American workers sleepwalking into automated obscurity, says new report

robot replaces human
Picture courtesy of Challenge Magazine

Despite an endless stream of stories in the media warning of humanity’s impending irrelevance in an automated future, it seems American workers remain rather blasé about the prospect of being automated out of existence in the workplace. 

New research by Randstad US contradicts many reports that American workers fear losing their job due to automation.

The 2017 Randstad Employer Brand Research found that only 14 percent of US employees worry that automation will take their job away, and nearly one-third (30 per cent) say they think automation will make their job better.  Continue reading American workers sleepwalking into automated obscurity, says new report

International Transport Workers’ Federation calls for virtual counter-revolution against robot bosses

itf uber car
Picture credit: Alper Cugun via Flickr and ITF

The International Transport Workers’ Federation is calling on all its members and affiliates worldwide to “work together” and launch a virtual revolution to counter the growing oppressive power of robots. 

Autonomous driving technology threatens to displace millions of truck drivers and cab drivers and other transport workers worldwide, and the ITF says the bosses and the elite are introducing these inhuman technologies without bothering to properly consider the “social costs” to the proletariat.

The ITF has 16 million members worldwide and almost 700 individual unions affiliated to the organisation.

In response to the robot takeover, the ITF is promoting a hashtag for people to tweet to – #futureofwork – as well as its own hashtag, #WeAreITF.

The ITF also organised a gathering in Stockholm, Sweden for the first meeting of the federation’s new automation working group.  Continue reading International Transport Workers’ Federation calls for virtual counter-revolution against robot bosses

Amazon could assimilate Whole Foods workers into robots and drones in some sort of cyber-physical dystopian Borg-like nightmare

The Whole Foods Market in Boulder, Colorado, US. Reuters / Rick Wilking
The Whole Foods Market in Boulder, Colorado, US. Reuters / Rick Wilking

By Lisa Baertlein and Harriet McLeod, Reuters

The merger that shook food and retail stocks on Friday – Amazon’s proposed deal to buy Whole Foods Market – rattled some employees of the upscale grocery chain who expressed fears ranging from layoffs to the loss of their laid-back corporate culture.

The online retailer hopes the $13.7 billion acquisition helps it disrupt the grocery business and expand its real-world store footprint.

Carmen Clark, 37, a six-year employee at a store in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, said some workers worry that Amazon-led automation could lead to job cuts.  Continue reading Amazon could assimilate Whole Foods workers into robots and drones in some sort of cyber-physical dystopian Borg-like nightmare

BMW shows off its smart factory technologies at its plants worldwide

bmw worker with collaborative robot

Collaborative robots, smart glasses, exoskeletons and innovative work gloves are among the tech being integrated at plants across the group’s worldwide operations 

German automaker BMW has been providing a glimpse into the advanced manufacturing technologies at several of its factories – in Germany and the US. 

The company says it has been harnessing the potential of innovative automation and flexible assistance systems in production.

In doing so, BMW says it has modernized the work environment and increased the efficiency of its workforce.  Continue reading BMW shows off its smart factory technologies at its plants worldwide

Job-stealing robots a growing concern for world leaders

A “RoboThespian” humanoid robot at the Tami Intelligence Technology stall at the World Robot Conference in Beijing, China. Picture: Reuters
A “RoboThespian” humanoid robot at the Tami Intelligence Technology stall at the World Robot Conference in Beijing, China. Picture: Reuters

By Martinne Geller and Ben Hirschler, Reuters

Open markets and global trade have been blamed for job losses over the last decade, but global CEOs say the real culprits are increasingly machines.

And while business leaders gathered at the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos relish the productivity gains technology can bring, they warned this week that the collateral damage to jobs needs to be addressed more seriously.

From taxi drivers to healthcare professionals, technologies such as robotics, driverless cars, artificial intelligence and 3D printing mean more and more types of jobs are at risk.  Continue reading Job-stealing robots a growing concern for world leaders

Obama warns of divisiveness of automation technology

obama farewell
US President Barack Obama making his farewell speech. Image: White House

In his farewell address to the nation, US President Barack Obama warned of the dangers of automation technology. 

Obama said: “The next wave of economic dislocations won’t come from overseas. It will come from the relentless pace of automation that makes a lot of good, middle-class jobs obsolete.”

The Obama administration has been looking the whole issue of robotics, automation and artificial intelligence, and consulting on the possible impact of those technologies on the US economy.  Continue reading Obama warns of divisiveness of automation technology

Foxconn to replace all humans with robots

foxconn factory

Hon Hai Precision, better known as Foxconn, says it will replace all its human workers with robots, according to a report in Futurism.com

Quoting DigiTimes.com, Futurism says Foxconn has announced a three-part plan to fully automate its factories in the hope of achieving 30 per cent automation by 2020.

Foxconn currently has about 40,000 robots – or Foxbots – working in its factories. The company says it has the capacity to produce 10,000 Foxbots a year.  Continue reading Foxconn to replace all humans with robots

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

Fear not the cobot, says European Automation

collaborative robot

Jonathan Wilkins, marketing director of industrial automation supplier European Automation, discusses the newest and perhaps most exciting realm of industrial robotics –collaborative robots

The world’s first industrial robot was an idea conceived after a conversation about science fiction novels between inventors George Devol and Joseph Engleburger in 1954. Six years later, Unimate had secured its place in the robotic hall of fame as the world’s first industrial robot.

It was then put to work on the General Motors assembly line in 1961. Inevitably, the public were sceptical of the safety issues surrounding Unimate. And with only Gort, the laser-firing robot from the 1950s sci-fi movie The Day the Earth Stood Still for reference, who can blame them? But after 50 years of practice, today’s industrial robots are a much less scary affair.  Continue reading Fear not the cobot, says European Automation

Mercedes replaces robots with humans

Mercedes-Benz_SLR_McLaren_2_croppedWith all the current talk of robots taking over the world, and replacing millions of workers everywhere, laying waste to economies and societies everywhere, it is surprising that a company known for its advanced technology is replacing robot workers with human workers. 

Prestige auto brand Mercedes has been employing more humans and fewer robots at its car factories because apparently its customers want vehicles with a high degree of customisation which is beyond the capabilities of robots, no matter clever they are.

In an interview with Bloomberg Business, Markus Schaefer, the German automaker’s head of production, says: “Robots can’t deal with the degree of individualization and the many variants that we have today. We’re saving money and safeguarding our future by employing more people.”

Full story at Bloomberg Business.