back to article China's robot population to lead world by 2014

China is poised to take over from arch rival Japan as the biggest robotics market in the world in the next few years, as manufacturers struggle with rising labour costs and demand greater efficiencies. The International Federation of Robotics (IFR) said back in August that China had quadrupled its annual supply of industrial …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Maths

If the supply of robots in the whole of China is 32,000 robots a year, how can Foxconn reach 300,000 a year?

0
0
Terminator

What's Chinese for...

Luddite?

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: What's Chinese for...

FWIW:

反对技术进步的人

0
0
Anonymous Coward

In the future

Where robots mine the raw materials that robots refine and process into the parts robots use to construct the robots that assemble the goods for sale that sit unbought in the shops because the people whose jobs were first outsourced and then replaced by robots cant afford them and the robots that took their jobs don't shop, I'm sure we'll all laugh about the absurdity of the situation.

__

This comment has been assembled by the trial version of CommentBot 2000, please purchase to remove this message.

1
0
Silver badge

What the West should be doing...

The increasing capability of robots may be the only thing that stops the West going into a real slump. Outsourcing production jobs to China is cheaper than local unskilled labour. But local robots are cheaper still. In both the latter cases unemployment rises, but in the latter case, money is clawed back through local taxes and less money going abroad. We're on the edge of a second wave of automation of unskilled work with things like Baxter. It really depends how quickly this sort of technology becomes mainstream.

0
0
Silver badge
Meh

Re: What the West should be doing...

"But local robots are cheaper still. In both the latter cases unemployment rises, but in the latter case, money is clawed back through local taxes and less money going abroad."

How will money be clawed back locally, given that there will be fewer and fewer people in employment to pay for the product, generating revenues and taxable profits for the makers?

In some utopian future we might need some means of sharing out machine generated wealth amongst a largely idle population (not that the "idle consumer" model has worked terribly well in the oil rich Gulf states), but in the transitional phase that we appear to be approaching there's going to be a lot of difficulty as some people have to work, and an increasing number do not. The UK is one of the most de-industrialised societies in the world, but even we've found that services don't make up the gap, nor do welfare payments make for a balanced society.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: What the West should be doing...

"How will money be clawed back locally, given that there will be fewer and fewer people in employment to pay for the product, generating revenues and taxable profits for the makers?"

Re-read my post. Money will be "clawed back" relative to if the work had been off-shored. Not relative to if local humans were still doing it.

" In some utopian future we might need some means of sharing out machine generated wealth amongst a largely idle population (not that the "idle consumer" model has worked terribly well in the oil rich Gulf states), but in the transitional phase that we appear to be approaching there's going to be a lot of difficulty as some people have to work, and an increasing number do not. The UK is one of the most de-industrialised societies in the world, but even we've found that services don't make up the gap, nor do welfare payments make for a balanced society."

Indeed. We are seeing that transition in the West already. Wealth has to be better distributed or we'll face ever increasing unrest as the non-owning class is less and less needed by the owning class.

1
0
Silver badge

Re: What the West should be doing...@h4rm0ny

"Re-read my post. Money will be "clawed back" relative to if the work had been off-shored. Not relative to if local humans were still doing it."

I have re-read it, but I'm not convinced that the state can make much money on what becomes a corporate profit tax on the assembly operation. Look at the current UK problems of getting tax dodging corporations to pay their fair share for physical activities in the UK. Product assembly work has already flowed to the cheapest locations in the world, and robotic assembly would likewise go where the costs were cheapest. If (say) Germany introduced an asset tax on robotic production, would that preserve German jobs, or German tax revenues? Nope, it'd just mean that the states that had lower taxes would be the recipients of inward investment to build the robotic production facilities. And their traditional standby of "German manufacturing quality is much better" becomes irrelevant if robots do the assembly. Germany could choose to raise its sales taxes to counter loss of employment taxes and and higher welfare demands, but their VAT is around 19% - how high will that need to go, and who will pay it? Given the economies of scale, we'd see fewer, larger assembly plants, so the work could be less evenly distributed than it is now, meaning that there would be fewer opportunities for states to levy "robot tax", meaning more losers than winners.

I can't help thinking that this is one of the most important issues of our times (far more so than the comedy climate change religion, or the impact of debt crises), and yet look at this tumbleweed infested thread, with a handful of contributors. And between us we're giving it fifty-trillion times more attention than governments are giving the issue.

0
0
Terminator

Isn't this ironic?

The world's most populous country and even they are being replaced by robots? The government might as well start distributing suicide pills for either the prols or the patricians...

0
0
Silver badge

Re: Isn't this ironic?

Not as ironic as you might think.

China has a particular problem of an ageing workforce with increasing life expectancy and a declining working age population (even more so than Europe), which will mean that the current ratio of working age people to old codgers will halve in the next twenty years. Their best route out is to increase the productivity of the economy from a declining labour pool, and using robots for assembly work is one way of doing that. It does open up the issue of how you get the money to flow back to the population, rather than to Foxxconn's or Apple's shareholders, but that's just another thing to fix.

Have a look at the interactive graphic and accompanying text here (assuming that Newnight didn't make this up):

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-19630110

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.

Forums