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EU Launches World's Largest Civilian Robotics Program; 240,000 New Jobs Expected

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the skynet-will-have-a-weird-accent dept.

EU 171

Hallie Siegel writes: "The European Commission and 180 companies and research organizations (under the umbrella of euRobotics) have launched the world's largest civilian research and innovation program in robotics. Covering manufacturing, agriculture, health, transport, civil security and households, the initiative – called SPARC – is the E.U.'s industrial policy effort to strengthen Europe's position in the global robotics market (€60 billion a year by 2020). This initiative is expected to create over 240,000 jobs in Europe, and increase Europe's share of the global market to 42% (a boost of €4 billion per year). The European Commission will invest €700 million and euRobotics will invest €2.1 billion."

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171 comments

240,000 jobs for robots? (-1)

tlambert (566799) | about 2 months ago | (#47157837)

240,000 jobs for robots?

Re:240,000 jobs for robots? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47157885)

LOL as if the EU's unemployment rate wasn't dismal enough ... their going to automate themselves right into a depression! Enjoy the fruits of your labors.

Re:240,000 jobs for robots? (2, Insightful)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 months ago | (#47157913)

Automation improves productivity. By your logic, ancient agrarian economies should be strived for because everyone had a chance to work his ass off. I mean, what does it matter how little wealth was actually produced with that, right?

Re:240,000 jobs for robots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47158015)

Automation improves productivity

Prove it.

The reality is, automation has about the same effect as off-shoring on productivity ... the jobs go away and don't get replaced.

You end up with fewer people working and no new jobs coming in to replace the lost ones. Then you get a bunch of people who have no jobs, and your overall productivity goes down.

Pretty much exactly what's happening in America and around the world.

Automation and off-shoring both might improve productivity in specific cases, but the broad impact on society has the opposite effect.

Re:240,000 jobs for robots? (5, Insightful)

aix tom (902140) | about 2 months ago | (#47158209)

It worked pretty well as long as there were still "new products" that could be sold, and the people building that products (cars, washing machines, TVs) where essentially roughly the same segment of the population that actually bought them in the end. Then every increase in productivity meant an increase in wealth.

Back then the economic motor was "build more stuff that people actually want to buy". which is in my opinion the only reason that can make commerce prosper.

"Make more money" and "Create more jobs" goals are in my opinion just as worthless as economic motors as the old communist "Make everybody equal" goal. Neither of those actually CREATES wealth, only building new stuff that people actually want that actually winds up in the hands of most of the populace creates wealth. The trip that most "make money" companies these days are on (produce in low-wage countries, sell in high-wage countries) will someday come to an end when the former high-wage countries collapse. It's just a matter of time and a matter of how big a bang they create when they go down.

Re:240,000 jobs for robots? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47158921)

The funny thing is that a new group of companies such as Tesla have been hitting the US industrial scene, which have as their first item making compelling and unique products, and the world is eating that up. It turns out consumers don't care about shareholder value and Marginal Value, they want good products for reasonable prices.

Automation tech is part of this push, and I wonder how long it will be until the GMs and IBMs of the world will collapse, as they cannot compete against companies that put quality over making a quick buck.

Re:240,000 jobs for robots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159009)

Tell that to Google, Apple, and Tesla shareholders...

Re:240,000 jobs for robots? (4, Interesting)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 2 months ago | (#47158239)

Prove it.

Horse whip makers were once made obsolete, but the automation that replaced them (automobiles. Auto is right in the name!) created an industry that is now many orders of magnitude larger than the horse whip industry ever was.

The reality is, automation has about the same effect as off-shoring on productivity ... the jobs go away and don't get replaced.

Maybe your job goes away. As a roboticist, I get even more job opportunities. Sorry you chose the wrong field. For those who were made obsolete by robots, well that's progress. Maybe they can retrain as someone who repairs the robots that replaced them.

Re:240,000 jobs for robots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47158533)

This is an unbelievably short sighted point of view. The vast majority of work available for people throughout the world is manual labor, including trades. These are exactly the kinds of jobs that are being targeted by automation. Robots will be repaired by robots. If you can't see that coming then I wonder if you've given much thought to this issue at all. The past is certainly a useful tool for predicting the future, but you really need to consider if the coming change is of the same type or not. In this case, replacing horse drawn carriages with cars was of the same type. Replacing manual labor with robotics is not. Comparisons between the two are pointless.

