Baxter goes to Connecticut

The day of reckoning for new, low-cost labor-replacer robots such as Baxter arrives when the specimen shows up in a factory floor where the owner will make the decision only based on the sterile rationality of cost and profit. MIT’s Technology Review article last month about Baxter in a small factory has some very important lines- from the fact that two-thirds of lost manufacturing jobs in the US recently were due to higher productivity rather than offshoring; and that Baxter is so inexpensive that if it really can do one person’s job, the factory will adopt it and reduce headcount right quick. When these dominoes begin to fall, I believe we will accelerate relatively rapidly toward a robot future in which small manufacturing’s identity as a major employer might change quickly.

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