One million Foxconn robots outsource human work

By Freddie Pierce
Taiwanese electronics company Foxconn has taken a step to replace its maligned workforce with robotic technology. Following a rash of incidents involvi...

Taiwanese electronics company Foxconn has taken a step to replace its maligned workforce with robotic technology.

Following a rash of incidents involving its workers, the company will replace some of its 1.2 million people with more than 1 million robots, according to a state news report. It’s not clear how many people will lose their jobs due to this new form of outsourcing.

Foxconn makes laptops, mobile devices and other electronics hardware for Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Sony. The new robotic workers could help repair the image of the electronics company that’s been stricken by bad publicity lately.

Just two months ago, an explosion occurred in a Foxconn polishing workshop in China, killing three people and injuring 15 others. The blast reportedly affected the sourcing of parts for Apple’s sought-after iPad 2.

Earlier this year, the company made workers sign contracts saying they would not commit suicide. Since 1020, at least 16 workers have taken their lives at Foxconn’s Shenzhen factory in China, and another three have attempted to kill themselves while on the job site.

The company recently announced that they would install “suicide nets” to discourage employees from jumping off buildings.

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The suicides come as a response from brutal working conditions. Last year, one employee died from the effects of exhaustion following a reported 34-hour shift.

At a factory in India, 250 Foxconn workers had to be hospitalized after suffering from pesticide poisoning.

All of these examples have made it pretty clear that Foxconn doesn’t care too much for the working conditions of its employees. While the robots will likely mean the outsourcing of thousands of jobs, robotic workers can work as long as they’re supplied with power, and you don’t have to worry about the safety of the robotic workers.

All good things if you’re as careless as a Foxconn executive.

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