Germany Volkswagen Factory: Robot Crushes a Human to Death

On Monday a young man was killed by a robot he was installing in a Volkswagen factory in Baunatal Germany. Reports say the machine grabbed and smashed him as he was assembling the robot for a new electric motor production line.

Below, robots construct Volkswagens in a German factory.

This tragic accident violates the narrative that the […]

Self-driving 18-Wheeler Trucks Forecast for Highways in Ten Years

It’s interesting to see that many tech prognosticators see self-driving vehicles to be a reality in a decade (or less). A little Google search experiment got 1.4 million hits for self-driving cars OR trucks decade. The search gets a bunch of junk but also turns up titles like Self-driving cars could be on Britain’s road […]

Robots Move into Construction and Take Human Jobs

We see lots of photos of robots on factory floors, where the machines weld and assemble 24/7 with no coffee breaks. But construction workers shouldn’t think that their jobs are safe because they are outdoors and not as repetitious as some. New robots and techniques are being developed that are revolutionizing the construction process. One […]

“Rise of the Robots” Author: Job-Replacing Technology Is Unstoppable

C-SPAN’s BookTV showed an author talk this weekend with Martin Ford who wrote the important Rise of the Robots. You can watch the hour-long discussion in Seattle on the C-SPAN site or listen to the audio here.

Ford opened his talk by disagreeing with the title given by the Seattle Town Hall: How to Stop Robots […]

Mexican Brewery Is Fully Automated

It’s not just the first world where smart machines are taking over jobs that humans recently performed: Mexico’s Constellation brewery is “fully automated” and employs only six human workers per shift.

One variety of the machines is a laser-guided vehicle that moves pallets of beer and materials around the factory, replacing forklifts driven by people. They […]

Disaster Robot Competition Demonstrates Machine Advances

A month ago, I wrote about the then-upcoming DARPA competition for robots, that had quite a demanding test for the machines (Humanoid Robot Competition Suggests Rapid Advance in Technology). DARPA is the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, an arm of the US Defense Department.

The diagram below shows the obstacle course of very challenging movements in […]

China’s Robot Revolution Hitting a Few Bumps along the Road

About a month ago, I wrote about an “all-robot” factory in Red China which was actually only 90 percent automated. Imagine the workers’ relief!

Still, the highly automated factory sent a strong message: Chinese elites intend to maximize automation in order to eliminate jobs and they don’t try to pretend otherwise to the human workers.

Which is odd, […]

NPR Debates Whether Computers Will Crush Entire Career Categories

National Public Radio has a fair-and-balanced piece about whether automation will put many millions of people out of work: Andrew McAfee, co-author of The Second Machine Age, says Yes and David Autor, an MIT economist, says No. The report is pretty good for less than four minutes of radio.

Obviously my observation is that smart machines […]

Technology Ethicist Warns of Rising Unemployment from Automation

Smart machines, from robots to computers, are creating a tsunami of change in the workplace, yet many refuse to see the revolution and cling desperately to the old idea that jobs being swept away by technological change will be replaced by new ones.

One hint of the big change is the chart showing productivity and employment […]

Uber Moves into Self-Driving Car Business

In 2012, Google co-founder Sergey Brin opined that his self-driving car project would be available to ordinary people in five years. That seemed a little optimistic then, but in April the Delphi company announced that its prototype car self-drove from San Francisco to New York. Big companies like Mercedes, Tesla and Nissan are also engaged […]

“Rise of the Robots” Author Martin Ford Speaks in San Francisco

I just got my copy of Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future delivered from Amazon (famous for its Kiva automated warehouses), and the package definitely looked machine-friendly. It was not an envelope, but two pieces of lightweight cardboard pressed together. So presumably the book about robots taking human jobs […]

Four Robot Job Takers Are Already Here

Here’s a little intro to specific robots, each with their own abilities, based upon the writer’s visit to a robot conference. Of those, the OSHbot and Baxter have already been examined in these pages.

Below, Orchard Supply Hardware (OSH) has been moving forward with a greeter robot that can also direct shoppers to desired gizmos in the […]

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