10,000 robots to help assemble Apple’s iPhone 6; robots expected to impact low-skilled workers worldwide

“Foxconn parent company Hon Hai is set to deploy an army of 10,000 assembly-line robots to help meet the demands of producing the highly anticipated iPhone 6,” Reilly Dowd reports for The Fiscal Times. “Hon Hai CEO Terry Gou revealed in a recent shareholder meeting that Apple would be the very first customer of Foxconn’s latest robots.”

“‘Robots are going to enhance and speed up the manufacturing process,’ said Tim Bajarin, CEO of market research firm Creative Strategies. ‘The really big issue here is that the demand for the iPhone continues to grow. It’s grown every quarter since it came out,'” Dowd reports. “From a business standpoint, it makes sense. ‘When you are dealing with creating millions of smart phones per month, efficiency is critical,’ said Bajarin in an interview. ‘Robotics gives you that level of efficiency, which in the end, is very important for the bottom line.'”

“Throughout its various factories in China, Foxconn employs more than 1.2 million workers. They have reportedly hired an additional 100,000 workers in China — yes, human ones, to work alongside the robots,” Dowd reports. “‘I wouldn’t be surprised if sometime in the next five years, robots will even take care of the final touches,’ said Bajarin.”

“Larry Summers, former U.S. Treasury secretary during the Clinton Administration and former head of Obama’s National Economic Council, predicts technology will have a profound effect on the average employee. “We are seeing less and less opportunity for what average people — people lacking in certain skills — are going to be able to do,” said Summers in May at the Conference on Inclusive Capitalism,” Dowd reports. “‘It is not true that innovation always makes more employment… There is nothing in the logic of the market or human experience to suggest that it must necessarily be so that there will be jobs for all at acceptable wages, no matter how technology evolves.'”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Foxconn to deploy ‘Foxbot’ robots for iPhone assembly – July 7, 2014
Why Foxconn’s iPhone robots could create American jobs – February 2, 2014
Apple dives deeper into designing and inventing robots, other manufacturing tech – November 22, 2013
Whatever happened to Foxconn’s one million iPhone-assembling robots? – May 15, 2013
Robots made Apple switch to ‘Made in the U.S.A.’ Macs – December 11, 2012
Foxconn’s 2012 plan: More robots, no layoffs, zero suicides, new factories – November 22, 2011
Foxconn to replace some workers with 1 million robots within 3 years – July 31, 2011

18 Comments

    1. Out of all the products, only a small % have volume levels high enough to be automated.

      For the US, when the volumes are high enough, it is going to provide jobs for the current 20 somethings who are out of work, if they can get some tech training.

  1. Robots are also a nice way to silence critics complaining about work conditions and hours worked for humans. OK so thousands of workers will no longer have to work so hard but also don’t have a job. Happy now?

    1. Alternatively, Hon Hai will be able to hire a large number of workers for tasks the robots cannot complete, but will be able to hire those workers for less inhumane hours or raise wages.

      At least, in the short term. Eventually, you’ll be right. How much of China’s economy is supported by unskilled labor? Given the size of their population, I would assume that robots replacing cheap labor (which is an inevitability) will become a massive economic crisis for them.

      1. China will be fine. They’ll adapt.

        In the 70s, they thought automated robots mass producing machinery (cars, etc) would mean more unemployment. But in reality, it caused more work and people to work longer hours.

        There will ALWAYS be enough work for people. New industries, new opportunities in the arts.
        There will always be things to do. If there’s one thing humans are good at, it’s thinking of things to occupy our time.

        Or… maybe if there are fewer jobs, then parents will go back to raising their kids themselves, instead of allowing nannies and preschools do the heavy lifting.

  2. I’m a believer in automation. Companies are not responsible for creating employment; they are responsible for making a profit and only employing people integral to their success. Socialists like a Obama would disagree.

  3. The newly unemployed young ( and hungry) people standing outside the Hon-Hai iPhone manufacturing plant would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Daisy (and Greenpeace et al) for all that they have done to improve our working conditions (beyond those necessary) and tripling our wages.

    We had a good thing going before you showed up with your phoney outrage. Now we have high wages and NO JOBS!!!

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