Robots to Replace iPhone Workers

How do you fix miserable working conditions in China? Replace the workers with Robots, who don’t care.  You love your iPhone, but I am sorry to tell you that it is made in the Foxconn sweatshops of Shenzhen. Recently Foxconn has come under fire for its “inhumane living and working conditions” leading to the suicide deaths of 17 workers in factories that are often described as  “prisons” or “cages.”

To address this problem, Foxconn CEO Terry Gou said in a statement Friday that he wanted “to shift the company’s employees higher up the value chain, beyond basic manufacturing work.”  Instead the mundane work of welding, spraying, assembling will be done by 1 million robots in the next three years.   To date, Foxconn employs the services of only 10,000 bots to supplement its 1.2 million human force.  The added benefit will be longer production days, better productivity and no pay, food or lodging.

So we are left with an ethical dilemma.  On one hand our demand for better technology has led to miserable factory conditions.  One way to resolve this humanitarian crisis is to remove the humans from the equation.  On the other hand,  replacing a million workers with robots will only push off the eventual confrontation between the consumer taskmasters and the current manufacturing serfs…



Categories: News, Politics, Robotics

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