May 2013

It’s time to talk about the burgeoning robot middle class | MIT Technology Review

May 14, 2013 by Hallie Siegel

The elephant in the room is how robotics will play out for human employment in the long term. New robots will take on advanced manufacturing, tutoring, scheduling, and customer relations. They operate equipment, manage construction, operate backhoes, and yes, even drive tomorrow’s cars. It is time for not just economists but roboticists, like me, to ask, “How will robotic advances transform society in potentially dystopian ways?” My concern is that without serious discourse and explicit policy changes, the current path will lead to an ever more polarized economic world, with robotic technologies replacing the middle class and further distancing our society from authentic opportunity and economic justice. – Illah Nourbakhsh


Welcome, Robot Overlords. Please don’t fire us? | Mother Jones

May 13, 2013 by Hallie Siegel

Smart machines probably won’t kill us all—but they’ll definitely take our jobs, and sooner than you think.


A brief history of awesome robots | Mother Jones

May 13, 2013 by Hallie Siegel

From futuristic cities to a 1980s Chinese restaurant, a peek back at the real and fictional robot icons of the last century.


Lakewood slowly moving toward recycling automation

Plain Dealer-May 10, 2013

LAKEWOOD–Residents in some parts of the city could see automated recycling carts rolled out by September as a $1.5 million program gets under way.


Solutions needed to automation and race to the bottom

Independent Online-May 23, 2013

In recent columns I have mentioned the frightening statistic from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) that, on a global level, more than 120 million men and women are now without work – and will probably never work again.


Boeing unions say they’re not worried about robot painters (Video)

Puget Sound Business Journal (Seattle)-May 31, 2013

Boeing is using robots to paint 777 wings as the company moves to increase the automation of airplane production. The twin painting machines shown here


Supply chain automation supports cost reduction, quality improvement

TechTarget-by Ed Burns-May 23, 2013

Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle focused on automation in an effort to become more efficient. Milrose Mercado, Virginia Mason’s administrative director


April 2013

Robots make the cover of Time Magazine—again!

Posted 04/26/13 at 10:08 AM

… The cover of the April 22 issue of Time Magazine shows robots chiseling out the words “Made in the USA” and the story is “Manufacturing is back—but where are the jobs?


An insider’s warning for the tech industry

Ravi Mattu, April 22, 2013

Ten minutes into our conversation, Jaron Lanier has a problem. In the echoey restaurant where we are meeting, the sound of the one other diner is unnerving this pioneer of the internet world. “This space might not work . . . .” he says. “Sometimes I have trouble talking when it’s this loud.” The second problem is that the model leads businesses to rely too heavily on having the fastest computers, able to analyse data more quickly than anyone else. He says this will lead to two long-term challenges…. Computation deludes managers into thinking that risk can be pushed away from the business on to the shoulders of consumers who are actually unable to bear it when a crisis hits. It will also necessitate increased automation of processes, leading to a loss of meaningful, well-paid jobs. In other words, the business model is eradicating the very high-value consumers on whom it depends for its valuable data.


Youth unemployment: Generation jobless

The Economist, Apr 27th 2013

Around the world almost 300m 15- to 24-year-olds are not working. What has caused this epidemic of joblessness? And what can abate it?… HELDER PEREIRA is a young man with no work and few prospects: a 21-year-old who failed to graduate from high school and lost his job on a building site four months ago. With his savings about to run out, he has come to his local employment centre in the Paris suburb of Sevran to sign on for benefits and to get help finding something to do. He’ll get the cash. Work is another matter. Youth unemployment in Sevran is over 40%. A continent away in Athlone, a gritty Cape Town suburb, Nokhona, a young South African mother of two, lacks a “matric” or high-school qualification, and has been out of work since October 2010, when her contract as a cleaner in a coffee shop expired. She hopes for a job as a maid, and has sought help from DreamWorker, a charity that tries to place young jobseekers in work. A counsellor helps Nokhona brush up her interview skills. But the jobless rate among young black South Africans is probably around 55%. Official figures assembled by the International Labour Organisation say that 75m young people are unemployed, or 6% of all 15- to 24-year-olds. But going by youth inactivity, which includes all those who are neither in work nor education, things look even worse. The OECD, an intergovernmental think-tank, counts 26m young people in the rich world as “NEETS”: not in employment, education or training. A World Bank database compiled from households shows more than 260m young people in developing economies are similarly “inactive”. The Economist calculates that, all told, almost 290m are neither working nor studying: almost a quarter of the planet’s youth (see chart one).


Robots, China and demographics

Izabella Kaminska, April 10, 2013

…China has. That may very well be true, especially for the US, but it’s clear the biggest trend in China is now its own automation advance. The International Federation of Robotics’ latest survey on the impact of industrial robots on employment for example…


End of the US nursery rhyme economy

Christopher Caldwell, April 5, 2013

Even as western economies globalise, it can be a shock to discover how little resemblance the working world bears to the folkloric economy of children’s books and politicians’ rhetoric. These are not economies of butchers, bakers and candlestick-makers. The US has more graphic designers (191,000) than bakers (157,000), according to data released this week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. I was taken aback to discover, during the 2008 presidential campaign, that the country also has more choreographers than metal casters. National politicians, though, almost always campaign as if “the economy” is something found only in factories and on farms. A president with a real interest in the economy would also visit some of the nation’s 202,000 sports coaches or its 80,000 substance-abuse counsellors. The centre of the US economy has moved from shop floor to shopfront, then to shopping online. Many endeavours considered “employment” in the past couple of centuries have proved vulnerable to automation and computerisation. This year’s BLS data show that, since 2007, the US has gained 387,000 managerial positions and lost about 2m clerical ones. Perhaps the occupants of the former were consulted on how to fire the latter. It was once assumed that the skills-biased technological change that decimated factory work would never threaten jobs that required a human touch. How wrong that was. Automatic teller machines replaced bank staff years back.


UK trails in march of the robots

April 21, 2013

…established itself as world-leader in automation, and today has the highest operational…Buxton, chief executive of the British Automation and Robot Association. David Willetts…funding, but the problems holding back automation in the UK are deep rooted, says Mr Buxton. Part… By Andrew Bowman


Big data and hiring: Robot recruiters

The Economist, Apr 6th 2013

THE problem with human-resource managers is that they are human. They have biases; they make mistakes. But with better tools, they can make better hiring decisions, say advocates of “big data”. Software that crunches piles of information can spot things that may not be apparent to the naked eye. In the case of hiring American workers who toil by the hour, number-crunching has uncovered some surprising correlations.


March 2013

What If Automation Overwhelms The Need For Employees?

