Foxconn, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of electronics, including Apple’s biggest money maker: the iPhone, has effectively replaced 60,000 human workers with automated robots who perform repetitive tasks.
This was reported to the South China Morning Post by representative of Foxconn’s manufacturing division, Xu Yulian, saying that the company “reduced employee strength from 110,000 to 50,000 thanks to the introduction of robots.”
60,000 is a staggering number. That’s a hell of a lot of people’s worth of labor that robots are now performing. Keep in mind, these are companies that have succeeded on a global level. They are producing products that are to be distributed on a world-wide scale.
Yulian also said that the company is focusing on automating much of the manufacturing processes in order to focus their labor force on more critical processes that add value to the manufacturing line like quality control and research and development.
Economists warn against drastically reducing jobs in favor of machines for the sake of the economy, but it’s hard to do that when investing in a $35,000 robotic arm is more attractive than maintaining a worker who makes mistakes and is inefficient.
There are so possible outcomes at the mercy of the economy. For example, a fall of demand in a product causes companies to down-size. The sad reality is, the economy has no mercy.