iPhone 6: At a recent shareholder meeting, Foxconn CEO, Terry Gou said that Foxconn’s longtime dream of using robots as its workforce may finally be realized.
The concept of a labor workforce first arised with the company amidst a lot of controversy.
At that time Foxconn was facing issues related to its labor policies with blames of bad labor policies and surprisingly, employee suicide reports which claimed that the company had been over burdening its employees.
Although the company at that time waved the issue aside claiming that the suicides were due to the personal problems of the victim, it fostered the idea of the robotic workforce to help existing workers.
Also, there had been an incident of over burdened workers in the factory during the manufacture of the iPhone 5c, when demands were too high to be fulfilled by the manpower strength in a limited amount of time. This further urged the company to go ahead with the concept.
Now going back to the shareholder meeting; Gou said that this concept was conceived 3 years ago but was abandoned due to some issues. However, Gou also said that at present about 10,000 robots are currently in line, waiting for their deployment, post the completion of their testing phase.
At the moment it is not very clear whether these 10,000 refer to advanced versions of the robotic arms already in use by the company or whether they mean actual robots, who can move around assisting or may be even replacing human workforce.
Code named ‘Foxbots’, these robots are claimed to be playing a major role in the production of the iPhone 6. Regardless, not all production seems to have been handed over to Foxbots – reports also claim that a massive workforce of about 100,000 humans has also been hired to carry out the production.
Such a move can be instrumental in doing away with issues as in 2012, when the overburdened workers struggled to meet targets, as a result of which many defective iPhones landed in the hands of the consumers. At this time, Foxconn was so short of targets that Apple was forced to turn towards the rival company Pegatron to help with the production of its cheaper 5C handset, easing the pressure on Foxconn and helping apple balance its supply chain.
Indeed this is dystopia, slowly unfolding in front of our very own eyes.