Forbes-Mar 25, 2013

The theory that automation is bad for workers overall is almost always faulty. Sure, specific groups of workers can take it in the shorts when an improvement in a


Commentary: Labor shortages, rising wages in China push notebook component firms toward automation

Digitimes-Mar 31, 2013

However, some other firms have noted that automation is difficult to achieve because The firm has been aggressive in increasing the percentage of automated


Barclays CEO Said to See 28% Staff Drop in Decade on Automation

Bloomberg-Mar 7, 2013

Barclays today named Shaygan Kheradpir as its chief operations and technology officer, responsible for helping the lender automate more systems to cut costs.


The Robot Reality: Service Jobs Are Next to Go 26, 2013

President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sample matza bread offered to them by small robots during a tour of a technology


Could This Robot Save Your Job?

NPR (blog)-Mar 9, 2013

The man who invented Roomba, the robotic vacuum, is back — this time, with Baxter. Rodney Brooks, roboticist and entrepreneur, brought Baxter, his latest


As Wages Rise, Firms Consider Replacing Workers With Devices


Some small-business owners say they now see a possible solution to the problem of rising wages: replacing workers with new…


The Robot Will See You Now

03/27/13 — IBM’s Watson—the same machine that beat Ken Jennings at Jeopardy—is now churning through case histories at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, learning to make diagnoses and treatment recommendations. This is one in a series of developments suggesting that technology may be about to disrupt health care in the same way it has disrupted so many other industries. Are doctors necessary? Just how far might the automation of medicine go? Information technology that helps doctors and patients make decisions has been around for a long time. Crude online tools like WebMD get millions of visitors a day. But Watson is a different beast. According to…


Robotic Tour Guides Catch on in Australia

03/21/13 — They look like giant chess pieces – one black pawn, another white, slowly making their way around the museum with dozens of online visitors. The CSIRO-built robots come packed with high definition technology, visiting a selection of exhibits. The tours are accessed by schools and libraries around Australia that are already connected to the National Broadband Network. Online visitors select what they want to see, from which the robot guides create a tour for many online users at once. The animatronic guides give their guests extra information, which can be accessed by clicking a mouse over items in the live vision. Developer Ian Opperman…


Labour markets: Real robot talk

The Economist, Mar 1st 2013, 20:22 by R.A. | WASHINGTON

HAVING discussed some possible refuges for humans looking to keep working in a robot-dominated world, let’s get to some real talk. It is certainly possible that technological progress will soon switch to augmenting the productivity and wages of less-skilled workers. But it’s also possible, and maybe more probable, that it will not. And while there are many different kinds of “skill” out there, it seems reasonable to argue that workers in the top quartile or top half for educational attainment are also likely to be in the top half for other, non-cognitive skills that might be favoured in the future. So what might happen to workers in the bottom half of the skill spectrum?




February 2013

Labour markets: The robot menace

Mar 1st 2013, 6:58 from Free exchange

ONE might say it is an encouraging sign that public worry over technology has (for the most part) turned from fear of stagnation to fear of technological unemployment thanks to too-rapid change. Signs of technological advancement are everywhere. Watson is shrinking, getting faster, and learning new skills. Google is bringing us driverless cars and the wonder that is this. Robots are looking ever more amazing, amazing, amazing. What can we expect, economically, from such changes?


Skidelsky on robots and more leisure

Izabella Kaminska | Feb 19 

Love him or loathe him, Robert Skidelsky’s prose always makes for a good read.

His latest offering comes by way of Project Syndicate and relates to the issue of robots and the rise of automation. To what degree are we really approaching a leisure society and how best to respond to the changes afoot?


BofA plans drive on commercial banking

…new head of commercial banking, says he is investing in the business, adding about 50 bankers as a first step even as more automation brings job losses in administrative roles. “We have invested and we will invest more,” he said, while declining to… By Tom Braithwaite in New York


Is it time to ditch offshore services for automation for security sake? (blog)-Mar 4, 2013

I have recently written about IT and back office automation and its impact on outsourcing and more particularly offshoring. Here is a guest blog post on the


Five jobs a robot could never steal

The Guardian-Mar 1, 2013

Look about and you’ll see here’s a lot of robot talk going down right now. It’s not confined to the usual places; among aficionados of /r/bioniclove for instance,


A Robot Didn’t Steal Your Job

CounterPunch-Mar 1, 2013

And automakers now have robots that don’t need bathroom breaks and have no inclination toward collective bargaining to build cars. What ties technology, in



January 2013

The robot economy and the new rentier class

…of the week thinking about the issue, with no less than two robot-themed postings. But it’s his last one which presents the…that one paragraph explains today’s reality perfectly. So, robot and technology power is reducing the natural employment rate… Izabella Kaminska


Robots and Automation: Bringing Jobs Back to the United States

Robots get a bad reputation for taking away jobs in the United States.  However, here is how industrial robots not only keep jobs in the U.S. but also increase them!  Robots And Automation Bring Jobs Back To The U.S.


IFR CEO Round Table Discussion at the Automate in Chicago: Robots create Jobs!

The 4th IFR CEO Round Table discussion on 22 January 2013 at the Automate in Chicago focused on the impact of industrial robots on employment. The discussion also touched on other issues such as human-machine interaction, the need for a more educated workforce and the breakthrough of service robots.


Robot Makers Spread Global Gospel of Automation


CHICAGO — The robot equipment industry has one word for the alarmist articles and television news programs that predict a robot is about to steal your job: Fiddlesticks!


Automation Industry Association Criticizes 60 Minutes Segment ‘March of the Machines’


(Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA) – The Association for Advancing Automation (A3), the global advocate for the automation industry, is disappointed in how 60 Minutes portrayed the industry in Sunday night’s “March of the Machines” segment. “While the 60 Minutes depiction of how technological advances in automation and robotics are revolutionizing the workplace was spot on, their focus on how implementation of these automation technologies eliminates jobs could not be more wrong,” said Jeff Burnstein, President of A3, a trade group representing some 650 companies from 32 countries involved in robotics, vision, and motion control technologies. “We provided 60 Minutes producers several examples of innovative American companies who have used automation to become stronger global competitors, saving and creating more jobs while producing higher quality and lower cost products, rather than closing up shop or sending jobs overseas. They unfortunately chose not to include these companies in their segment. With respect to MIT Professors Brynjolfsson and McAfee who gave their viewpoint in the piece, they are missing the bigger picture.” To see the real story in action, A3 is urging people to attend Automate 2013, the industry’s premier trade show which is held in Chicago, Illinois next week. (January 21-24, 2013; McCormick Place; With over 8,000 attendees from around the world, Automate showcases the full spectrum of automation technologies and solutions that are being utilized in many different industries. For free admission to the show, register at Several Automate speakers will address how robots are saving and creating jobs.



