The Robot Revolution: Automation Comes into Fashion | Moving Upstream
The automation Revolution is beginning to come into fashion The clothing industry is among the latest economic sectors to be making the leap Which is ironic because it was among the first to be mechanized today they still require Skilled human hands to guide and handle the materials In this episode of moving upstream our third on the robotics revolution Looking at what these new cutting-edge technologies can do and the impact they're beginning to have on the developing world Across the globe 60 million people toil each day in the garment industry It offers the poor poor women in particular job opportunities they might not have otherwise The journal visited garment factories in Bangladesh They employ more than three and a half million people most working for a little more than the country's minimum wage around sixty four US dollars a month and sometimes toiling under conditions that endanger their lives There has been another horrific incident at a garment factory in Bangladesh at least a hundred and twelve people died hundreds of injured were rushed from the scene Now a new threat is emerging to workers livelihoods Machines that automate parts of the clothes making process This german-made robot for example is knitting sweaters for brands like H&M and Zara in January WS J's John amant visited garment factories in Bangladesh I would visit factories in Dhaka where workers would work manually to make sweaters while automated machines would also work to do the exact same thing and It was quite clear that the workers were going to be replaced by these machines, and I would ask the workers Are you afraid that your jobs would be taken away by the automated machines, and they would say yes? We're scared until recently machines lacked the versatility the dexterity to handle soft materials, and that comes naturally to humans, but thanks to machine learning and other forms of AI What you're seeing here? May be just the tip of the needle New types of machines capable of ever more complex tasks are on the way Machines like these threatened to make the situation worse for a country in dire need of more jobs Bangladesh according to the World Bank needs to add 2 million jobs a year to keep pace with its expanding labor force, but the number of new jobs added by the garment rate has fallen to 60,000 a year When you zoom out a bit you see a region bursting at the seams with people needing work Close to a million individuals are projected to enter the workforce here every month for the next two decades by one estimate if automation Reaches its potential some countries could lose more than 80 percent of their garment textile and apparel Manufacturing jobs, how worried are you for countries like Bangladesh? I'm very worried It's given that their economy is dominated 85 percent by the garment industry Carrie Northland a professor at Brown University teaches about the impact of Globalization on women because women have these jobs and often are the sole breadwinners for their families the sole breadwinners, that's right They've been able to lift their families out of the depths of poverty those low-skilled jobs may become extinct very soon Erik Brynjolfsson who studies the economic impact of what he calls the second Machine Age Thinks the only solution for these countries is Education they're gonna have to leapfrog and get up to the level that Europe the United States Japan and other advanced countries have and that's not an easy task Technology can help there, too We have online programs at MIT MIT before anything literally that's right a lot of these women have very basic Basic reading basic math skills, so where will these women go will they have opportunities for retraining.
This is the open question? Fortunately for them societies that employ massive armies of sewers still have some time Autonomous sewing machines aren't nearly as far along as say autonomous vehicles On a recent trip to Japan we visited a company that's been taking intermediary steps in the autonomous direction That's where we visited you hub a company that's been working for decades on the challenge of replacing sewing machines with machines that do the show This is akikusa Takagi the 77 year old founder and chairman of juha machine all wound up with on a night So I thought what a nice so you know whatever.
I next ride is so focus or you like yoga overnight? euros machines automate some of the more time-consuming steps You know they compute You all suggested that we visit a place where we could see some of its machines in actual practice They sent us to a prison What kind of uniforms are they making here k mikanos a school jose sales at Nagasaki prison in Japan euros machines help the inmates whose faces the prison authorities required us to blur meet their daily quotas and How much training do you need to be able to use one of these? They use this one for example to add pockets to uniforms a job that would otherwise take Three people and a lot more time to complete the inmates must produce at least 50 pairs of pants and coats or day you hose owner tells us his machines are used in China Where labor costs are rising to help make clothes for Uniqlo, but the developing world hasn't been all that interested He says because the price tag for them is so high Cost is one reason why automation in the garment industry may take root first in the West One US company called software is aiming to do something uooo has not Removing almost entirely human involvement in the process of making to start with t-shirts The company provided this footage of its prototype sohbats software touts that it's so bots and will bring garment production back to America by the end of 2018 it plans to open a factory in Arkansas capable of cranking out over a million t-shirts a year at Prices the company says are on par with the lowest wage countries So the day when sohbats from start to finish can produce articles of clothing appears to be not so far upstream What do you think will these technologies have a dramatic impact on the US and on the developing world we'd love to hear your comments.