Apple and Samsung phone manufacturer, Foxconn has already taken a step towards the dystopian future. The South China Morning Post reported the manufacturing giant has replaced 60,000 laborers with robots. The total strength of Foxconn factory workers reduced from 110,000 to 50,000, marking a huge shift towards automation of routine jobs.
The Foxconn technology group confirmed to the BBC that they are automating many of the manufacturing tasks associated with their operations by introducing robots. However, they maintained the move will not affect long-term job losses.
Even though robotics engineering and innovations are gearing to replace repetitive tasks done previously by employees, Foxconn has said they will provide skill upgrades to enable workers to focus on higher value elements in the manufacturing process, such as R&D, process control and quality control.
Economists have stated dire warnings about waning workforce with increased use of automation technologies through robotics. One report by financial consultants Deloitte in partnership with Oxford University found 35% of jobs are at risk of extinction in the next 20 years.
This comes just days after former McDonald’s Chief Executive publicly endorsing the use of robots to do routine tasks in the restaurant chain, saying its cheaper to invest in a $35,000 robotic arm than to hire an employee with wage of $15 an hour.
Even though experts are optimistic about robotics, one just cannot deny the threat the innovations in the field of robotics pose to humanity. The line of argument that has been upheld so far that innovation will not wipe out jobs, but only create new type of jobs to fill the gap, is slowly started to get debunked. The future seems bleak, but it also paves the way for a more meaningful, holistic life – one without the addiction of status, hierarchy and dominance, but that’s only just seeing the glass half full and not half empty.