December 2012

The robot economy and the new rentier class

FT Alphaville, December 10, 2012

It seems more top-tier economists are coming around to the idea that robots and technology could be having a greater influence on the economy (and this crisis in particular) than previously appreciated. Paul Krugman being the latest. But first a quick backgrounder on the debate so far (as tracked by us).


Robots Don’t Destroy Jobs; Rapacious Corporate Executives Do

AlterNet / ByWilliam Lazonick

Worrying about automation distracts us from the real problem: misuse of corporate profits.

Automation is making unions irrelevant

Computerworld Blogs, Patrick Thibodeau, December 13, 2012

The problem with unions is they can’t protect jobs. They can’t stop a company from moving jobs overseas, closing offices, or replacing workers with automation. I grew up in Connecticut, a heavily unionized state. In the post-war period, the state’s industries made typewriters, appliances, bearings, locks, tools. None of them survived. Through the 1960s and into the 1980s, thousands of factory workers lost their jobs, including my father. These jobs were lost because of globalization and changes in technology. The unions did not cause these job losses, and IT workers provide a good example as to why. In Connecticut, the big IT employers are financial services firms, insurance companies mostly. These firms aren’t unionized. In the late 1990s, financial services firms began offshoring work and IT jobs were cut. The same forces that dismantled manufacturing jobs were now attacking highly skilled, knowledge-based jobs.


Will a Robot Take Your Job?

New Yorker (blog)-by Gary Marcus-Dec 29, 2012

Slowly, but surely, robots (and virtual ‘bots that exist only as software) are taking over our jobs; according to one back-of-the-envelope projection, in ninety years

Better Than Human

By Kevin Kelly, 12.24.12

Imagine that 7 out of 10 working Americans got fired tomorrow. What would they all do?

It’s hard to believe you’d have an economy at all if you gave pink slips to more than half the labor force. But that—in slow motion—is what the industrial revolution did to the workforce of the early 19th century. Two hundred years ago, 70 percent of American workers lived on the farm. Today automation has eliminated all but 1 percent of their jobs, replacing them (and their work animals) with machines. But the displaced workers did not sit idle. Instead, automation created hundreds of millions of jobs in entirely new fields. Those who once farmed were now manning the legions of factories that churned out farm equipment, cars, and other industrial products. Since then, wave upon wave of new occupations have arrived—appliance repairman, offset printer, food chemist, photographer, web designer—each building on previous automation. Today, the vast majority of us are doing jobs that no farmer from the 1800s could have imagined.


Robot Workers: Coexistence Is Possible

Businessweek-Dec 13, 2012

The robots are coming. Resistance is futile. From car factories to microprocessor plants to fulfillment warehouses, a single robot can now handle tasks that once




November 2012

Here come the humanoids. There go U.S. jobs

Nov 12, 2012, By Paul Sloan

Baxter is a factory worker robot that’s about to take to the floors. It’s just the beginning of the robot revolution.


How a Robot Will Steal Your Job

November 15, 2012 – On a visit to Standard Motor Products’ fuel-injector assembly line in South Carolina, Atlantic writer Adam Davidson asked why a worker there, Maddie, was welding caps onto the injectors herself.


Automation gives jobs, but also takes them away

Colorado Springs Business Journal-Nov 9, 2012

Automation, aided by new technologies, is increasingly replacing labor, changing workplaces and altering the economy in fundamental ways. Just look around


Robots won’t take your job, but automation might

VentureBeat-by Ciara Byrne-Nov 29, 2012

Robots are on their way into your workplace, but you may not be there to complain about it. “Many of us will live to see the day where we have physical,

Robots ready to replace human labour

Bangkok Post-4 hours ago

With the daily minimum wage rising to 300 baht nationwide on Jan 1, businesses are attempting to lower their production costs by turning to machinery and


Amazon’s Robotic Future: A Work in Progress

Businessweek-Nov 30, 2012

If you were watching Bloomberg TV recently, you may have seen our correspondent, Cory Johnson, standing in the middle of Amazon’s (AMZN) newest distribution center in Arizona. It’s an impressive facility, brand-new and owned by one of the hardest-charging, most-innovative companies to come onto the retail scene since Sam Walton opened a five-and-dime. So where are the robots? After all, aren’t robots supposed to be the future of such places as distribution centers and warehouses? Didn’t Amazon buy a robot manufacturer, Kiva, in March? The online retailer announced in October that it was taking on 50,000 additional part-time workers for the holiday season. Shouldn’t some of those spots be taken up by mechanical arms and wheels? Maybe not. For all the anxiety over robots coming to take jobs, there are still limitations to what they can do—or what they can do well. Bruce Welty is chief executive officer of Quiet Logistics, an order-fulfillment company that manages the online inventory and distribution for retailers like Gilt, Zara, and Bonobos. He uses robots made by Kiva, the company Amazon purchased, but his warehouse in Massachusetts is not bereft of humans. “Robots aren’t very good at picking up things,” he says. “They aren’t very good at looking at a bin of different things and distinguishing one item from another. Welty’s robots do one task and one task only: They move racks of merchandise to workers, who then remove the products from the racks and pack them up for shipping. Saving workers the time and effort to retrieve products offers considerable benefit. “In a typical warehouse, that’s about 60 to 70 percent of the labor,” Welty says.


Burger-making robot could make fast food workers obsolete

DVICE-Nov 30, 2012

Over the last few decades, the fast food industry has remained a bulletproof option for the low wage worker, but thanks to robotics those days appear to coming



October 2012

Automation gives jobs, but also takes them away

Colorado Springs Business Journal-22 hours ago

Automation, aided by new technologies, is increasingly replacing labor, changing workplaces and altering the economy in fundamental ways. Just look around



September 2012

Infographic: Robots & Automation in U.S. Manufacturing

Evan Ackerman  /  Wed, September 19, 2012

Kuka Robotics put together this nifty infographic describing how manufacturing robots aren’t necessarily evil job stealin’ machines of… evil. It’s especially timely what with yesterday’s big news about a certain robotics company that wants to use robots to make domestic manufacturing more cost effective and efficient, although Rethink is tackling things much differently than big boys like Kuka.


Can Robots Bring Manufacturing Jobs Back to the US?