Re:240,000 jobs for robots? (4, Insightful)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 2 months ago | (#47158673)

The vast majority of work available for people throughout the world is manual labor, including trades

And most of that work isn't going away in the near future. With the current state of robots, you're talking about taking away the most dull, dangerous, and dirty jobs out there. Some robots will even have jobs that humans aren't capable of doing because they are so dangerous or dirty. Any jobs for these robots will be a net gain in employment, creating jobs surrounding and supporting the robot that were not possible before.

Again, as for those replaced by robots, well, tough. Your job is now done by a machine. Find something else to do.

If you can't see that coming then I wonder if you've given much thought to this issue at all.

If you think that's coming any time in the near or even distant future, you have absolutely zero knowledge of what robots are actually capable of. As someone who designs robots for a living, you can rest assured that humans will be the ones designing and repairing robots for a long time to come.

In this case, replacing horse drawn carriages with cars was of the same type.

It was the same "type" insofar as both made you go forward faster than walking. That's about where the similarities end between the horse/buggy industry and the automobile industry. Horsewhip makers really have no transferrable skills in a world where horsewhips don't make cars go faster. And yet the world moved on. Shocking.

Re:240,000 jobs for robots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159007)

I don't disagree with you that this is not a near term phenomenon, but that seems to be your only counter argument to the concerns others are expressing about the impact on the real job market in future. There have been many rapid technological changes in the past. Can't see any reason to assume that there couldn't be some in this field sooner that even you imagine.

Re:240,000 jobs for robots? (2)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 2 months ago | (#47159513)

but that seems to be your only counter argument to the concerns others are expressing about the impact on the real job market in future.

Because we're talking about different degrees of "future", one of which is much closer than the other, and is therefore practical to consider while the other is at this point a fairy tale. When you talk about robots repairing themselves, you're talking about first diagnosing the problem, which requires logic, inference, rationalizing cause/effect, problem solving, creativity, etc. Robots of the future will be very complex, nonlinear, dynamic, interacting systems, and most likely will not be able to self-diagnose, the same way even a human cannot self-diagnose most problems. The robots I work with do some very strange things sometimes, and it takes a long time to come to the exact reason *why* it behaved as it did, and fix it, even with an intimate understanding of all the implemented systems. I can't even imagine how impossible a robot of the future will be to diagnose.

Then when you reach a diagnosis you're talking about the actual repair job, which again is a hard job that often requires some creativity and problem solving, something machines are not well suited for. We're not talking about replacing a panel and a headlight on a banged up car. We're talking about complex machines that make decisions and interact with a dynamic world in a nonlinear way. Fixing such a machine will not automatable any more than fixing a human is.

So I've used a couple of words above (creativity, problem solving, rationalization, inference) that hint at some of the deepest most profound questions of human understanding and knowledge. Talking about machines capable of these tasks is some serious science fiction. When we start talking about robots possessing these qualities, let's also start worrying about a robot apocalypse while we're at it.

Re:240,000 jobs for robots? (0)

Immerman (2627577) | about 2 months ago | (#47158871)

>Maybe they can retrain as someone who repairs the robots that replaced them.

That doesn't work. Ten people can maintain the machines that do the work once done by 100. Extend that across the economy and that means that 10% of the populace produces everything needed by 100% of it. The only way to address the imbalance is if everyone starts consuming 10x as much stuff. But to do that in a capitalist economy they need money to buy it with. Now if you could train everyone to be robot maintenance technicians that would be fine (ecological implications notwithstanding), but that's not possible - a lot of people just don't have the aptitude required for highly technical problem solving, and no amount of training will let them acquire it. We're rapidly reaching the point where if you can train an idiot to do a job, you can program a robot to do it faster, cheaper, and more reliably. And it will likely only be a matter of years after that until robots can do most of the mid-range competency jobs as well: if your job doesn't involve creative problem solving then it's probably at risk.

