Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Foxconn Robots Could Replace Up To 1 Million Workers

By - Source: Singularity Hb | B 68 comments

Don't say you are surprised.

Even at the ridiculously low pay rates at Foxconn, it was just a matter of time when the commodity of human labor would be too complicated to exploit. Foxconn reportedly has started deploying 10,000 robots which replace somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 workers. Within 3 years, Foxconn wants to install about 1 million robots - called Foxbots - and replace up to 1 million workers.

These robots do not immediately make financial sense as they apparently cost somewhere between $20,000 and $25,000 each and represent about three times the annual salary of an average worker at Foxconn - and this cost does not include running costs such as maintenance and power supply. But then we remember that salaries are likely to go up over time and Foxconn has had experience with complaints about labor conditions. These robots may be initially expensive, but they certainly will not ask for pay increases and not complain about the environment they work in and the number of hours they are online.

For Foxconn, this seems to be a natural move and automation is clearly an inevitable evolutionary development in the production iPhones and iPads. Singularity Hub says that Foxconn employs about 1.2 million people. It is rather unlikely that 80 percent of those will be moved within Foxconn to new jobs and robots certainly could mean massive layoffs, especially if Foxconn installs these Foxbots as quickly as it ramped the production of Apple gadgets.

 

Contact Us for News Tips, Corrections and Feedback

Display 68 Comments.
This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 32 Hide
    WithoutWeakness , November 14, 2012 3:31 PM
    They can't jump off the roofs if they're bolted to the floor.
  • 26 Hide
    jaber2 , November 14, 2012 3:22 PM
    Yay for robots, they can take the abuse.
  • 24 Hide
    tolham , November 14, 2012 3:29 PM
    not to ignore the need for jobs, but this kind of work really should be be done by robots. humans aren't meant to perform repetitive, monotonous tasks for hours on end every day. and the robots will need humans to maintain them.
Other Comments
  • 26 Hide
    jaber2 , November 14, 2012 3:22 PM
    Yay for robots, they can take the abuse.
  • 16 Hide
    acadia11 , November 14, 2012 3:26 PM
    Welcome to the first world China.
  • 9 Hide
    icemunk , November 14, 2012 3:27 PM
    The machines are taking over.
  • 7 Hide
    Kami3k , November 14, 2012 3:27 PM
    Wasn't this reported on far earlier in the year?
  • 24 Hide
    tolham , November 14, 2012 3:29 PM
    not to ignore the need for jobs, but this kind of work really should be be done by robots. humans aren't meant to perform repetitive, monotonous tasks for hours on end every day. and the robots will need humans to maintain them.
  • 32 Hide
    WithoutWeakness , November 14, 2012 3:31 PM
    They can't jump off the roofs if they're bolted to the floor.
  • 11 Hide
    Prey , November 14, 2012 3:35 PM
    WithoutWeaknessThey can't jump off the roofs of they're bolted to the floor.

    They'll just inexplicably stop working...
  • 5 Hide
    greghome , November 14, 2012 3:37 PM
    Quote:
    they certainly will not ask for pay increases and not complain about the environment they work in and the number of hours they are online.

    Yeap......all the reasons people have been jumping off the buildings for.....
  • 15 Hide
    guess who , November 14, 2012 3:53 PM
    "These robots do not immediately make financial sense as they apparently cost somewhere between $20,000 and $25,000 each and represent about three times the annual salary of an average worker at Foxconn - and this cost does not include running costs such as maintenance and power supply."

    Pretty weak financial analysis. 4 or 5 years to get your capital back is pretty good. A more sophisticated analysis would use net present value, which Foxconn probably did.

    My guess is that the investment does indeed make immediate financial sense.
  • 12 Hide
    DRosencraft , November 14, 2012 3:53 PM
    tolhamnot to ignore the need for jobs, but this kind of work really should be be done by robots. humans aren't meant to perform repetitive, monotonous tasks for hours on end every day. and the robots will need humans to maintain them.


    I tend to disagree. You'll never have as many people to maintain these robots as they are replacing. And if you replace people with robots at all the repetitive, monotonous tasks, you pretty much eliminate all labor from the market. Yeah, robots can work longer, steadily, and create more output than a human, but at some point you'll eliminate so much of the need for labor that you won't have enough people earning a living to buy anything. One of the problems the US is facing now is the fact that with being forced to operate with fewer workers over the past few years, employers have realized they can actually operate with fewer workers. Despite what some people seem to think, companies aren't just gonna hire more people if they have more money. They now know they can get more with less, so they'll stick with that for as long as they can. Not calling the end of society and the age of robots, but just saying it's something to think about.
  • 1 Hide
    frank_drebin , November 14, 2012 3:54 PM
    Hells yeah
  • 5 Hide
    HenrikG , November 14, 2012 3:54 PM
    It's stories like this that make me feel bad... since I'm an Automation Engineer. Granted, the automation that I do doesn't necessarily remove humans from the equation... I'd like to do some industrial robotics for the fun of it...
  • 9 Hide
    memadmax , November 14, 2012 3:55 PM
    This is a no brainer, robots are faster and more precise than humans...

    And they don't jump out of windows either ^.^
  • 19 Hide
    house70 , November 14, 2012 3:55 PM
    "My name is Bender. I bend ipads. If you don't like it, kiss my shiny metal a$$!"
  • 10 Hide
    COLGeek , November 14, 2012 4:00 PM
    Just a different kind of "robot", right? The new one is plugged in. The ones in use now are bio/self powered.
  • -4 Hide
    gzhang , November 14, 2012 4:04 PM
    Robots frees us to do more interesting things, no one cries that farming works are taking over by machines. Now those works can maintain the machines, prefect and design better machines to server us. And gets paid more.
  • -2 Hide
    jisamaniac , November 14, 2012 4:06 PM
    DRosencraftI tend to disagree. You'll never have as many people to maintain these robots as they are replacing. And if you replace people with robots at all the repetitive, monotonous tasks, you pretty much eliminate all labor from the market. Yeah, robots can work longer, steadily, and create more output than a human, but at some point you'll eliminate so much of the need for labor that you won't have enough people earning a living to buy anything. One of the problems the US is facing now is the fact that with being forced to operate with fewer workers over the past few years, employers have realized they can actually operate with fewer workers. Despite what some people seem to think, companies aren't just gonna hire more people if they have more money. They now know they can get more with less, so they'll stick with that for as long as they can. Not calling the end of society and the age of robots, but just saying it's something to think about.


    I think it is a good move on FoxConns part. In the end parts will be cheaper (wishful thinking), but with the elimination of low-end jobs, it will create a huge market for higher paying jobs to maintain these robots. Resulting higher skilled jobs for the next generation.
  • 10 Hide
    Anonymous , November 14, 2012 4:07 PM
    I agree that if a robot can do a task the human should be doing something better. A human being reduced to mindless, repetitive tasks is a waste of potential.

    That being said it is probably being used as a threat to keep their employes in line. It almost like they have a labor union with all of the B.S. but none of the security.
  • 5 Hide
    megahustler , November 14, 2012 4:14 PM
    WithoutWeaknessThey can't jump off the roofs of they're bolted to the floor.

    You're right. I bet they could even use the same bolts they were going to use for the robots!
  • 0 Hide
    rantoc , November 14, 2012 4:17 PM
    jaber2Yay for robots, they can take the abuse.


    Yeah they just form skynet and wipe out the human race for the abuse!
Display more comments