Thursday, December 20, 2012

The robots have (finally) arrived

The New York Times recently published an article with content and arguments straight out of the 1820s.

OMG! Robots are replacing labour-power! I cannot believe it. What are these new fantastical devices? Quoting Karl Marx, the NYT declares that you can make a profit by replacing people with robots:
In one example, a robotic manufacturing system initially cost $250,000 and replaced two machine operators, each earning $50,000 a year. Over the 15-year life of the system, the machines yielded $3.5 million in labor and productivity savings.
Quoting John Stuart Mill, the NYT proclaims, when you think about it, no jobs are really lost. Think of all the new jobs being created!
Moreover, robotics executives argue that even though blue-collar jobs will be lost, more efficient manufacturing will create skilled jobs in designing, operating and servicing the assembly lines, as well as significant numbers of other kinds of jobs in the communities where factories are.
Don't Panic! Robots are kinda human and they're even fighting against the division of labour:
But the arms seem eerily human when they reach over to a stand and change their “hand” to perform a different task. While the many robots in auto factories typically perform only one function, in the new Tesla factory a robot might do up to four: welding, riveting, bonding and installing a component.
This brave new world - a beautiful symbiosis between man and machine - is a worker's paradise!
Mr. Graves wears headsets and is instructed by a computerized voice on where to go in the warehouse to gather or store products. A centralized computer the workers call The Brain dictates their speed. Managers know exactly what the workers do, to the precise minute.

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