This random guide robot from Japan, roaming the Innorobo expo, appears either happy or bloodthirsty – I can't decide which. Jetro is looking to move bots of this nature from Japan to the US. A robot-laden future awaits. (Source: Jetro)
This is America. Why would we want robots when there are so many Mexicans around willing to do robot work?
Maybe robots are a ploy to stop illegal immigration by making them cheaper than day-laborers? Actually, I would rather hire a human I can talk to, in any language, than to have to learn a new programming language to train a robot to do multiple tasks that humans do so easily.
Is a robot from Japan considered an alien for immigration purposes? Does it need a green card? Does it have to go back to Japan once every six months to renew its work permit? Do I have to pay it minimum wage and deduct for taxes? Can I pay it under the table.
Maybe I should just get my kids to do it for free...
I agree, human workers for simpler jobs are easy to work with. Not to mention, they are much cheaper. The Foxconn factory, for example, employs around 1 million workers (according to Ruth Alexander of the BBC). They make about $400 dollars a month. That is a low rental price for a multi-function, autonomous, intelligent robot, of sorts. On a common day, there are thousands of people waiting in lines for those jobs. When there are people willing to be abused by employers, robots will never be used. (for the record, Foxconn's revenue is around $117 billion. Workers are in comparison, free.)
Robots need skilled and knowledgeable maintenance. I doubt we will see them take over simple jobs.
Where precision and speed are needed, robots will be the only choice.
pc. (You might want to be a little more P.C. in your public comments. Just a thought.)
I don't think using Mexican workers as an example is a problem because they are everywhere, so we all can relate to them. No p.c. Is necessary. I'm just acknowledging a truism. I'm a Mormon and have sent sons down there to teach them, as they are brothers and sisters to me. And I've hired them. But I know what you mean.
Warren, robots have only one language, which is used for programming it. So anybody from any corner of the world can use it, but we cannot use Mexicans like that and it may come under the preview of human rights violation. They are not robots or slaves, so humanitarian concern is an important factor.
Again we look for for the p.c. crap. We hire millions of Mexicans a day in this country for all sorts of tasks. Me saying the obvious is not wrong. It is the truth. So there is no humanitarian concern. There is no human rights violation. The is only the fact that we hire Mexicans to do the very jobs we talk about using robots for. And we don't have a learning curve, an upfront capital expense, there is only one potential programming language to learn (and maybe we don't even have to learn theirs), and we don't have to store them when not in use, etc., etc., etc. it's a fact, Jack.
So I'm just saying, available cheap human labor beats most robot jobs, and this removes the need for robots in our homes and personal lives. That's all.
You gents are in the USA and news from (South) Africa either does not hit your headlines or you don't take note of happenings out here!
Industry and Agriculture is being held ransom for pay hikes up to 600% purely "workers" have gotten into their heads that they have a right to it.
To date, manual labour has been used as, 1) it is available in abundance (II must lie if I claim this to be correct but a number such as 30%+ unemployment is putting it mildly!) 2) it has been cheap to recently, etc.
Furthermore, Industry and Agriculture, apart from making economic sense have the axe of being "Nationalised" and/or Farms being reallocated without due compensation.
Farm salaries have been calmed to be re- addressed in the new year but in all of these sites, "automation" is back in the forefront of the owner's mind.
I suggest you Google around a bit to get a feel of what is going on over here - might happen over there by you as well at some stage!
Key Words to search on: "Marikana" and "de Doorns"
SA Unemplyment: http://www.iol.co.za/business/business-news/sa-unemployment-gets-worse-1.1414454#.UNHWRW_FV8E
I suspect that eventually the supply of cheap labor will fall, unless we keep the current politicians in office who maintain the open borders. You have touched on the real reason for robots in our future, although we more p.c. refer to them as "automation." At some point, as they found in the automobile and other heavy industries, there is an economic justification for all the nays I have given to robots. Agriculture is a good example. Massive fields, delicate crops, tough deadlines, and labor unrest are great reasons for engineers to pursue solving these probems.
I wonder, can I insult a robot? Will I eventually have to respect their human rights? Will I have to create robots of color and give them preference? Who is John Galt?
The company I work for is in the robot business (never mind the details - involves cleaning jobs). There are some markets - especially in Asia - where we can't penetrate because human labour is simply cheaper, and abundant (and can probably do the job faster and more efficiently). There is a social factor, thought, (in developed countries), for customers to advertise "I've got a high-tech robot" rather than "I exploit cheap/migrant labour"
There is a very real danger approaching with robots, and it is not the problem of their becoming self-aware. The real danger is in the software. Consider how many times some allegedly stable version of "windows" goes stupid on us and heads off to do things totally diferent from what we asked for. Fortunately for us our standard robots communicate and act through screen and printer. Now consider the same sort of failure, but with a robot that can move much faster than us and is much stronger. What do we do when the software on that creature goes-stupid? That is the biggest threat that I can see coming up in the future. Just consider how the microsoft products function and you will understand the reality of the threat.
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