Of course that doesn't mean that automation is necessarily a problem - the problem is simply that the robots are all owned by a tiny minority who pocket the lion's share of the profits associated with their productivity. We could instead distribute ownership of the robots across the population in any number of ways and let the majority of people make their money the same way the elite do - by pocketing the profits of other people's (or robots') labor. It's the old capital-versus-labor battle that has been raging since capitalism was first established: if you get a paycheck then you're labor, and these days, in the US especially, most of the profits go to capital. But with widespread automation there's absolutely no reason that *everyone* couldn't be capital, with those high-demand artists and robot technicians working for supplementary income and/or the joy of the work.

Re:240,000 jobs for robots? (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 2 months ago | (#47159295)

That doesn't work. Ten people can maintain the machines that do the work once done by 100.

A couple of points here. First, it takes 10 people to maintain today's machines that do the work of 100 people. These machines, as I've posted elsewhere, are highly simplistic as far as robots go. Limited sensing and perception, limited cognition, very limited degrees of freedom, no mobility, specialized actuators, etc. Fixing simple machines is simple. A robot of tomorrow will be much more complex, requiring more people with more specialized knowledge to service them. Much like you have mechanics who specialize in transmissions, or even more aptly doctors who specialize in hearts, you will have robot "technicians" who specialize in perception, locomotion, "brains", electronics, drive systems, etc. Think about how many doctors a human needs, due to their sheer complexity. This is more along the lines of how a robot repair industry would develop.

Now if you could train everyone to be robot maintenance technicians that would be fine (ecological implications notwithstanding), but that's not possible

But not everyone needs to be a robot repair technician, just as not everyone in the healthcare industry is a doctor or surgeon. You've forgotten that a robot technician also works for a company. A robot technician would also be supported by non automatable non-technical jobs (management, sales, marketing, HR, legal... anything with a human-facing or creative component). I could even imagine different tiers of knowledge, where some technicians perform routine maintenance (like a nurse), some technicians simply diagnose (like a doctor), and some technicians repair (like a surgeon). Maybe someone replaced on the assembly line could re-train to a human-facing job that doesn't have to be highly technical. Will there be enough such jobs? I don't know, I can only guess. But I can see the job creation/destroyed ratio is much better than 10/100.

tl;dr - repairing robots is/will be a new *industry* not a new *job*.

Re:240,000 jobs for robots? (1)

gizmo2199 (458329) | about 2 months ago | (#47159597)

This doesn't make sense to me. On the one hand, a big reason for automation is that you can easily replace a broken component with another one. If an army of technicians were required to fix a robot, who would buy it? On the other, a large part of creative destruction in the modern era is that 1 new job replaces many old ones, unlike the example of the car replacing the horse an buggy. Innovation no longer replaces specialized craft-labor (required for building a buggy) with huge factories full of workers (required to assemble a car), it replaces that factory with very few specialized knowledge workers an loads of automation.

"With the current state of robots, you're talking about taking away the most dull, dangerous, and dirty jobs out there"

But we're not talking about the current state of robots, like robotic arms painting a car, with a highly specific set of pre-programmed instructions
The future of robotics alluded to here ranges from automated package delivery, robotic supermarket clerks and checkout counters, to automated fast food service.
There's no technical reason at the moment why something like an automated drive-through burger place couldn't exist

But really though, future advances in AI could even put most lawyers out of work, what with autonomous systems which fill out contracts, deeds, divorce papers, etc, jobs that are already being outsourced.

So it's pretty naive to think that only dangerous blue-collar work would be subject to robotics and automation. And it's not unreasonable to surmise that unemployment in 50 years might be 20%, a society where the wealthy build and own robots and their labor, while everyone else picks-up the scraps.

Re:240,000 jobs for robots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159039)

i guarantee you theres still a big market for horse whips in the s&m sector

Re:240,000 jobs for robots? (2)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about 2 months ago | (#47159251)

Dude, if robots didn't result in a net loss of employment, there would be no reason to buy them.

And robots are not automobiles. It's a paradigm shift. If you are a roboticist, you should be able to see that clearly.

With the Baxter (base cost $22000- can work 3 shifts- no vacations, holidays, no social security tax, no employment law compliance costs, "never" sick with a good SLA) and the

Kiva ($30,000 per unit- same benefits)

Robotic hamburger makers, robotic drink dispensers, ordering kiosks...

And others (including models that see better than humans and can throw and catch objects and have manual dexterity equal to humans) very close to production.

We are looking at machines that can replace ANY human that does repetitive manual work.

At the same time, legal work, actuarial work, and any other repetitive but non-creative is being automated from the top.

