Instructor: Aleksi Aaltonen, Section 002

ABB building robotics “factory of the future” in China

A plant is slated to open in China in 2020 that is being labeled as “A factory where robots will build robots”. Swiss firm ABB Group plans to build a $150 million “Factory of the Future” in Shanghai, it said in a recent statement. It will become the most high-tech robotics manufacturing site on the planet, the company said. The Shanghai factory will host artificial intelligence research, and humans will work alongside robots. Autopiloted carts will be following robots around the factory, carting necessary supplies. The new Shanghai factory will feature a number of machine learning, digital and collaborative solutions to make it the most advanced, automated and flexible factory in the The new Shanghai factory will feature a number of machine learning, digital and collaborative solutions to make it the most advanced, automated and flexible factory in the robotics industry. (Photo: Business Wire)
robotics industry, and an onsite R&D center will help accelerate innovations in artificial intelligence. Even though the main purpose of this factory is to make better use of manufacturing space, it may start a trend of completely eliminating factory workers and replacing them with robots and automated machines, leaving many people unemployed.

3 Responses to ABB building robotics “factory of the future” in China

  • It’s interesting just how far technology has come. With robots building robots, the output of robots will be greater and faster. It will be interesting to see how successful this new plant is, and if other companies will choose to implement this idea. The positive side of this is that robotic technology will be plentiful, but there is also the issue that a lot of people will be unemployed. That has been a fear of most working class people, with the fear that technology will soon replace them, leaving them with no where to work. I’m sure in a place like China, where a lot of things are manufactured, plants hire a lot of the community. It makes me think that even though technology will be able to do something like this, the question is should they create it if they know it might do more harm than good.

  • Sounds a lot like the terminator movies; run! In all reality, I agree that this innovation will eliminate traditional factory jobs, but industries like robotics will open up more jobs than even though possible in the future. Everyone can have a part in the new jobs, including unskilled workers who can be trained to do maintenance and other supporting tasks in the factories themselves. As our culture and civilization becomes more educated, we will be able to fill the manual labor jobs once filled with the people to jobs that or more creative and innovative to even further advance ourselves. However, where the gain stops is not clear. How far can we actually go as a civilization before the growth becomes unsustainable? Maybe this robot factory is our first step to finding that out.

  • This is a very attractive topic and it would be interesting to see what is the analogy behind this robot building plan. For instance, knowing what constitutes an effective robot or what kind of human skills will be needed to articulate these robotic needs. I agree with Fatima that this robotic technology will be “plentiful” and cost-effective. However, it will also affect the economy of the country as new jobs will open requiring a set of new skills. Therefore, cutting working-class jobs. I wonder how this implementation will affect in the long-term? Will human skills be no longer needed? How long will a “new” skill last?

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