Foxconn to substitute workers with 1 million robots in 3 years

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn has announced plans to substitute a percentage of its workers with a million robots in the next three years.



Terry Gou, founder and chairman of Foxconn, revealed during a workers' dance party last Friday that the reason for the transition was to cut ascending labor costs while improving overall efficiency. The robots will take over the basic work of spraying, welding and assembling that is usually performed by workers.



Additionally, Gou noted that at the present time the company utilizes 10,000 robots, a number that will rise to 300,000 next year and to one million in three years. Foxconn, who currently employs 1.2 million people, is the largest manufacturer of computer components in the world, assembling products for numerous tech giants, including Apple and Sony.



The manufacturer has faced difficulties with its public image after a spate of worker suicides drew the attention of international media last year. The company's response to the situation, which has included raising wages and boosting entertainment time, has also had an affect on its bottom line.



In March, one analyst expressed concerns over decelerating growth for Foxconn and its Taiwanese parent company Hon Hai. However, an attempt to link the slowdown to Apple was called into question by other analysts.







Apple contributed 20 percent of Foxconn's $93.4 billion in sales last year.



According to a recent report, Foxconn was able to "protect its orders" for the next-generation iPad and fend off a challenge from rival manufacturer Pegatron, which has begun producing some iPhones for Apple and is working to expand into iPads and Macs as well.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 67
    ezduzitezduzit Posts: 158member
    can't american robots work as cheap as chinese robots? they can become bilingual.
  • Reply 2 of 67
    sheffsheff Posts: 1,407member
    I guess robots are now cheaper than chinese labor. But perhaps some jobs are best left for robots.
  • Reply 3 of 67
    I wonder if this is in response to stories about mistreated workers. Now, we'll get a wave of stories about poor out of work Foxconn employees.
  • Reply 4 of 67
    blursdblursd Posts: 123member
    A million robots ... hope they give each one no more than a six foot electrical cord so they can't take over the world.
  • Reply 5 of 67
    does the future have any jobs for humans?
  • Reply 6 of 67
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by punkrocker27ka View Post


    does the future have any jobs for humans?



    Robot slave drivers
  • Reply 7 of 67
    cloudgazercloudgazer Posts: 2,161member
    Cue the inevitable stories of Apple exploiting underage robotic labour, plus the papers will report each robot that breaks down as a suicide.
  • Reply 8 of 67
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,215member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post


    Cue the inevitable stories of Apple exploiting underage robotic labour, plus the papers will report each robot that breaks down as a suicide.



    There is a Pixar movie here I'm sure.
  • Reply 9 of 67
    mj1970mj1970 Posts: 9,002member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by punkrocker27ka View Post


    does the future have any jobs for humans?



    You should take a trip in a time machine back to 1800 and ask the same question. Then zoom back to the present and answer your own question.
  • Reply 10 of 67
    mhiklmhikl Posts: 471member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ezduzit View Post


    can't american robots work as cheap as chinese robots? they can become bilingual.



    Good points, ezduzit. Heard on The Real News* US govt reps were scouting Spain? France for light transit. What gives?



    Apple could possibly shift the cultural attitude in America if it made such a bold move. Robots aren't so bad as they are exacting and could handle smaller parts with precision. It would still involve bleeders (human workers). Come on Steve. Think different.



    * http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?...74&jumival=708
  • Reply 11 of 67
    They call them Cybernetic Life Organizing Nodes.



    Cylons!
  • Reply 12 of 67
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by punkrocker27ka View Post


    does the future have any jobs for humans?



    Yes?
  • Reply 13 of 67
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    Quote:

    ...revealed during a workers' dance party last Friday



    I can't help but picture this announcement being made by the Chinese Mr. Burns:



    "I hope you've enjoyed your "dancing party." Now get out. Release the robotic hounds."
  • Reply 14 of 67
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ezduzit View Post


    can't american robots work as cheap as chinese robots? they can become bilingual.



    Skynet will be born in China. Never saw that coming, did ya!
  • Reply 15 of 67
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,598member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by punkrocker27ka View Post


    does the future have any jobs for humans?



    The same question would have been asked many, many times during the Industrial Revolution.
  • Reply 16 of 67
    bigpicsbigpics Posts: 1,371member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by punkrocker27ka View Post


    does the future have any jobs for humans?



    that is the 64 quid question...........



    ...that and voting and other civil rights for all emerging sentients -



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post


    You should take a trip in a time machine back to 1800 and ask the same question. Then zoom back to the present and answer your own question.



    ....sorry, much greater paradigm shifts this time. unless, that is, humans augment themselves at a equal or greater rate to the advance of purely digital/mechanical technology....



    ....we're talking the possibility of an evolutionary displacement at a previously unacheivable rate here..... ...which will in turn displace itself with a higher sentience level at a rate approximating Moore's law, i.e., say, doubling every two years.....



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post


    Skynet will be born in China. Never saw that coming, did ya!



    ...."Skynet's" being born everywhere at once to the extent that particular dystopia's emerging. So's the "Borg." And Cylons. And I, Robots.......



    To quote a song (about something else I think):



    "We'll make great pets/

    we'll make great pets."
  • Reply 17 of 67
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,598member
    This is not surprising, right?



    Apple has introduced manufacturing processes and techniques (well advertised by Apple) that lend themselves to automation. Then, Apple introduces increasing levels of automation. Finally, Apple builds a totally automated factory in... well, you name the location, having perfected the technology but remains competitive.



    In the 1950's and 1960's, Japan began its trajectory to a dominant position in manufacturing due to a cheaper, skilled workforce. As the Japanese standard of living improved (rapidly), their workforce became too expensive and manufacturing shifted to Taiwan. Now it is mainland China's turn. However, as relations between the U.S. and China remain strained, Apple is prudently investing in measures that would ensure its continued competitiveness regardless of where its factories are located.



    Of course, access to components containing rare earth minerals might be another matter...
  • Reply 18 of 67
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,293member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bigpics View Post


    ...sorry, much greater paradigm shifts this time. unless, that is, humans augment themselves at a equal or greater rate to the advance of purely digital/mechanical technology....



    ....we're talking the possibility of an evolutionary displacement at a previously unacheivable rate here..... ...which will in turn displace itself with a higher sentience level at a rate approximating Moore's law, i.e., say, doubling every two years.....



    Um, no. All the Chinese are doing is what Western firms did prior to the displacement of jobs to China, using primitive robots to do menial tasks to compensate for increases in labour prices and power. Not really robots either. Machines. Calling them robots is like calling a washing machine a robot. In no way is the increase in "robotic" law following moore's law.



    Quote:

    ...."Skynet's" being born everywhere at once to the extent that particular dystopia's emerging. So's the "Borg." And Cylons. And I, Robots.......

    "



    Fraid not. AI is probably not going to happen.
  • Reply 19 of 67
    eehdeehd Posts: 137member
    There you go, Americans. You don't have to be mad about the Chinese stealing your manufacturing jobs. Robots will be taking their jobs...oh sweet revenge. )
  • Reply 20 of 67
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,293member
    If robots are doing all the work, why not move back to the US?
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