In 15 years, almost any non-creative job a human can do you will be able to automate at a cost lower than starvation / poverty level wages.

Robots are replacement humans- not automobiles. And their cost is already under $30,000 and dropping.

Re: 240,000 jobs for robots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159547)

As an MBA grad, I say make robots make themselves. Less need for roboticists.

Seriously, the EU knows it's losing ground on the robotics front to the US and Asia. As precision motors become cheap (lots of EU universities get free motors from EU companies like maxton or acs aside from unit donations from kuka and abb) and knowledge catches up in us & Asia schools, the EU is definitely losing ground...

Re:240,000 jobs for robots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47158437)

So, buggy whip makers, coal miners, butter churners, and door to door vacuum bed salespeople should be guaranteed work?

There is a balance. Automation is important, and it actually provides more skilled jobs because the peon stuff is handled without risking life and limb.

Plus, it will happen one way or another. The US needs to do the same, because the jobs fixing the robots will be somewhere... and likely in the EU, or if not there, wherever the H-1Bs are available the cheapest to bring over.

Re:240,000 jobs for robots? (1)

Krojack (575051) | about 2 months ago | (#47158291)

Tell that to the hundreds of thousands of auto workers that lost their jobs to robots since the 1980's.

Re:240,000 jobs for robots? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47158345)

Tell that to the hundreds of thousands of auto workers that lost their jobs to robots since the 1980's.

Or have had their jobs off-shored and eliminated.

To the people who lose the jobs, it's pretty much the same thing. You've been replaced with something which is cheaper and works more hours for less than you will.

Re:240,000 jobs for robots? (2)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 2 months ago | (#47158449)

And what of the millions of auto workers and those in peripheral industries who gained their jobs due to automation. I mean.... do you realize an AUTOmobile is a form of automation in itself? We automated the horse. Sure, all the horsewhip and buggy manufacturers lost their jobs, but in their place sprouted an even larger industry. I mean, there is a gas station and auto repair shop on almost every corner in my town. When robots become as ubiquitous, there will be many industries surrounding their support. Expect to see robot repair shops, with robot mechanics and technicians some time in the future.

Re:240,000 jobs for robots? (1)

Krojack (575051) | about 2 months ago | (#47158543)

My brother works as one of these "robot repair men". Him and 4 others travel between several building maintaining about 200-250 various types of robots. So what use to be ~200+ people working was chopped down to ~5 people.

These robots being maintained were most likely built on an assembly line by other robots which are most likely maintained by a hand full of people.

Re:240,000 jobs for robots? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 months ago | (#47158633)

Awesome! Now here's a wacky idea: what if we used the liberated work force to finally fix some of the externalities of our industrial societies, or pour them into the renewable energy industry and other similar industries (material reprocessing etc.), which are perhaps more labour-intensive than just a few large turbines and mines but at least we know we can keep them running longer? I mean, only in a world full of dumb people can producing wealth X with Y people be "better" than producing wealth X with Y'Y people. But I guess that's why we can't have nice things; the world is choke-full of dumb people.

Re:240,000 jobs for robots? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 months ago | (#47159751)

Sorry, that was supposed to be "than producing wealth X with Y'<<Y people". I forgot about that.

Re:240,000 jobs for robots? (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 2 months ago | (#47158819)

K. S. Kyosuke's reply mirrors some of what I have to reply to your post, so I incorporate what he posted here, but would also like to add the following:

The most deployed robots today are industrial arms like Kukas, and I suspect that's what your brother repairs. The reason for this is because they are very simple as far as robots go. The future I'm talking about will have several orders of magnitude more robots than there are today, they will be as ubiquitous as cars, and will be so complex that they make current industrial robots look like tinker toys. Given the complexity of robots of the future, I would expect the support industry around them to resemble something like the healthcare industry, filled with specialists who focus on diagnosing or repairing the brain, electronics, perception, mechanics, etc.; general practitioners who would be like your local corner auto mechanic, who could fix the common problems and give referrals to specialists; and a highly specialized components industry which would resemble medical equipment manufacturers and distributors. An industry like this can support hundreds of thousands, if not millions of jobs.

