Good News! We still outperform Robots!
Three years ago, Foxconn director Gou promised to have deployed a million of Foxbots to replace the humans making iPhones, three years from that day. This has not happened.
Several tens of thousands of these 20,000 dollar Foxbots have been installed and are working in assembly lines making your Apple products. This sure is a lot, but since the first generation robots was disappointing, the idea of replacing the human workers has not worked out as well as Gou had hoped. This is not the end though, probably many of the workers had already gotten excited about losing their job will just have to hold their horses. As well as the Chinese families dependent on the assembly of consumer electronics, even Dutch politics has recently taken upon the subject of dangerous robotization. The accuracy of recognizing and analyzing video feed has doubled in the last year and for example Google’s recently acquired robots (Industrial Perception) can stack boxes more quickly than I could ever do.
Still, us humans outperform our mechanical counterparts when it comes to accuracy and especially problem-solving thinking. This does not mean that we can not use these machines to help ourselves out a bit, a great example would be Lockheed Martin’s exoskeletons, creating Ironman-like super-strength for shipyard builders. Funny note; did anyone ever notice their company logo and Stark Industries’? Coincidence?
Will robots replace human workers faster than we can find new jobs to do? Probably. When they do, our politicians will have a hard time answering to the unemployed billions, and frankly, I would not be able to provide you the answer either way. Even though the human race has been quite resilient the past 500,000 years, countless more civilizations have suffered extinction than the ones that survived. Let’s just hope those robots will make the iPhone 7 prices drop.