Motherboard Homepage

This Shanghai Factory Plans to Replace All of Its Human Workers

But what happens when we remove people from the equation?
March 6, 2017, 3:19pm

Machines thrum. Conveyors move components. A dog-size, self-driving cart hauls materials along a taped-off path. Here and there, a few people press buttons, turn wrenches, operate handheld scanners, and fold boxes. If the Cambridge Industries Group factory in Shanghai, China seems a little empty, it's on purpose. With robots handling two thirds of the labor, the facility is one of the most automated—thus, worker-free—in the global electronics industry. This factory's on track to become 90 percent automated in coming years. As soon as the technology is available, it will be 100 percent automated, with machines totally replacing human beings. CIG's Shanghai plant offers a preview of a future many government officials and everyday people fear—and which economists warn is increasingly likely as industrial robots rapidly get better and cheaper. A jobless future; one that could spark popular revolt against the leaders who let it happen. Gerald Wong founded CIG in 2005. Today the company has facilities in Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Delaware. It makes small electronics: routers, modems, and smart-home boxes, for a wide range of brands. On its website, the privately held company boasts of its "competitive advantages in technologies, leadership, and innovation." Read more on Motherboard