Re:240,000 jobs for robots? (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about 2 months ago | (#47159429)

And they'll be designed to make it easy to repair them. Hot swappable modules for each major component. Easily automatized repair. Most broken modules won't be repaired.
The goal will be minimal downtime (we had contracts for under 4 hours unscheduled downtime per year). So that means the entire unit, or an entire module is swapped out and the unit is functional again.

Specialists cost money and are likely to only be used in the initial design, creation, and debugging of the robots (i.e. all the creative non-repetitive parts).

Our mainframes today already self analyze and even send emails saying they need a specific part replace. Heck- our automobiles tell repairmen what part is broken.

Think of robots as humans. So any argument about robots creating more human jobs is circular. Except for creative jobs.. for now.

(and the programs and automated system replacing "smart" but non creative human jobs are not usually a robot- but any human job that is repetative and doesn't involve creativity can be replaced. High paying jobs offer a higher payoff for replacing them. At my last company, they replaced nearly 400 product and marketing analysis people with a set of programs that were going to be maintained by a few programmers in india).

Re:240,000 jobs for robots? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47159011)

And you realize we are automating the building of the automation, right?

We turn that corner in the 90's.

Re:240,000 jobs for robots? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 2 months ago | (#47158473)

Are you saying it's not true? I don't think you know what productivity means.

Re:240,000 jobs for robots? (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about 2 months ago | (#47159189)

Tell that to the luddites who died homeless and starving.

Unless we have a share the wealth with all citizens-- then productivity gains and improved living standards only matter for those who "win" the lottery.

It's probably going to come to a head over the next 20 years. Once a country reaches 20% unemployment, it must help the poor or face civil unrest.

This *could* be a utopia-- but more likely is 1% will have 90% of everything and all the benefits of automation until the requirement that you share your labor to get a part of societies benefits goes away.

Re:240,000 jobs for robots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159657)

It is hard to have unrest when you have the capability to imprison >5% of the population. If it is cheaper to incarcerate than employ a person which do you think will happen? It isn't clear that the requirement that people work for a living, will or even should go away, but that is only tangentially related to joblessness. I'm not pessimistic that people will find employment in the future. If that does happen the likely result is that the population will contract, inequality will increase and the full force of the military industrial surveillance prison complex will be turned upon the people and prevail.

Re:240,000 jobs for robots? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47157973)

Don't worry, they have socialism.

Europe is better equipped to handle the shift to automation than the US. In the end, achieving a utopia is all about the resources. If solar/fusion provide enough cheap energy, crop yields go up a bit, global population stalls out at 10-11 billion, it could work.

Re:240,000 jobs for robots? (1)

Cardoor (3488091) | about 2 months ago | (#47158355)

dont forget cats and dogs getting along. they must get along before the utopia arrives.

Re:240,000 jobs for robots? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 months ago | (#47158487)

My European dog was babysitting my European kittens once.

Re:240,000 jobs for robots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47158035)

LOL as if the EU's unemployment rate wasn't dismal enough ... their going to automate themselves right into a depression! Enjoy the fruits of your labors.

BBC2 is celebrating 50 years, and that includes 50 years of their Science/Current Affairs program Horizon. As part of that, they're showing specially selected archive programs from each previous decade. One of them, from 1974, is called The Chips Are Down.

The basic theme is that with these new-fangled microchips making computers and automation cheap, are we going to put everyone out of work? One line is, I quote "Will the unions even allow it?" The entire program was hilarious.

So, how's the 70's working out for you?

Re:240,000 jobs for robots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47158211)

Hilarious because accurate, yes?

Most jobs today are completely worthless, except that an increasing cadre of marketroids have perfected the art of selling people stuff they've never even thought about wanting. The market is mostly one big circle-jerk. And the unions did see this sort of thing coming, which is why Thatcher and Reagan crushed them.

Re:240,000 jobs for robots? (1)

HagbardMytrCeline (3481855) | about 2 months ago | (#47158705)

I for one welcome our new robotic-slaves, means the end of our slavery is finally approaching.

And I really doubt the result would have to be depression, in Europe that is. I believe the majority of people would realize that a manual-labor-economy is not well
suited for a automated-society. And to avoid the looming fear of depression most European states can simply evolve naturally from Socialism to Basic-income.

Nations that has capitalism as their state-religion will probably have not-so-bright future.

USA, i suggest you make http://www.deepleafproductions... [deepleafproductions.com] part of curriculum at all schools.

