This Shanghai Factory Plans to Replace All of its Human Workers

But what happens when we remove people from the equation?


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.

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