iPhone Assembler Foxconn Replaces 60,000 Workers With Robots

Robots are taking over iPhone manufacturer Foxconn: the world’s biggest contract fabricator has successfully replaced as many as 60,000 factory workers with sophisticated machines that use artificial intelligence to perform elaborate assembly work more efficiently than humans do, a government official told the South China Morning Post.

Foxconn doesn’t just assemble the iPhone; over the years, the company has been involved in the production of almost all of Apple’s most popular devices, including the iPad and many Macs, for which it employs hundreds of thousands of factory workers throughout China.

35 Taiwanese companies, Foxconn included, spent 4 billion yuan (about $610 million) on artificial intelligence last year, as per official data. About 600 major companies in Kunshan are planning to tap artificial intelligence to replace workers with robots.

Foxconn Technology Group confirmed to the BBC that it was automating “many of the manufacturing tasks associated with our operations.”

The company would typically employ about 100,000 assembly line workers during peak iPhone production. It is believed that Apple’s supply chain employs, directly or indirectly, about a million people.

“We are applying robotics engineering and other innovative manufacturing technologies to replace repetitive tasks previously done by employees,” said Foxconn.

“Through training, we also enable our employees to focus on higher value-added elements in the manufacturing process, such as research and development, process control and quality control,” said the firm.

It’s unclear what Foxconn manufactures at its Kunshan plant, but the robots are likely to save Foxconn plenty of money. Although each unit is costly to acquire, maintaining them is thought to be substantially cheaper than paying human workers.

So what do you think about replacing humans workers with Robots in Foxconn factories ?

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