Monday is Labour A day here in America. In most households, that means a final three-day weekend to mark the end of summer. It was a bittersweet feeling that stirred up all sorts of back-to-school excitement/fear buried deep in my lizard brain. For many, it’s neither strange nor particularly disturbing that the day has lost its meaning – that’s how society and culture work.
It also shows that America has come a long way in terms of labor since President Grover Cleveland Sign the National Day holiday into law 1894 – A dozen years later, Upton Sinclair publishes “The Jungle,” a scathing novel that is simultaneously terribly unsafe and unsanitary for America’s meat Attack from the processing industry.
When you take a day off to barbecue, go to the beach, or sit in horrific silence and have to restart school, take a moment to think about how far the workers’ rights movement has come — and how far we still need to go. (May Day too, but Here’s another newsletter conversation.) This is a topic I bring up from time to time on these pages because I think it’s at the heart of the conversation around automation and robotics in relation to human workers.
There is real — and, I think, largely well-meaning — consensus that robotics will benefit working conditions in the short term. Automating boring, dirty and dangerous jobs can significantly improve the quality of life for workers. It is also true that many of these companies are currently having difficulty filling many of these positions. There is even a compelling argument that such technologies will ultimately create more and better jobs.
The question I keep coming back to is what are we doing for these workers during the transition. Like most of you, I have some ideas but no answers. Maybe job protection, maybe training, heck, maybe social safety net or extension of UBI. Some proposals are undoubtedly more controversial than others, but now is the time to make them.
At our robotics event a few months ago, I posed this question to both parties Amazon Vice President and U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. Both sides suggest they can and should do more to prepare workers for the future. The latter says this:
The government needs to look at the way we invest in workforce development and make sure we’re putting money into good training programs, community college programs, career hubs and things like that. I think companies need to invest more in their workforce and potential workforce. This is their opportunity to create a workforce that suits them. This public-private partnership is important, but I think companies will start investing more in human capital because what they want is loyalty to the company.
As I write this, robot sales continue to hit record highs.quote some New data from the Society for the Advancement of Automation is here, the advocacy group said it hit a record high for the third straight quarter — a hopeful sign amid a deepening recession. According to the company, a total of 12,305 industrial robots were sold in North America in the second quarter, 59 percent of which came from the automotive industry. Food and consumer satisfaction increased 13% year over year in the quarter from April to June. The organization’s president, Jeff Bernstein, said:
While automotive entities have long been the frontrunners in deploying robotics and automation, food and consumer goods, life sciences and other industries have seen even higher growth over the past few years. While the quarter showed a clear shift from the historical norm, with more robots entering the automotive industry than any other industry, the continued growth in robotics at food and consumer goods companies in particular points to the continued need for warehouse logistics automation in response to the explosion in electronics. Growth – business.
Another big order on this list in the third quarter: New Jersey-based supply chain firm NFI just signed a huge deal Buy Boston Dynamics’ logistics robot, StretchThe $10 million partnership follows a $15 million BD/DHL deal announced in January. Next year, Stretch will be deployed at the NFI warehouse in Savannah, Georgia, with more locations to follow.
Boston Dynamics CEO Rob Playter said:
We designed Stretch to automate box movement, an operational and physically challenging task across warehouses. Demand for commodities continues to grow, and robots like Stretch can help NFIs alleviate some of the challenges associated with the surge in demand. Stretch makes truck unloading a safer and more efficient task, and NFI can pass that efficiency on to customers.
Some cool research here, pointed out the creation of a miniature magnetically actuated gearbox with dimensions less than 3 mm, which can be used to wirelessly control millirobots. According to the paper:
These properties allow us to implement creeping robots that can crawl on flat substrates or inside tubes, jumping robots that can adjust the jump height, gripping robots that can sample solid objects by grasping, acupuncture robots that can sample from inside a target , and a syringe robot that can collect or release liquids.
Good news for drone company American Robotics, Score The FAA exempts the autonomous operation of its Scout drones and expands commercial operations. The company noted:
The new waiver, along with American Robotics’ waiver for fully automatic beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) operations, gives the company the authority to commercially operate its autonomous reconnaissance system drones without restrictions on use.
There are two ways of thinking. One is mainly from across the Atlantic, where science fiction dominates, and the other is more realistic, dealing with possible uses related to reality.All the scientists we talked to thought [singularity] It’s a fantasy, pure and simple, it’s just marketing. We can confirm, in fact, that none of us are robots.
So don’t worry for now.
A quick note before I leave: the executor will be a day late next week (Friday) due to big apple On Wednesday I’ll be fully focused on the activity.
In the meantime, you can replace it with the Actuator Newsletter.