You’re probably aware that most Apple products are made in a Chinese slave camp called Foxconn, where workers are strongly encouraged to not kill themselves from the stress and strain of their shifts and conditions. And in case that encouragement doesn’t work, nets have been installed to catch employees who would dare attempt to fling themselves from the factory’s roof on the company’s time.
Anyway, I pulled a New York Times story out of Tadas’s saturday longreads linkfest today about the rise of robot manufacturing around the world, and in it was a quote from Foxconn’s chairman you have to read twice to believe (emphasis mine):
Even as Foxconn, Apple’s iPhone manufacturer, continues to build new plants and hire thousands of additional workers to make smartphones, it plans to install more than a million robots within a few years to supplement its work force in China.
Foxconn has not disclosed how many workers will be displaced or when. But its chairman, Terry Gou, has publicly endorsed a growing use of robots. Speaking of his more than one million employees worldwide, he said in January, according to the official Xinhua news agency: “As human beings are also animals, to manage one million animals gives me a headache.”
I would say good for the dismissed workers – except I’m not quite sure what else they could do in a command economy like China’s, where projects are greenlit and funded based on who knows which bureaucrat.