A factory in China is currently operating solely with computer workers, with humans only in a supervisory capacity. The factory has begun the process of replacing all human labor. After recent upgrades to robots operating in the factory in Dongguan, there are just 60 workers, many of whom have no role besides monitoring work being conducted by the robots. The city is a manufacturing hub in China, and other factories will follow this one in replacing most human labor with robotic labor in the coming years. Pointing to its efficiency and practicality, a robot arm can replace six to eight workers.
The factory makes cell phone modules. It used to employ 650 workers, but now only requires 60. After replacing the humans with robots, errors have reportedly dropped 25% in goods made by that particular factory. Decreasing human labor in the making of goods is part of the “Made in China 2025” initiative, which calls for “unmanned workshops or factories.”
China currently has more than 100 million employees in manufacturing, all of whom could be seriously impacted by a larger shift in manufacturing dynamics toward robotics. What will become of this massive workforce that currently produces much of the world’s goods?
Worldwide, a push for automation has been seen in various industries, even including fast food restaurants and hotels. Human labor as a role in society may become less important in the coming decades, with an emphasis on artificial intelligence doing work rather than human beings.