How else do you explain why Apple plans to bring Mac manufacturing back to the U.S.? It’s math. Robots are even more efficient and accurate than Chinese labor. Should we be worried that Apple might start the I, Robot generation?
I Think, Therefore, I, Robot
Manufacturing is beginning to complete the circle. Where there once were plenty of manufacturing jobs in the U.S., including Apple products, jobs were shipped overseas.
Why? Lower labor costs. Lower taxes (or tax breaks). Greater efficiency. Proximity to abundant resources. For many companies, including Apple, manufacturing is simple math.
Apple is bringing Mac manufacturing back to U.S. shores because the efficiency of robotics can lower costs and improve profits. The manufacturing playing field is becoming level again.
Apple’s newfound love of the U.S. reminded me of Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot, the short story series from the 1950s (and the Will Smith movie, which I saw before reading the book).
In I, Robot, robots run and do everything, and damage humankind in the process. Who needs skilled human labor when the robotic labor works for less, does more, and does it better?
To ensure that robots would not rise up to conquer humans, Asimov devised the Three Laws of Robotics.
- A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
- A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
- A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.
Increasingly, we loyal Apple customers have come to rely upon our iPhones and iPads and Macs to handle a multitude of daily tasks. Where will that end?
Apple’s devices remember what we cannot and keep us organized and informed, and important data is synchronized automatically between devices, always available to us, ever reminding us.
Let’s assume for a moment that Apple’s next great thing truly is a television or a device that connects to a television (Apple TV) and brings us more content, easier and faster than ever.
Then what? What’s left for Apple to conquer?
Didn’t the robots in the movie I, Robot look as if they were designed by Apple’s Jonathan Ive? Honestly, they were so Apple-like I looked for the familiar Apple logo.
Siri may make a good intelligent assistant on devices we carry around or sit and use, but a personal robot that performs mental feats and physical feats brings a whole different level of interaction to humans.
Who wouldn’t want an Apple-produced, Jonathan Ive-designed personal robot? Siri’s cumulative artificial intelligence, combined with robots that bring a new life to Made In America may truly be the next insanely great thing, and it’s likely to change humanity.