As for the rest of the world, I do not know, but good-luck.

Re:240,000 jobs for robots? (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about 2 months ago | (#47159683)

Basic income is a good path out.

The "rare" stuff will still be bid up by the 1% (like beach front property, ski lodges, premium meats, premium alcohols, etc.)

Essential problem is too many people. If we could bring the population down to 2 billion, most "rare" stuff would be plentiful. Not sure of any non-evil way to do that tho.

Re:240,000 jobs for robots? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 2 months ago | (#47158117)

No, 240,000 jobs to clean up the messes made by the robots.

Re:240,000 jobs for robots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47158215)

It's a mis-translation - 240000 people are being turned into cyborgs

Re:240,000 jobs for robots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47158231)

Yep... One for every Seattlite (sp?) who gets bumped up to $15 per hour doing work that anyone can do.

Re:240,000 jobs for robots? (1)

sdinfoserv (1793266) | about 2 months ago | (#47158335)

yes, first it will take 240,000 European people to design and build the robots.
Then the 749,000 US agriculture workers (2012 BOL numbers) in the US lose their jobs.
Then then migrant worker flow (aka Illegal aliens) decrease to near zero.
Bad or good? hmmm....

SPARC? (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 2 months ago | (#47157851)

methinks there is registered trademark in the field of digital computing circuitry for that name, which is enforceable in the EU

Re:SPARC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47158009)

Funny enough I have a Sun SPARC sitting on my desk right now.

Re:SPARC? (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 2 months ago | (#47158039)

you should get a Fujitsu one, they're better

Re:SPARC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47158025)

You thought wrong. No one is going to confuse sun CPU's with robots.

Re:SPARC? (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 2 months ago | (#47158065)

You thought wrong, SPARC is owned by Oracle, with L. Ellison at the helm. You're saying he would never sue to protect the name?

Re:SPARC? (1)

zAPPzAPP (1207370) | about 2 months ago | (#47158129)

No problem, the EU just raised 2.8 billion to pay for lawyers.

Re:SPARC? (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 2 months ago | (#47158157)

Oracle has more spare cash than that

Re:SPARC? (1)

zAPPzAPP (1207370) | about 2 months ago | (#47158249)

Maybe, but it is their cash.
One spends gov money more easily than one's own.

Re:SPARC? (1)

Bigbutt (65939) | about 2 months ago | (#47158109)

Yea? They sent a C&D to SPARKfun which got me interested in their gear :)

[John]

Re:SPARC? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47158075)

Methinks you didn't RTFA, or even TFS:

Covering manufacturing, agriculture, health, transport, civil security and households, the initiative -- called SPARC -- is the E.U.'s industrial policy effort to strengthen Europe's position in the global robotics market (â60 billion a year by 2020)

SPARC is the initiative, the industrial policy.

From the SPARC [sparc-robotics.eu] website:

SPARC is the partnership for robotics in Europe to maintain and extend Europe's leadership in robotics. SPARC aims to make available European robots in factories, in the air, on land, under water, for agriculture, health, rescue services, and in many other applications in Europe which have an economic and societal impact.

This has NOTHING to do with chip circuitry.

This is the program to promote the use of robotics.

Re:SPARC? (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 2 months ago | (#47158135)

Robotics obviously has to do due with chip circuitry in this age.

Oracle has made investments in robotics companies recently.

I say they have a basis for a suing to have the name of this program changed

Re:SPARC? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47158227)

Since this is the program initiative, and has nothing to do with the trademark Oracle owns on a CPU architecture ... they would get told to go screw themselves pretty quickly.

A trademark is only meaningful in the specific field you have it in. And the SPARC CPU has nothing specifically to do with robotics. And, it has nothing to do with multi-government initiatives to promote and develop technologies and their adoption.

In this case, SPARC is the name of the program to promote the use of robotics.

Larry Ellison can go piss up a rope. If you think Oracle filed suit against the EU for what they've named an initiative and wouldn't get thrown out of court and get their knuckles slapped, you'd be mistaken.

No more than Iggy Pop can sue you for using part of his name.

I would bet there is precisely zero legal grounds for Oracle to do anything about this.

Net jobs? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47157929)

240,000 jobs created to build robots, robots then take 24,000,000 jobs away.