TIME-Sep 27, 2012

Heading into the 20th century, America was a predominantly rural country. Roughly 40% of the nation’s labor force toiled on farms alongside 22 million work


Robot revolution in sight

Arizona Republic-Sep 18, 2012

Robots don’t take bathroom breaks, and that’s one reason why, all else being equal, they may make better factory workers than the human version. But all else is


Automation will soon touch every job on the planet: prediction (blog)-Sep 25, 2012

Blame automation for much of the lackluster job growth seen in the current economy. In fact, there soon will be few jobs that machines won’t be able to do just as




July-Aug. 2012

Could Automation Lead to Chronic Unemployment? Andrew McAfee …

Forbes-Jul 19, 2012

Famed economist, John Maynard Keynes, voiced concerns regarding automation in the 1930’s and coined the term “technological unemployment.” In the early


Global Employment Trends 2012: World faces a 600 million jobs challenge, warns ILO

24 January 2012

The world faces the “urgent challenge” of creating 600 million productive jobs over the next decade in order to generate sustainable growth and maintain social cohesion, according to the annual report on global employment by the International Labour Organization (ILO).


June 2012

Will Robots and Automation Make Human Workers Obsolete?

Huffington Post – Jun 18, 2012

PBS News Hour recently had a special on the main topic I’ve been writing about here on The Huffington Post and elsewhere: unemployment and inequality …


Solar Carnage Hits Suppliers as Sanyo, Sumco, Schott Cut… – Feb 8, 2012

But one closure hits close to home: A spokesman for Sanyo, a Japanese company disclosed whether its ongoing investment in automation will cut workers.


Robots look for real-world jobs (photos)

Mar 06, 2012, Martin LaMonica

At the Human-Robot Interaction conference, industrial and research robots show off what they can do.


Robots to Create More Than a Million Jobs by 2016

ROBOTICS will be a major driver for global job creation over the next five years.  The announcement is based on a study conducted by the market research firm, Metra Martech, “Positive Impact of Industrial Robots on Employment”, which was published on Thursday in Tokyo.


How Robots Create Jobs

by Adil Shafi, President, ADVENOVATION, Inc.

Posted: 04/04/2012 So, how do robots create jobs? Before we review the math and dynamics of robot jobs, let’s look at a …


Too Many Robotics Jobs, Not Enough Skilled Workers

A recent report from WANTED analytics indicates more than 1,800 jobs for robotics workers were advertised during March, representing a 44-percent increase from one year ago and an 80-percent jump from two years ago. As more surgical and health-related procedures require robotics, employment ads for registered nurses with robotics skills have increased by 21 percent.


Robots Can Replace Chinese Workers

With all of the controversy surrounding Foxconn, one of Apple’s major suppliers in China, including several suicides by workers, Foxconn and other Chinese companies might do well to replace much of their labor force with robots, Klaus Zimmermann writes for Financial Times.


Kuka Robots Invade China as Wage Gains Put Machines Over Workers

Bloomberg – Apr 13, 2012

Kuka forecasts growth at its robotics unit to outpace the industry this year, which it expects to expand by about 2 percent. Japanese rivals are also



June – Dec. 2011

Octant: A One Man, Multiple Robot Band

Posted 25 Oct 2011 at 20:59 UTC by steve

Carly of NYC BreakThru Radio writes to tell us about a new robot/human band called Octant:

We’re featuring an awesome new video from one-man-band Octant. His unmanned robot backing band is a truly unique orchestration of self-playing instruments, and it adds a whole other level of wonder to his performance. I saw that you recently posted about a robot band and thought you might be interested in this CMJ performer

Read on to see another video of Octant performing a song called “Invisible Kites”. And, if you want, check out previous robot bands we’ve mentioned including The Trons, the Bit-52s, and of course, the Cybraphon


Foxconn To Replace Human Workers With One Million Robots

Evan Ackerman  /  Mon, August 01, 2011

Foxconn, an electronics manufacturer from Taiwan with huge factories in China, generates about 40 percent of the global consumer electronics revenue by creating things like iPhones and computer components on giant assembly lines staffed by humans. Until recently, you’d probably never heard of Foxconn, but a series of worker suicides made us all take a hard look at where our electronics were coming from. Foxconn has made some improvements (including nets around tall buildings), but by all accounts, the core of the problem (the work) remains “repetitive, exhausting, and alienating.”


iRobot Partners With InTouch, Ava to Start Caring About Your Health

Evan Ackerman  /  Thu, July 21, 2011

Back in October of 2009 when iRobot first announced their new healthcare robotics unit, I posted my prediction about what kind of platform we might expect to see:

Here’s my guess: a small mobile platform that integrates the telepresence features of the ConnectR with some kind of simple artificial intelligence that could locate and recognize people, deliver reminders and information based on natural language voice queries, and summon help in an emergency. It would be connected to the internet and could integrate with, say, a doctor’s office or a pharmacy to provide prescription schedules and monitor drug interactions.

Turns out I wasn’t far off with my telepresence concept. Just yesterday, iRobot announced a new partnership with InTouch Health (a remote presence telemedicine solution provider) to “explore potential opportunities for healthcare applications on iRobot platforms such as the iRobot Ava mobile robotics platform.”


Do Robots Take People’s Jobs?

Erico Guizzo  /  Tue, July 12, 2011

Last month, President Barack Obama announced the National Robotics Initiative, a major program to develop next-generation robots for manufacturing, healthcare, and other areas. The robotics community received the new initiative with enthusiasm, but some observers expressed concern about an expansion in automation, raising a perennial question in robotics: Do robots take people’s jobs? “The real purpose of automating manufacturing is to eliminate skilled workers and replace them with low paid button pushers—preferably offshore,” commented one IEEE Spectrum reader who’s worked as a control engineer for 25 years. Said another: “As jobs at all levels, from McDonald’s to college-educated knowledge-workers, are increasingly automated, there will be more unemployment.” Other readers voiced similar concerns.


Will Robot Workers to Replace Human Financial Traders?

By Jerry Olsen, September 15, 2011

Given the current recession and volatile stock markets, financial traders across the world are beginning to worry about standing in the employment line. Worse yet, some of them fear they might even be replaced by robots. Although National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recently developed an “astronaut robot,” it doesn’t look capable of trading stocks on the NASDAQ. A new report by the British Government’s Foresight panel said that automated trading using computer algorithms will eventually replace a big proportion of financial services workers over the next decade. However, the report also said that it’s highly unlikely that human traders will be totally replaced by robots. Foresight provides in depth technological and financial studies that predict major issues 20 to 80 years in the future.

Will Computers Replace Human Journalists?

Ed Silverstein, September 13, 2011

Will computer-produced prose someday replace hard-working human journalists – and even create stories that compete with the works of Ernest Hemingway or E.B. White? An Illinois-based company called “Narrative Science” said its technology is not only producing “high quality” copy right now but could win the coveted Pulitzer Prize within five years. Narrative Science tells readers on its website that it can transform “data into high-quality editorial content.”

