Higher wages and pressure to bring back manufacturing to the US could result in millions of job losses in clothes-making industry in Asia

A combination of higher wages in Asian countries and a trend for bringing back manufacturing to the US could dismantle large parts of Asian economies, many of which depend on the textiles and clothes manufacturing trades for huge portion of their national income. 

An interesting video report by the Financial Times points to this possible future, but adds that in practice, for now, “almost all of the world’s T-shirts and jeans by millions of cheap workers, mostly women, watching over sewing machines”.

And beyond T-shirts and jeans, the vast majority of jobs and tasks in the clothes manufacturing sector in general is still done by humans.  Continue reading Higher wages and pressure to bring back manufacturing to the US could result in millions of job losses in clothes-making industry in Asia

Harvest Croo Robotics field tests autonomous strawberry-picking vehicle

harvest croo strawberry picking robot interior view

Harvest Croo Robotics is field testing an autonomous vehicle designed to help plant and pick strawberries, according to a report on ThePacker.com

The new vehicle looks rather unlike your typical farm vehicle, and is designed to straddle six strawberry beds as it moves along. It uses GPS navigation, LiDAR vision and carries 16 robots which will do the actual planting and picking of the strawberries.

The robots will use a proprietary vision system which will identify which strawberries are ready to be picked (probably based on colour as robots can’t smell or taste yet as far as we know). Picked strawberries will then be moved to the platform level for further inspection and grading.  Continue reading Harvest Croo Robotics field tests autonomous strawberry-picking vehicle

Japan turning to robots because there’s not enough humans around

FILE PHOTO: Humanoid robots work side by side with employees in the assembly line at a factory of Glory Ltd., a manufacturer of automatic change dispensers, in Kazo, north of Tokyo
Humanoid robots work side by side with employees in the assembly line at a factory of Glory, a manufacturer of automatic change dispensers, in Kazo, north of Tokyo, Japan. Reuters / Issei Kato / File Photo

By Stanley White, Reuters

Desperate to overcome Japan’s growing shortage of labour, mid-sized companies are planning to buy robots and other equipment to automate a wide range of tasks, including manufacturing, earthmoving and hotel room service.

According to a Bank of Japan survey, companies with share capital of 100 million yen to 1 billion yen plan to boost investment in the fiscal year that started in April by 17.5 percent, the highest level on record.

It is unclear how much of that is being spent on automation but companies selling such equipment say their order books are growing and the Japanese government says it sees a larger proportion of investment being dedicated to increasing efficiency. Revenue at many of Japan’s robot makers also rose in the January-March period for the first time in several quarters.  Continue reading Japan turning to robots because there’s not enough humans around

Sewbots prepare to take millions of jobs off humans in clothes manufacturing sector

More and more companies in the textiles, clothing and footwear business are turning to advanced manufacturing technologies – robotic sewing machines and connected systems – to reduce the number of humans in their factories, along with the financial and social costs of employing them.

One of the largest apparel manufacturers in India, Raymond, which employs 30,000 human workers, says it plans to replace 10,000 of them with robots over the next three years. Continue reading Sewbots prepare to take millions of jobs off humans in clothes manufacturing sector

UK Labour Party ‘terrified’ of robotics and automation

Evil Daleks from Doctor Who seen outside the UK Houses of Parliament
Evil Daleks from Doctor Who seen outside the UK Houses of Parliament. Picture: Pictify

After disintegrating before the eyes of the nation over the past few months, the United Kingdom Labour Party is now having a panic attack about the ongoing robot invasion and impending total takeover. 

Despite being the largest political party in Europe by membership numbers, Labour’s entire senior leadership has been in disarray since the British public voted to exit the European Union.

Starting on the day of “Brexit” as it has become known, the Labour Party – whose members mostly supported staying in the EU – saw one senior party member after another leave their posts.

In a scarcely believable series of events, every member of Labour’s “shadow cabinet” – as the official opposition party’s leading members are collectively called – resigned.

All of the rebels said their leader, Jeremy Corbyn, was not capable of winning against the current government, led by Prime Minister Theresa May, of the Conservative Party.  Continue reading UK Labour Party ‘terrified’ of robotics and automation

Robots threaten 42 per cent of Canadian jobs, says report

theverge robot
Possibly the most dishevelled robot we’ve ever seen… not sure how he/she got a job. Is that contraption even a robot? Picture: TheVerge.com

Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship releases most comprehensive report to date assessing how automation will impact future employment in Canada

Automation is transforming traditional occupations, changing the day-to-day tasks of Canadians, and potentially creating new jobs, states new research from the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship (BII+E) at Ryerson University.

The report, released this week, entitled The Talented Mr Robot: The Impact of Automation on Canada’s Workforce analyzes automation and how it will directly affect the Canadian labour market over the next 10 to 20 years.

The report indicates that nearly 42 per cent of the Canadian labour force is at a high risk of being affected by automation – the replacement of workers by technology and computerization – in the future.  Continue reading Robots threaten 42 per cent of Canadian jobs, says report

Stop praying to the gods of the free market and roll out the red carpet to robots, urges Labour

Labour Party deputy leader Tom Watson
Labour Party deputy leader Tom Watson

The UK Labour Party is urging the government to turn away from “the gods of the free market” and instead roll out the red carpet to our new robot overlords.

Or at least that’s what could be inferred from an opinion piece written by the Labour Party’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, who made it clear that he favours mechatronics over abstract notions of free markets.

“A robot driving a lorry may sound daunting, just as a horseless carriage did in 1890. But a driverless car doesn’t get tired, or drink alcohol, or have blind spots,” writes Watson in praise of the machines.

Watson calls for a royal commission into the issue of robotics and automation in the UK, claiming that the chancellor, George Osborne, is leaving to fate to decide whether technological change becomes “out ally not our foe”.

Full story at The Guardian.