God bless those Europeans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47157961)

I sure hope the little guys can pull it off!

Temporary work. Short term only. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47157981)

Each worker builds own replacement

Von Neumann? (1)

hsthompson69 (1674722) | about 2 months ago | (#47158391)

If each worker is truly building his own replacement, doesn't that mean that the replacement should also be able to build their own replacement?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V... [wikipedia.org]

Why isn't the USA doing this? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 2 months ago | (#47158001)

Can't we also be leaders in industry with public-private partnerships?

Re:Why isn't the USA doing this? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47158077)

Because if this happened both these things would happen:

1) Conservatives would yell about government interference in business.
2) Liberals would complain about corporate welfare.

Re:Why isn't the USA doing this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47158079)

USA is too busy cutting funding to science programs like NASA. Then they make claims,"Well we don't have much STEM talent." when the fact is there just aren't enough STEM jobs.

Re:Why isn't the USA doing this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47158229)

NASA has nothing to do with this and this is less of a science project as it is an engineering project.

Re:Why isn't the USA doing this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47158097)

Easy: no short-time gains.

Re:Why isn't the USA doing this? (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 2 months ago | (#47158159)

We are too busy throwing money down a green toilet that contains campaign contributors to bother with throwing money down a mechanized toilet that contains campaign contributors.

Re:Why isn't the USA doing this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159525)

the green tech is to provide energy in a way that doesn't require a dwindling resource. It dovetails nicely with an automated workforce system.

Who cares if it requires more initial resources to build a solar farm if robots mined the ore, refined the materials, fabbed the parts, assembles the final product, delivers it to the end user, performs the setup, and maintains and operates the system?

Using robotics to ensure employment for the masses is like using nuclear weapons to protect Oil fields. Using 21st century technology to protect 20 century resources, because of 19th century political ideologies.

Re:Why isn't the USA doing this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47158363)

OMG, follow in the footsteps of socialists!

Re:Why isn't the USA doing this? (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 2 months ago | (#47158485)

You mean like Green Energy partnerships? [wikipedia.org]

Re:Why isn't the USA doing this? (1)

Touvan (868256) | about 2 months ago | (#47158767)

The guys that vacuumed up all the money in the US economy through (continuing) extraction in the name of "free markets" and other cockeyed holy market nonsense, own industries other than anything that might grow and/or create jobs. So they spent all that money legally bribing elected officials to pass laws lackies for the wealthy owners of all the capital wrote, to advantage themselves over everyone else. When they still can't out compete anyone else to turn a profit, because they have a declining asset (or even industry), then they use the same levers of power to make sure no one else can rival them.

Why can Europe do it? Because they have people there organized into political parties who believe there should be something in the economy for them too, and don't just believe in holy markets for the sake of economic royalists, like we do here in the US.

But man, such consistency! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159109)

don't just believe in holy markets for the sake of economic royalists, like we do here in the US.

You're underselling US awesomeness! Just look at the awesome degree of consistency! :-

  • Belief in religion --- yes, it clearly delivers money to all who express support
  • Belief in the free market --- yes, it clearly makes money for the CEOs
  • Belief in US "democracy" --- yes, it clearly delivers money to politicians
  • Belief in transnational belligerence --- yes, it creates fortunes each time a country is invaded
  • Belief in cultural export --- yes, because the profits from selling more copies of bits are awesome
  • Belief in ... oh bugger this, anything that makes money.

Such awesome consistency, just one single metric of value (money) for the entirety of civilization. One must weep in admiration!

Re:Why isn't the USA doing this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159265)

Beoing vs. Airbus
NASA vs. ESA
Everyone vs. EADS

The US seems to do pretty well with public and private vs. public/private. Of course there's always DOE and DARPA programs that are absolutely massive and cover more than just robots.

DANGER! SOCIALISM! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47158101)

In capitalistic USA, owners keep 40 years of increasing productivity from automation for themselves.

In socialist EU, prosperity and leisure for everyone!
How horrible!

Re:DANGER! SOCIALISM! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47158943)

We got plenty of leisure here in the US out of automation. All those welfare victims who are sitting around watching Springer and drinking 40s in their trailers would have been factory workers. Instead we have a smaller workforce supporting the welfare crowd who spits on us if we want to keep a bit more of our money to make ends meet.

The future has arrived!