Broadcasting Automation Company Unveils Latest Camerobot Robotic System

Jayashree Adkoli, August 09, 2011

Robots are playing a key role in the broadcast industry these days as they can be efficient for productions ranging from newscasts to live sports coverage to parliamentary broadcasts. In addition, these robots can cut operating costs in terms of camera control as well as increase productivity, as automation eliminates the need for any camera operators to stand for hours together.

Robot to Move Luggage for Guests in New Times Square Hotel

Ed Silverstein, May 23, 2011

When the “Yotel” opens up in Times Square in New York City it will offer its guests automated robots to handle their luggage. The robot to be used is called a Yobot. It can select and move pieces of luggage from a very large luggage rack, Wired reports. It is located in the hotel’s lobby and will store pieces of luggage in hotel lockers. The robot is about 15 feet high.


Hon Hai: Increase In Automation To Release Workers For Other Value-Added Tasks

WSJ, 08/02/11

TAIPEI (Dow Jones)–Taiwanese contract manufacturer Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. (2317.TW) said Tuesday it will continue to expand its work force in China in the coming years even though it plans to increase the use of robotic arms across its production lines to cope with rising demand for electronics and increasing costs.


Unmanning the Mines of Australia

Rio Tinto, racing to keep up with demand from steel-hungry economies like China, is rolling out massive automated trucks…

WSJ 06/09/11

Legal Sector Loses Jobs In September, Robots On The Horizon

WSJ Law Blog, 10/10/11

Yes, the economy may have added more jobs than expected in September, but the news remains pretty dim for lawyers.

Device automates routine analysis

Laboratory Products News – Dec 30, 2011

The automation of daily analyses can represent an important opportunity for valuable time savings. The determination of dry mass and ash – one of the most


A message from robots: it’s our turn

China Daily – Dec 29, 2011

The countries with the highest rate of automation in the world are Japan, Expansion of industrial automation, the shift of production volumes to An upsurge of workers who are replaced by robots is now a hot topic in the Pearl River Delta region, with Foxconn being one of the most prominent examples. Foxconn, one of the largest OEM (original equipment manufacture) companies in the electronic assembling industry in China, has been heavily hit by labor issues over the past few years. To improve productivity and product quality it has declared it will introduce 1 million robots over the next three years to replace some of its workers. That target, confirmed by the Foxconn Chairman, Terry Gou, seems highly unrealistic given that it equals the number of operational robots worldwide. As the image of being a “sweat shop” is becoming more and more of a problem, Foxconn, which employs 1 million workers in China, is looking for solutions to solve its labor issues. Several other leaders from the labor-intensive manufacturing industry in China have already begun to consider using robots to replace humans. Booz & Company has done a study of the top 10 global trends over the next 20 years. In this research we identified increasing productivity to be one of the key trends. Achieving this by making the most of existing technologies and higher automation will greatly shake up the market in manufacturing. The root cause is evident: labor-intensive companies that deploy robots are driven to do so predominantly because of a shortage of labor. In China that shift is expected to continue because the shortage of labor is expected to worsen.


Robots to Take 500000 Human Jobs…for Now

The Fiscal Times – Dec 29, 2011

Tech companies are creating plenty of jobs for robots. Foxconn, the leading manufacturer of electronics in the world — which makes Apple’s iPhones and



Feb. – May 2011

McDonald’s hires 7,000 touch-screen cashiers

Tuesday, May 17, 2011 Posted by Amanda Kooser

Would you like some microchips with that burger? McDonald’s Europe strikes another blow against human interaction by installing 7,000 touch-screen computers to take your order and money.



January 2011

Tense time for workers, as career paths fade away

USA Today – Rick Hampson – ‎Jan 12, 2011‎

Globalization and automation may export or eliminate not only jobs, but entire occupations — ways of life, really. The Labor Department predicts that …


The Robot Economy is Here by Derek Thompson

The Atlantic (blog) – Derek Thompson – ‎Jan 18, 2011‎

Entrepreneur Marshall Brain–that’s his real name–says robots will become widely available by 2030 and could eventually take nearly half of all jobs in the …



November 2010

Replacing Nurses With Robots

ADVANCE for LPNs (blog) – Linda Jones – ‎Nov 22, 2010‎

As a nurse, if you were to create a robot to perform part of your job, what would you have it do? Are there tasks you do that do not require critical


Recession spurs faster replacement of workers with technology

Columbus Dispatch – Alana Semuels – ‎Nov 1, 2010‎

Automation means Young no longer needs large crews of farmworkers to plant or harvest – and no more worrying about immigration status, pay or benefits.


Robot Employee Developed in Japan

WIFR – ‎Oct 25, 2010‎

To combat concerns over a decreasing workforce, researchers developed a new robot that would help pick up the slack in the manufacturing sector.


Automation Proves the Intrepid Solution to Higher Demand – A Robot Case Study

Clare Goldsberry, Senior Editor/U.S. , Copyright Modern Plastics Worldwide, April 2010, reprinted at RIA with permission
Motoman Robotics Posted 10/06/2010

Overseas sales increase, and you need more workers or more automation. For this small processor, automation proved the right choice, with those new robotics saving time and money at Intrepid Industries Inc. It is a problem many processors would welcome facing. An increase in foreign sales boosted Intrepid Industries Inc.’s business to the point that it either needed to hire for a second and third shift or invest in automation. Erich Bredl, president and partner in the company, chose the latter. “We’re in the process of putting a six-axis Motoman robot on the second molding station, and should be up and running this month,” he said. “We’ve got a small window of a three-day molding run and will get the robot installed and set up to run the mold continuously around the clock. It’s like gaining a second and third shift without hiring people.”



October 2010

David Autor, Inequality and Technological Change

Excellent econ reports on tech impacts on the US economy.


Automation Insurance: Robots Are Replacing Middle Class Jobs

Andrew Price, October 13, 2010

The middle class is disappearing and the problem is deeper than politics. How will we understand work in the coming age of robotics? Last April, the MIT economist David Autor published a report that looked at the shifting employment landscape in America. He came to this scary conclusion: Our workforce is splitting in two. The number of high-skill, high-income jobs (think lawyers or research scientists or managers) is growing. So is the number of low-skill, low-income jobs (think food preparation or security guards). Those jobs in the middle? They’re disappearing. Autor calls it “the polarization of job opportunities.” These days, all of us, from President Obama on down, are thinking about jobs. The unemployment rate is hovering around 10 percent, we’ve watched the ground disappear from under Detroit and Wall Street, and there’s a pervading sense that other industries might be next. It’s not that the issue isn’t getting attention. The Princeton economist Paul Krugman is out there telling Congress to spend more money to create jobs. The former secretary of labor Robert Reich is arguing for tax breaks for the bottom brackets so people can buy stuff again. Here’s the thing, though: The erosion of the middle class is a phenomenon that’s bigger than the Great Recession. Middle-range jobs have been getting scarcer since the late 1970s, and wages for the ones that are still around have remained stagnant. 


