The events are global and the numbers are often astounding, with such disruptions sometimes directly affecting tens of thousands of people and indirectly many others as those out-of-work are launched into the seeking-work market.
The human and social costs are always considerable.
But we’ve seen nothing yet compared to what’s clearly coming, certainly in Asia, if what Xinhuanet reports is a credible indicator:
Taiwanese technology giant Foxconn will replace some of its workers with 1 million robots in three years to cut rising labor expenses and improve efficiency, said Terry Gou, founder and chairman of the company, late Friday [July 29].
The robots will be used to do simple and routine work such as spraying, welding and assembling which are now mainly conducted by workers, said Gou at a workers’ dance party Friday night.
The company currently has 10,000 robots and the number will be increased to 300,000 next year and 1 million in three years, according to Gou.
Xinhuanet says that Foxconn – the world’s largest maker of electronic components and the contract manufacturer for Apple, making the iPhone and the iPad – currently employs 1.2 million people, with about one million of them based on the Chinese mainland. The company made news headlines earlier this year regarding a spate of unexplained worker suicides at its plants in China.
One million robots coming. You can do the maths.