Is the next industrial revolution to come from Robotics? We all know drones and Irobot are already replacing militray personnel and whoever would hoover our homes but the real deal is in manufacturing.Foxconn, the Taiwanese manufacture plans to use 1 Million robots in 3 years. It currently has 1 million workers in China and intends to robotise most of its workforce. So yes, as argued by Charles Gave, the high value added jobs are likely in the US at the Googles, Apples and alike while the cheap labor might be replaced by robots. But there are much deeper issue...Mass unemployment or widespread properity?
Credit Suisse Wilmot via FTAlphaville has intresting thoughts on the coming revolution:
"Here's a heretical thought to sign off with.
Some day, and perhaps not in the very far future, robots will become the low cost producers in global manufacturing. Displacing and replacing a high percentage of human workers, whether in the developed or the emerging world.
Will that mean triumph or disaster? Mass unemployment or a Marxian state of grace in which we can all share in the prosperity these smart machines and systems may one day create?
There's a very long way to go before robots transform our world the way the PC did, but the writing is already on the wall in our view.
When Google steers a car through California without a driver, Dr. Robot performs ultra-delicate kidney surgery or Sharp builds its latest LCD factory in Japan (not in China!) and there is not a single worker on the floor, it shows how far automation has advanced - and hints at how far it will eventually go.
At least a couple of other thoughts spring to mind about that kind of world:
Surely factories will be built close to where the consumers and best qualified workers are, not where the cheap workers live.
Or will it be taxes, good regulation and the rule of law that determine where the robots do their work?
And what about inflation if the cost of making things really does go through a robot revolution?"
More on Robots Here:
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.