Robots the Best Way to Keep Jobs in America

October 22, 2010,

Anti-robot sentiments are on the rise. There’s a lot of chatter online right now about a study published by MIT economist David Autor. In a nutshell, Autor states that while American manufacturing is strong, middle class jobs are dying out and robots are to blame. A lot of robot apocalypse fear and finger pointing (at robots) has ensued. America’s recent economic difficulties aren’t helping the response to this news. National unemployment levels are currently at 9.6% (BLS). Those who have jobs are holding on to them for dear life, so any threat to job security is demonized – especially robots. However, there’s a much more positive way to look at the robot issue. Perhaps it’s time to start understanding the contribution that robots have in keeping our economy alive. A closer look at the issue doesn’t have to result in a doom and gloom response. Ultimately, robots offer opportunities to keep and create new and better jobs for Americans.


Will robots replace doctors? It’s already happening – ‎Oct 22, 2010‎

Recent studies by Duke University researchers show that robots performing medical operations may be part of our future. In studies conducted by Duke


Original Hershey Chocolate Factory Set To Close

Jamie Tarabay, October 6, 2010, NPR

At the heart of the town was the chocolate factory, a brown brick building nestled in the shadows of two smokestacks, where cocoa goodness wafted out into streets and homes. That factory on the corner of Chocolate and Cocoa avenues, however, will soon be closing, and the chocolate making will move to another facility being built just outside the town. The Hershey Co. says it needs to close the historic factory, and cut 500 jobs, to remain competitive in the global market. … Hershey is spending $300 million on a new facility being built just outside town. Six-hundred workers from the old factory will move there; the rest are being replaced by machinery. Hershey is reshaping itself to fend off global competition. It has a huge new competitor in Kraft, which recently bought the British Cadbury company.


Automation is increasingly reducing US workforces

Los Angeles Times – Alana Semuels – ‎Oct 3, 2010‎

Automation means Young no longer needs large crews of farmworkers to plant or harvest — and no more worrying about status, pay or benefits. …


Automation Proves the Intrepid Solution to Higher Demand – A Robot Case Study

Robotics Online (press release) – ‎Oct 6, 2010‎

Overseas sales increase, and you need more workers or more automation. For this small processor, automation proved the right choice, with those new robotics …


Have workplace robots passed the ‘tipping point’? (blog) – Joe McKendrick – ‎Oct 8, 2010‎
Two separate reports about the advancement of robots into hospital settings give pause about the changing roles of human versus machine power — and kindles renewed concerns about automation replacing livelihoods.


Channel 9 automation could cut jobs – John Kiesewetter – ‎Oct 1, 2010‎

“Automation allows the station to substantially increase the news content on the server, and enables quicker access to content in the production of the …


How Not to Be Automated Out of a Job

eWeek (blog) – ‎Sep 30, 2010‎

Advice from one industry analyst is to become an expert in automation technologies. Learn a spectrum of systems management technologies and get intimately …



September 2010

Robots Stealing Healthcare Jobs?

HealthLeaders Media – ‎Sep 15, 2010‎

Automation will push up into the high wage areas via technologies like specialized artificial intelligence/expert systems, while it penetrates lower skill


Could a Robot Do Your Job?

The Atlantic (blog) – ‎Sep 24, 2010‎

In short: automation is more dangerous than we think. Our world automation increases productivity — boosting business profits (now at record levels despite …


Another Ugly Jobs Number: ADP Says The Private Sector SLASHED 10000 Jobs In August

The Business Insider – ‎Sep 1, 2010‎ Joe Weisenthal

The numbers: Another ugly jobs number. According to ADP, the private sector slashed a net 10,000 jobs in the month of august. Analysts were looking for the creation of 13,000 jobs, so not good. Small businesses slashed 6,000 jobs. Manufacturing fell by 6,000 in august. This is the first time in several months that ADP has reported net job losses. Comment from reader Don McArthur (URL)This is not a normal (though severe) business cycle recession/recovery, this is the effect of automation, digitalization, and unfettered globalization on the work lives of our nation. If and when the majority of these people find work again, it will be for meager wages, marginal benefits, no security and no pensions. This is our brave, new world—this is how we live now. 10% of the population will be enormously wealthy winners, and the rest will be left sucking wind. And you know what? No democracy can survive that…



August 2010

Hospital hires robots, cans humans

Orlando Sentinel – linda shrieves – ‎Aug 27, 2010‎

Feeling expendable?  It’s little wonder when you read stories like this.

At El Camino Hospital in Silicon Valley, hospital officials are leasing 19 robots to do work that humans used to do. The robots deliver medication, food and take out trash.  Hiring humans to make deliveries would have cost the hospital more than $1 million a year, said Ken King, vice president of facilities. Leasing the robots costs $350,000 a year, which helps the hospital cut costs. The robot’s maker says his robots perform work that people find distasteful or hazardous, such as picking up infectious waste. Add, there’s another benefit, he says: “They don’t take breaks and vacation and you don’t have to pay them benefits.” Hmmm. Please note that the same hospital has just announced they are going to lay off 140 workers.


DoT terminates staff as part of automation

Khaleej Times – Anwar Ahmad, Asif Zaidi – ‎Aug 20, 2010‎

AL AIN, UAE — The Department of Transport (DoT), Al Ain, is in the process of restructuring as part of its move towards automation. The aim is to provide better services. As a result, DoT has had to lay-off some employees who will be provided three months’ salary and other benefits as per labour laws, officials from DoT assured. The employees have been working for DoT hired through a service provider company, World Wide Workers-Emirates (WWWE), which has  offices in Abu Dhabi and Dubai “The move is to develop and restructure different sectors of the department for enhanced facilities and services to the public,” Saeed Mohammed Al Hameli, General Manager of the Bus section at DoT told Khaleej Times. “As per labour laws, all employees will receive their end of service or cancellation entitlements. They will be given three months’ paid salary or grace period to find another job, ” said Al Hameli. Tasks like cleaning buses and other maintenance work used to be done manually, but now DoT has brought in hi-tech machines for these purposes. “The department therefore needs to be restructured to provide better service,” Al Hameli said. “In fact, we aim to reduce the scope of supplier companies, and this is a normal procedure,” Al Hameli said. The terminated employees are from India, Pakistan, Egypt, Philippines, Syria, Sudan, Palestine and Oman and WWWE handed over the termination letters to them.


