Foxconn, the Taiwan-based factory firm that makes nearly half the
world’s electronics, aims to replace 1 million of its workers with
robots within in the next three years, the company announced over the
weekend. The factory bots will reduce labor costs and improve
efficiencies, the company’s founder, Terry Gou, told the Xinhua news agency. And they will be unable to take their own lives.
You’ve probably read about the spate of suicides at Foxconn factories, which has prompted the company to write no-suicide pledges for workers, and to install anti-suicide nets around tall buildings. Robotic assembly line workers won’t have any of
these requirements, nor will they require food service, housing or any
other amenities. And the robots will handle the repetitive, exhausting
work without complaint.
IEEE Spectrum reports on rumors that the robot workers will be ABB’s Frida robot, which was specifically designed to work alongside humans on assembly lines.