The Tragedy of Robot Unemployment

From the New York Times:
Japan’s legions of robots, the world’s largest fleet of mechanized workers, are being idled as the country suffers its deepest recession in more than a generation as consumers worldwide cut spending on cars and gadgets.  At a large Yaskawa Electric factory, where robots once churned out more robots, a lone robotic worker with steely arms twisted and turned, tests its motors for the day new orders return. Its immobile co-workers stood silent in rows, many with arms frozen in midair.

While I feel bad for the legions of people who’ve been put out of work as a result of the deathspiral recession, today, we lament the hardships of a different type of worker:  The unemployed robot.

I sat down with a few notable robots in the work force to discuss the toll that this economy is taking on their circuits and transistors.

The Reformed Broker:  Hey guys, thanks for joining me for the discussion.  Was the recent robot idling mentioned in the Times totally out of the blue?

rosie robotRosie the Robot:  I was totally shocked, Mister J.  Forty years of service and one day Jane brings home a Roomba to replace me.  Something about needing to make cutbacks in the family budget.

TRB:  Sorry to hear that.  It appears that Europe is having just as tough of a time as we are stateside, with the top 16 countries averaging about a 9.5% jobless rate.  Canada clocks in at roughly 8.6%.  Are you guys hearing about any opportunities elsewhere?

bender  Bender:  I was offered an assembly position for IKEA, but you need an advanced degree in Heegan Haägen to put that crap together!

c-3po  C3PO:  I am fluent in over six million forms of communication, but my master gave me specific instructions not to leave the area…Oh dear!

TRB:  Are there any areas of the economy where a robot can find work?

optimusprime    Optimus Prime:  I’d basically say to stay out of Detroit, the auto industry is so bad that some of my friends are embarrassed to be half-car these days.

wall-e  Wall-E:  Entertainment is supposed to be recession-proof, but someone needs to remind the suits in the C-Suite at Disney about that.  Bonuses were scrapped and my sequel was put on hold.

robocop  RoboCop:  Police aren’t safe, neither.  I shudder to think about my brothers on the LAPD getting IOU’s instead of checks come payday.

TRB:  What does a robot do to keep it’s head up these days?

Johnny_5  Johnny 5:  I guess we just try to remember that at least we’re alive!  Sort of.

Sources:

In Japan, Machines Are Idle (NYT)

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web
  1. Manshu commented on Jul 13

    Hilarious! 🙂

  2. Manshu commented on Jul 13

    Hilarious! 🙂

  3. Manshu commented on Jul 13

    Hilarious! 🙂

  4. CharlieHipHop commented on Jul 13

    “Unemployed robots” describes most of my former co-workers.

    You have won the CharlieHipHop “Awesome Blog Award” and its prize — a coveted spot on my blogroll! Congratulations!

    Funny stuff, great writing, attractive, subdued design — solid “A,” man! Good job.

  5. CharlieHipHop commented on Jul 13

    “Unemployed robots” describes most of my former co-workers.

    You have won the CharlieHipHop “Awesome Blog Award” and its prize — a coveted spot on my blogroll! Congratulations!

    Funny stuff, great writing, attractive, subdued design — solid “A,” man! Good job.

  6. CharlieHipHop commented on Jul 13

    “Unemployed robots” describes most of my former co-workers.

    You have won the CharlieHipHop “Awesome Blog Award” and its prize — a coveted spot on my blogroll! Congratulations!

    Funny stuff, great writing, attractive, subdued design — solid “A,” man! Good job.

  7. Mike from NJ commented on Jul 14

    Good News, Everybody! Bender has been Rehired!

    So you can Bite his Shiny Metal…

  8. Mike from NJ commented on Jul 14

    Good News, Everybody! Bender has been Rehired!

    So you can Bite his Shiny Metal…

  9. Mike from NJ commented on Jul 14

    Good News, Everybody! Bender has been Rehired!

    So you can Bite his Shiny Metal…

  10. susan commented on Jul 16

    you forgot Mr. Roboto.
    domo arigato, mr. roboto

  11. susan commented on Jul 16

    you forgot Mr. Roboto.
    domo arigato, mr. roboto

  12. susan commented on Jul 16

    you forgot Mr. Roboto.
    domo arigato, mr. roboto

  13. susan commented on Jul 16

    omg. we both forgot the terminator!

  14. susan commented on Jul 16

    omg. we both forgot the terminator!

  15. susan commented on Jul 16

    omg. we both forgot the terminator!

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