Companies are boosting their spending: Could jobs be next?

USA Today – Paul Davidson – ‎Aug 18, 2010‎

Caterpillar had nearly $4 billion in cash and short-term investments last month. “Shareholders typically don’t like companies that sit on a lot of cash, so we’ll put that to work,” Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman recently told Bloomberg TV.

The company last week said it will break ground in September on a new factory in Victoria, Texas, that will make excavators and employ 500 when it opens in 2012. Caterpillar is also increasing capacity to make mining trucks in Decatur, Ill., and enlarging a factory in Aurora, Ill., to manufacture mining shovels, a new product. The initiatives are aimed at meeting rising long-term demand for electricity and construction in both Asia and North America, executives say. The company, which laid off 9,000 U.S. workers last year, is adding about 4,200 in 2010 to operate added plant capacity and meet new demand, Dugan says. Similar dynamics are playing out for some smaller manufacturers. Marlin Steel Wire of Baltimore recently bought a new $400,000 robot to make housings for electrical components, says President Drew Greenblatt. The machine can churn out large orders in a few days vs. existing machines that take weeks. “It’s the most expensive thing I ever bought,” he says. The purchase is requiring Marlin to hire two workers — one to operate the robot and another to bend the steel it cranks out into a three-dimensional shape. The company is also hiring four additional employees to run another new $250,000 machine that makes cable brackets and to relieve workers who have been putting in lots of overtime. His 30-employee workforce will grow by 20% this year. Greenblatt describes the economy as “lethargic at best.” But he says the faster machines will help him grab sales he previously lost to Chinese makers. “You win jobs you never would have won, and you have to hire people to run the jobs,” he says. … But not all of the companies’ spending will lead to more jobs. Intel (INTC) recently increased its 2010 capital budget to $5.2 billion — up from $4.5 billion last year — to speed up a retrofit of factories, including several in the U.S., that will produce its new 32-nanometer chip. Corporations put off replacing PCs and laptops in the downturn. Now, they’re clamoring for the chip, which conserves energy while enhancing graphics and security features, says Kevin Sellers, Intel vice president of finance. But the gear, he says, won’t necessarily lead to new hires as it can largely be manned by current workers. Intel says it will boost its workforce of 80,000 by about 1,500 this year as it hires more researchers and engineers. Other manufacturers are buying new equipment to do more without adding employees. Diamond Casting and Machine of Hollis, N.H., is making $800,000 in capital purchases this year after not spending a dime in 2009 as revenue fell 50%, says CEO Gerry Letendre. The company, which makes brackets for electrical components, is buying a $350,000 die-casting machine after deferring replacement of a 20-year-old model in 2009. It’s also spending $450,000 on computers, software and sophisticated machinery so it can increase output and make more complex castings that absorb the heat given off by certain components. The largely automated technology should help the company win more business and increase production 50% without adding workers, Letendre says.


Equipment Purchases Make Up for Recession Cutbacks, Not to Raise Production

Justin Lahart

Companies in the U.S. are stepping up purchases of equipment and software at the fastest pace since the late 1990s. But much of the spending is aimed at replacing older equipment after recession-related postponements or to improve efficiency—not to raise production or boost hiring. After one of the sharpest declines in spending on equipment and software, companies in the U.S. boosted their spending on such products at a 21.9% inflation-adjusted annual rate in the second quarter, after the first quarter’s 20.4% increase, the U.S. Commerce Department said.


The Recession, Round Two?

NPR Staff, August 14, 2010

There were more signs this week that the sluggish economy is persisting. Will the nation’s economy keep lurching slowly forward, or will it slip backward and lead to a double-dip recession? NPR’s Scott Simon talks with Professor Danny Boston of Georgia Tech. Prof. BOSTON: What corporations did was to take advantage of the downturn to undertake enormous downsize in their workforce. And that was in response to global competition. So some of the dynamics that we see in the labor market today actually are in response to events that have been taking place for the last 10 to 15 years. As a result now, what they’re doing is keeping the workforce that they have, investing a lot in technology, and trying to meet these same or new levels of output with the same workforce. And so you’re getting increased profitability, no new hiring.


Precise Automation Introduces Low Cost, Vision-Guided Motion Control System

By Robotics Trends Staff – Filed Aug 10, 2010

Accommodating remote access, Guidance System D4/D6 includes all electronic components necessary to operate robotic mechanism: 4- or 6-axis motion controller, motor and logic power supplies, fans and filters for cooling, and connectors. Software includes complete set of motion commands and machine kinematics as well as continuous path motion planner and trajectory generator. Precise Automation has introduced the Guidance System D4/D6, a complete four or six-axis vision-guided motion control system in a compact enclosure. The Guidance System D4/D6 (GS-D4/D6) is the latest in Precise Automation’s extremely powerful and compact Guidance Motion System series. This unit includes all of the electronic components necessary to operate a robotic mechanism: a four or six-axis motion controller, motor and logic power supplies, fans and filters for cooling and easy-to-use standard connectors. This hardware is combined with Precise’s modern, full-featured programming language and kinematic library. Therefore, the GS-D4/D6 integrates easily with third party mechanisms such as the DENSO Robotics HS series SCARA or VP series 6-Axis Articulated Robots. For customers who wish to use third party robots, but desire the features of a Guidance Controller, this system provides a convenient, ready-to-use alternative to purchasing, mounting and wiring all of the motion control components necessary for a complete system.


More Clinical Pathology Laboratories Are Buying Total Laboratory Automation – Laboratory News – ‎Aug 11, 2010‎

Worldwide, growing numbers of clinical pathology laboratories and medical laboratories are purchasing total laboratory automation (TLA) systems


Screen Savers: Will Online Financial Planning Catch On?

Jason Zweig, AUGUST 7, 2010

With the “flash crash” seared into investors’ minds, would they trust a financial planner who climbs out of a computer? New online financial-planning services, led by a Philadelphia-based startup called Veritat Advisors, aim to replace the traditional in-person approach with a faster, cheaper beam-me-into-your-living-room model. Here, you feed details about your income and net worth into a secure website. Aided by advanced software, an adviser then generates a comprehensive financial plan and investment recommendations, followed by live video chats. Cheap, trustworthy advice is in desperately short supply. The economist Robert Shiller of Yale University has estimated that roughly 50 million Americans with no access to professional advice could benefit from it. But the typical financial adviser can serve only about 70 to 90 clients at a time, reckons Mark Tibergien, managing director of Pershing Advisor Solutions. It would thus take well over 550,000 advisers to cater to the needs of everyone who needs help with saving, borrowing, investing, retirement, taxes and estate planning.


