#458 May 2, 2016 – China’s Growing Robot Army

This week’s headline story: China’s Growing Robot Army

chinese_robotsChina is building a robot army for manufacturing. Despite substantial technical challenges, manufacturers in China are replacing human workers with robots at an unprecedented scale. In some ways, they don’t really have a choice. Human labor in China is no longer as cheap as it once was. Especially when compared to labor in rival manufacturing hubs like Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia, where factory wages can be less than a third of what they are in China. One solution, many manufacturers—and government officials—believe, is to replace human workers with machines.

The results of China’s robotic manufacturing army will be felt globally. Almost a quarter of the world’s products are made in China today. If China can use robots and other advanced technologies to retool types of production never before automated, that might turn the country, now the world’s sweatshop, into a hub of high-tech innovation. Less clear, however, is how that would affect the millions of workers recruited to China’s booming factories. Read all about at MIT Tech Review, linked in the sshow notes!

In other news:

  • Obama’s Weekly Address [YouTube]
    Here’s How TV Might Change if the Cable Box Goes Away [MIT Tech Review]
    President Obama has endorsed a proposal from FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, to “unlock” the set-top box market. Wheeler says new rules will save households from having to spend an average of $231 per year to rent cable boxes and “remove barriers to innovation” in devices and apps for playing cable content.

in Information Security News…

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and in Tech Industry news…

  • Twitter’s Artificial Intelligence Knows What’s Happening in Live Video Clips [MIT Tech Review]
    Live-streaming video is becoming popular due to smartphone apps such as Periscope from Twitter, Meerkat, and, most recently, Facebook Live. But live video content usually isn’t tagged or categorized very well, making it difficult toorganize and search for videos. Twitter’s AI team, Cortex, has come up with a solution. They have developed an algorithm that can instantly recognize what’s happening in a live feed. The algorithm can tell, for instance, if the star of a clip is playing guitar, demoing a power tool, or is actually a cat hamming it up for viewers. Not only will the new technology make it easier to find videos, but it will also allow Twitter to market more accuratly to video authors.
  • Carl Icahn Dumps All His Apple Shares and Makes $2 Billion [NewsFactor]
    Apple Investors Worry About Decline in iPhone Sales [NewsFactor]
    Apple’s Books, Movies Fall Victim to Chinese Crackdown [Ecommerce Times]
    Apple’s experiencing some turbulence in its sales numbers. Billionaire business magnate Carl Icahn, whose investment decisions can influence the stock market, dumped what was left of his nearly 1% stake in Apple Inc. worth $2 billion, on fears that Chinese authorities would bully the iPhone maker. Shares of Apple sunk after his announcement in a live interview on CNBC. The shares have lost 9% of their value since Apple revealed troubling first-quarter financial results, including a 26% sales drop in Greater China compared with the same period last year. According to its January forecast, Apple’s revenue is set to drop for the first time in more than a decade as iPhone sales slow.
  • Facebook’s CEO Sees Superhuman AI Within 10 Years [NewsFactor]
    Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg claims that in five to 10 years, artificial intelligence could advance to the point where computers can see, hear and understand language better than people.


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