The Future of Work: Humans Not Necessary

Robotic manufacturing in Italy/ Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

After I wrote The Future Of Manufacturing Is In America, With Robots and 3D Printing, commenter and former TreeHugger writer Ruben disagreed, saying "robots are fantastically expensive and resource-intensive. Humans, on the other hand, can eat almost anything put in front of them." True, but humans also need bathroom and coffee breaks, and the occasional birthday cake. John Markoff writes in the New York Times about how new, flexible and more affordable robots are changing manufacturing in America.

This is the future. A new wave of robots, far more adept than those now commonly used by automakers and other heavy manufacturers, are replacing workers around the world in both manufacturing and distribution.

Robotic manufacturing in Italy/ one person minds the whole line/ Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

One maker of robotic vision systems says the world will change because of it.

“We’re on the cusp of completely changing manufacturing and distribution,” said Gary Bradski, a machine-vision scientist who is a founder of Industrial Perception. “I think it’s not as singular an event, but it will ultimately have as big an impact as the Internet.”

While manufacturing may well return to North America, it doesn't look like the manufacturing jobs will. More in the New York Times

Tags: Dematerialization | Downloadable Design

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