just when we were writing this story, David Doel of the Rational National already uploaded a relevant video, which shows how obvious are the tricks of the establishment and how fast can be uncovered in our days.

The video is about a recent poll which highlights the Democrats that could beat Trump:

Spot on.
To expand a little further Doel's insightful analysis, we simply compared how the poll was presented by two different types of media. The independent leftist Common Dreams took the results from Politico, presented them under the title By Double-Digit Margin, Poll Shows Sanders Mopping the Floor With Trump in Latest 2020 Matchup, and put the picture of Bernie Sanders at the top.
Politico itself (part of the liberal establishment media), didn't put any winner in the title. However, as you can see, there is a picture of Joe Biden at the top with the phrase "Former Vice President Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump in a hypothetical 2020 match-up, 43 perc…

How normal human behavior became a false mental disorder epidemic

globinfo freexchange
In the early nineties, an epidemic of mental disorder was sweeping America and Britain. It had been uncovered by a new system for identifying disorders. Psychiatry had been attacked for relying on the personal and fallible judgement of psychiatrists.
But instead, a new objective method based on checklists had been invented. These listed only the objective symptoms, and deliberately did not enquire into why the individuals felt an anxiety. In the late 80s, nationwide surveys had revealed an incredible picture: more than 50% of Americans suffered from mental disorders.
But at the very same, the drug companies had announced that they had created a new type of drug, called an SSRI, which they claimed, targeted the circuits inside the brain that were causing these malfunctions. The SSRIs were marketed under names like "Prozac". What they did was alter the amounts of serotonin that flowed across the circuit connections within the brain, and they readjusted the …

Western nations were never set up as democracies - and it's going to get even worse

globinfo freexchange
As Yanis Varoufakis said in this recent interview:
Europe and the United States were never set up as democracies. Read the Federalist Papers. It was all an attempt to make sure that the riffraff do not control governments. We hark back to the Magna Carta. The Magna Carta was not a democratic instrument, it was a charter of barons. It was all about their right to have slaves and not to be taxed by the king.
Aristotle defined, I think, democracy very well even though he was anti-democratic. He said it's a system of governance where the many — and therefore the poor, who are always in the majority — control government.
It is impossible for our sophisticated societies to become sustainable without democracy. Democracy is not a luxury.
If you go to Europe today, what unites them [people] is a sense of hopelessness. A sense that their democracies have been usurped, that their democratic rights mean absolutely nothing, that there is a decision making process, which combi…

WikiLeaks paper reveals US officials intervened to cancel New Zealand's Labour Party fundraising event for Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11

The WIKILEAKS Public Library of US Diplomacy (PlusD)holds the world's largest searchable collection of United States confidential, or formerly confidential, diplomatic communications. As of April 8, 2013 it holds 2 million records comprising approximately 1 billion words. The collection covers US involvements in, and diplomatic or intelligence reporting on, every country on earth. It is the single most significant body of geopolitical material ever published. The PlusD collection, built and curated by WikiLeaks, is updated from a variety of sources, including leaks, documents released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and documents released by the US State Department systematic declassification review.
globinfo freexchange
A cable from July 30, 2004, reveals that the US officials put high pressure on the then Government of New Zealand to cancel a fundraising event for Michael Moore's documentary Fahrenheit 9/11*, under the umbrella of the Labour Party. Although the ev…

WikiLeaks paper reveals key player in the first Argentinian collapse expressed to US officials his desire to overthrow Kirchner and bring back the IMF

The WIKILEAKS Public Library of US Diplomacy (PlusD)holds the world's largest searchable collection of United States confidential, or formerly confidential, diplomatic communications. As of April 8, 2013 it holds 2 million records comprising approximately 1 billion words. The collection covers US involvements in, and diplomatic or intelligence reporting on, every country on earth. It is the single most significant body of geopolitical material ever published. The PlusD collection, built and curated by WikiLeaks, is updated from a variety of sources, including leaks, documents released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and documents released by the US State Department systematic declassification review.
globinfo freexchange
A cable from February 2009, reveals that Domingo Cavallo*, a key player in the 2001 Argentinian collapse, was expressing to the US side his desire to see the IMF return to Argentina. He was also expressing his desire to see the Kirchner administration &…

Tulsi Gabbard: the very same terrorists responsible for 9/11 attacks are the US ground force in Syria

globinfo freexchange
Nearly two years ago, Tulsi Gabbard introduced a bill to stop the US from arming terrorists in Syria. Two years later, the US proxies are losing the war, yet the Empire refuses to accept the defeat. Gabbard spoke with Jimmy Dore and gave, one more time, the real picture. Not only the terrorists in Syria are essentially the US ground force, but also, the Saudis are paying vast amounts of money to the US to promote their agenda in the Middle East.
Key points:
Not only are [Saudis] paying for these wars and using our sons and daughters lives to carry out their bidding, but they're also paying a lot of these think tanks in Washington. A ton of money to issue opinions, and ideas, and plans, and proposals that jive with their agenda.
Specifically in Syria, now, since 2011, both overtly and covertly, the United States has been providing arms, intelligence and equipment to fighters who are allied with, fighting alongside, working with Al-Qaeda in this regime change war.
S…

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez - neoliberal establishment 0-3 ... so far

globinfo freexchange
More than a month ago, we identified an immediate mobilization of the establishment machine to push progressives into the establishment lines after the 'shocking' victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Under the fierce pressure of the corporate media, Cortez was essentially forced to declare loyalty to Nancy Pelosi. That was a first, significant victory of the establishment against Cortez and the progressive movement.
After that, we saw an unexplained and bizarre contribution of both Bernie Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez to the establishment pro-McCain 'litanies'. In this totally unnecessary self-recruitment for the McCain's legacy whitewash operation, Cortez retreated unconditionally and the establishment marked a second victory against her.
Now, the establishment 'scored' one more time, as Cortez was forced to endorse establishment's agent, Andrew Cuomo.


We mentioned already that corporate media will focus mainly on pushing progressives to b…

Here is why Brexit happened ... and why this is only a start

failed evolution
The European Parliament voted on Wednesday to sanction Hungary for neglecting norms on democracy, civil rights and corruption in a first bid to launch the punitive process of the EU treaty’s Article 7.
Poland said it will oppose any sanctions imposed by the EU on fellow member Hungary, accused of floating EU rules on democracy. “Every country has its sovereign right to make internal reforms it deems appropriate,” Poland’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement late on Wednesday. “Actions aimed against member states serve only deepening divides in the EU, increasing citizens’ current lack of confidence to European institutions.

We are talking about the Union that faithfully followed the US empire in supporting the neo-nazis in Ukraine.
This is the Union that contributed to Gaddafi's ugly ending and the subsequent chaos in Libya.
This is the Union that remains completely silent in front of the Yemen humanitarian disaster, caused by the US-Saudi evil alliance.
This is t…

The 'metamorphosis' of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez already started ...

Progressives choose an increasingly defensive stance against the establishment pressure
globinfo freexchange
Last month, right after Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez' unprecedented victory, we immediately identified typical operations by the establishment machine to make Bernie's progressives comply with the US political status quo.
It seems that the progressives are choosing an increasingly defensive stance against the establishment pressure, obviously because they fear that the smearing campaigns against them will be multiplied towards 2020 presidential election.
Their further 'slippery' towards the establishment lines was really deafening, if we look at two tweets by Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders, concerning John McCain:

John McCain’s legacy represents an unparalleled example of human decency and American service.

As an intern, I learned a lot about the power of humanity in government through his deep friendship with Sen. Kennedy.

He meant so much, to so many. My prayers are wi…