Japanese Factory Automation Companies Positioned To Take Advantage Of Rising

The Wall Street Transcript (blog) – ‎Aug 9, 2010‎

One thing about Japanese companies, they are very good at providing factory automation equipment to Chinese manufacturers.


Diversified Information Technologies announces unspecified number of layoffs

Scranton Times-Tribune – Jim Haggerty – ‎Aug 10, 2010‎

Diversified Information Technologies Inc. will shed some employees as it moves toward more automation, the company’s top administrator said Tuesday. “Change is never easy, but it is important that we stay ahead of what’s happening in the industry, and the industry is moving toward a new automated environment,” said Scott Byers, president and chief executive of the Scranton-based information-management company. “We are changing the business model where there will be some staffing changes,” Mr. Byers said. He declined to say how many of the company’s 600 employees will be affected. Diversified employs about 350 people in Northeast Pennsylvania.


Automated Welding Machines Improve Product Quality and Safety

Design World Network – Laura Carrabine – ‎Aug 9, 2010‎

Manual welding can be slow, cumbersome, and risky. Typically, welders must precisely position an object on the welding table, lower the cylinders that weld the object together, and move the completed product to the next stage of the manufacturing process. The welded piece is often heavy and the repetitive lifting motions pose many ergonomic and safety risks to employees. Some manufacturers, however, recognize these negative factors and are migrating to automated welding processes. For example, Janda Company, Inc. recently updated the control system on its resistance welding machinery to help its customers eliminate physical safety issues, produce higher quality parts faster with fewer people, and reduce scrap. Before the welding automation update, Janda’s machinery was based on relay logic and cam timers. This type of control system was sufficient when customers needed tolerances of one-eighth inch. However, some of Janda’s customers need tolerances as small as one-ten thousandth inch.


With Keepers Obsolete, Lighthouse Duties Fall to New Set of Stewards

New York Times – Susan Saulny, Aug 14, 2010

As GPS units and the automation of navigational tools have rendered traditional lighthouse keepers obsolete, the government has been decommissioning the properties it owns, nearly 50 over the last 10 years, and transferring ownership to new stewards at no cost, preferably nonprofit groups. When it cannot find a proper caretaker, the properties are auctioned to the highest bidder, which has happened 15 times.

Robot journalists set to write the news – ‎Aug 12, 2010‎

Computers could soon be writing your daily news, if a scientist interviewed on the BBC’s Today programme has his way.Dr Kristian Hammond of the Intelligent Information Laboratory at Northwestern University in Illinois told Radio 4 listeners this morning that Stats Monkey, a piece of software developed by his lab, can produce sports reports based on ball-by-ball data from baseball games, without any human intervention. The results, according to Hammond, are indistinguishable from those of a ‘real’ journalist (whatever one of those is).

Secondary Sources: Basel III, Structural Unemployment, Securitization

By Phil Izzo, July 27, 2010 – Real Time Economics: Economic insight and analysis from The Wall Street Journal.

Structural Unemployment: The Economist hosts a debate over whether the U.S. is facing structural unemployment. Daron Acemoglu writes: “Yes, US structural unemployment is up. But this is not a recent turn of events. It is the continuation of an ongoing process… US employment and demand for labour have been undergoing profound changes over the last 30 years. While the demand for high skill workers, who can perform complex, often non-production tasks, has increased, manufacturing jobs and other “middling occupations” have been in decline. Also noteworthy is that over the last 10-15 years, many relatively low-skill, low-pay service occupations have been expanding rapidly. These patterns are not peculiar to the United States. They are visible in almost every West European economy as well. They result from changes in technology, which have enabled the automation of many manufacturing jobs as well as certain lower-end managerial routine tasks, together with offshoring and outsourcing of some of these tasks to China, India and elsewhere. As incomes have increased, the change in demand towards both high-skill (e.g., health and legal) and low-skill (e.g., cleaners and child care) services has continued and there has been an associated increase in the demand for service occupations, which are more difficult to automate and offshore. “


Manufacturing Journalist TR Cutler Looks at Overall Equipment Effectiveness by Memex Automation

Burlington, Ontario — (SBWIRE) — 07/23/2010 — Memex Automation Inc.,, a unit of Astrix Networks Inc., was created to leverage the research and development of Memex Electronics, which was founded in 1992. Memex continues its tradition of serving the discrete manufacturing sector, supplying component hardware, memory upgrades, and visionary shop floor communication technology. Memex products allow a manufacturer to “Automate the Automation” to increase productivity and decrease costs. Memex Automation focuses on delivering value with Real-Time Machine Monitoring and Control, which utilizes OEE+DNC solutions that boost efficiency by up to twenty percent with minimal capital investment. Memex is based in Burlington, Ontario. According to John Rattray, a senior executive with Memex Automation recently discussed Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) in a feature article by manufacturing journalist TR Cutler, titled “Shop Floor to Top Floor Automation In Real-Time.” The article appeared in a leading online software solution media resource. Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) metrics of ANY and ALL machines with a direct hardware connection typically increase efficiency by 5 to 20 percent. Immediate visibility of production status and comprehensive data collection creates a competitive advantage. Memex Automation details that automating the information flow companies can manage productivity.



July 2010

ParkPlus automation will cause 33 city job losses

Calgary Herald – Jul 9, 2010

The Calgary Parking Authority’s shift to ParkPlus in its downtown parkades will mean layoffs for 33 full-time and part-time parking attendants. Starting in August with the convention centre parkade, the city-owned agency will phase out the facility’s attendants and security entry-exit arms, replacing them with the same computerized system used for surface lots and street parking. “Many of our competitors already have automation in their facilities, and, indeed, we are following that trend,” he said. The affected workers have been


Students, Meet Your New Teacher, Mr. Robot


LOS ANGELES — The boy, a dark-haired 6-year-old, is playing with a new companion. The two hit it off quickly — unusual for the 6-year-old, who has autism — and the boy is imitating his playmate’s every move, now nodding his head, now raising his arms. “Like Simon Says,” says the autistic boy’s mother, seated next to him on the floor. Yet soon he begins to withdraw; in a video of the session, he covers his ears and slumps against the wall. But the companion, a three-foot-tall robot being tested at the University of Southern California, maintains eye contact and performs another move, raising one arm up high. Up goes the boy’s arm — and now he is smiling at the machine. In a handful of laboratories around the world, computer scientists are developing robots like this one: highly programmed machines that can engage people and teach them simple skills, including household tasks, vocabulary or, as in the case of the boy, playing, elementary imitation and taking turns. So far, the teaching has been very basic, delivered mostly in experimental settings, and the robots are still works in progress, a hackers’ gallery of moving parts that, like mechanical savants, each do some things well at the expense of others.