Foxconn to fully automate its factories #automation #robots

Apple’s main manufacturing partner, Foxconn, is planning to eliminate human workers from its Chinese factories in three phases —something already complete at some locations, a manager with Foxconn’s Automation Technology Development Committee revealed on Friday.

Source: Apple manufacturer Foxconn aiming to fully automate factories in three phases

Automated systems are now cheaper than workers….in China.

Panasonic introduces automatic checkout scanning and bagging systems

Adds more automation to the retail services industry:

“Panasonic is introducing convenience-store checkout machines that can scan and bag items on their own, joining Amazon in the push for retail automation.”

Source: Panasonic Takes Item Out of Bagging Area: Human – WSJ

This is a side effect of raising labor+benefits costs to greater than the costs of automated systems.

Union angry at Amazon’s new self service mini grocery store pilot test

The largest union representing grocery-store workers has come out strongly against Amazon.com’s launch of a store sans cashiers, a sign of how a recent generation of futuristic technology comes with a dose of angst for big parts of the workforce.

Source: Grocery-workers union lashes out against new Amazon store | The Seattle Times

When workers cost $20/hour ($15 minimum wage + $4 to $5 for benefits), while technology costs are falling, numerous businesses are moving from variable cost labor to fixed cost automation.

The feature photo I attached to this post is a photo of a self order kiosk I took inside a McDonald’s in St. George, Utah. Starbucks has a mobile app that let’s customers place their own order ahead of time. Another coffee shop I visit has, at times, flipped their order entry app (its just an iPod on a stand) around and let customers place their own orders and pay with a credit card, when they are short staffed.

The market (meaning the public) will determine if this is what people want or not.

 

Robotic welders cost $8/hour vs $25/hour for people

Robotics systems are thus becoming an economically viable alternative to human labor in more and more industries. A human welder today earns around $25 per hour (including benefits), while the equivalent operating cost per hour for a robot is around $8 when installation, maintenance, and the operating costs of all hardware, software, and peripherals are amortized over a five-year depreciation period. In 15 years, that gap will widen even more dramatically. The operating cost per hour for a robot doing similar welding tasks could plunge to as little as $2 when improvements in its performance are factored in.

Source: bcg.perspectives – How Robots Will Redefine Competitiveness

Emphasis added by me.

FCC suggests it is prepared to regulate #IoT devices vis a vis security, comm networks

Here is the text of a letter the Chair of the FCC sent to Congress explaining the FCC’s thoughts on planning for IoT technologies.

The FCC believes industry should begin with voluntary steps to ensure the security of IoT devices but thinks that “market failure” will require some aspects to be subject to regulation.

 

Top programming languages as of December 2016 

  • Java
  • C (but popularity has fallen by half year over year)
  • C++
  • Python
  • Visual Basic .NET
  • PHP
  • Javascript
  • Assembly language
  • Perl
  • Objective-C
  • Ruby
  • Swift
  • Visual Basic
  • Delphi/Object Pascal
  • Go
  • R
  • MATLAB

Main take aways from this list:

Java, C/C++, Python, Visual Basic .Net, C#, PHP and JavaScript are the top programming languages.

Java, however, rates twice as high as C, which is higher than C++. Notably Python has risen to 4th place on the list, and assembly language makes it in to the top 10 at #9.

C and C++, and assembly language, are the languages of the Internet of Things devices (other languages are used too).

SourcE: Tiobe Index