Re:DANGER! SOCIALISM! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159213)

Grandparent condemned the USA's economical state/powers.

Parent *seems?* like he intended to sarcastically refute him, which is to say parent meant to claim US capitalism is fine.

Except it sounds like it backfired and made the US sound like a trainwreck. Hooray, we have people living in poverty and no one is allowed to earn a slice of the affluent-only pie.

-AC.Falos

Meanwhile, back in the USA ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47158127)

"$2.8 billion invested in robotics? That's nuts! We could invade a whole new country for that, and then suck ten times as much from taxes before we pull out!"

Re:Meanwhile, back in the USA ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47158441)

""$2.8 billion invested in robotics? That's nuts! We could invade a whole new country for that"

It's almost enough to buy a headphone company. :-)

Re:Meanwhile, back in the USA ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47158625)

It's almost enough to buy a headphone company. :-)

Bizarre how things are valued, isn't it.

And meanwhile, projects that could improve the lives of hundreds of millions across the world are starved of cash, because the likelihood of profit is low.

The old jokes about "no detectable signs of intelligence on this planet" are not far from the truth, at least as far as the corporate sphere is concerned. Value to civilization is not in the business vocabulary.

Announcement coming on the heals of $15 min wage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47158175)

EU will cash in on US wage payers desire to remove the added costs associated with human employees who don't seem to get that the service they provide can and will be handled by someone else if they continue to make unreasonable demands. It's coming and the timing SHOULD be a wake up call... even if not actually related.

What an unfortunate name (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47158259)

The public associates it with the failed Sun product line that is now being destroyed by Oracle. Everyone hates Oracle, especially now that they are working so hard to steal health insurance for the working poor. I live in Portland and was denied by Oracle. They fucked us all over by doing the Republican's bidding. They want the poor to die. They let us die untreated in the halls of the ER while the wealthy whites are given gold-plated service. That is the legacy of that failed CPU. By attempting to associate this new endeavour with that failed one, it proves that these CONservatives hate technology and want to fuck us all over. It's just a scam to line their pockets.

Re:What an unfortunate name (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159133)

Oracle is not a Republican...however it does prove liberalism is a failed state...

Re:What an unfortunate name (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159731)

> liberalism is a failed state.

wat? There has never been a liberal state in the history of mankind. All we have are varying shades of CONservatism. Just look at Europe and how regressive they are. There are probably only two country-level politicians in the entire of Europe that are progressive. There are hundreds of times that many xians. The xians are the worst regressives. Most of them don't even believe the world is round, and they are all anti-science. Just look at how many scientists their kind has executed and/or arrested. One day before the end of this millennium, we may have a true liberal state. It might happen.

Training your replacement (0)

koan (80826) | about 2 months ago | (#47158317)

Is what this reminds me of.

Is this Slashdot? (4, Insightful)

ponos (122721) | about 2 months ago | (#47158337)

Everyone speaks about a possible losss of jobs or trademark issues. Am I the only one thinking that robot technology is cool? This is the kind of shit that could allow exploration of the oceans and eventually space, prosthetic help for sick people, cheaper and more efficient mass production etc. Plus, it would probably generate some interesting by-products, like advanced algorithms, maybe a new programming language or new processor types. And it gives jobs to young people with PhDs.

PS Jobs are being lost and created all the time. Think robot maintainer, robot programmer, robot police (?) (the "Turing"?), robot designer. And, anyway, if a job can be taken by a robot it probably isn't very interesting or creative to begin with. If I had a choice, I'd rather be doing the creative stuff.

Re:Is this Slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159235)

Everyone speaks about a possible losss of jobs or trademark issues. Am I the only one thinking that robot technology is cool? This is the kind of shit that could allow exploration of the oceans and eventually space, prosthetic help for sick people, cheaper and more efficient mass production etc.

On the other hand, it will cause losing people jobs. So the rich people will be exploring the oceans and stuff in order to gain even more resources, while the vast majority of people will be left out with nothing but police state that will guard the masters and their robots. Possible a police state with drones and robots. How cool is that.

Re:Is this Slashdot? (0)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 2 months ago | (#47159693)

How many of these "robot maintainers" are white/Asian, and how many are African-American/Latino?

Yeah, that's what I thought, you right-wing racist prick. All you want to do is put people who don't look like you out of a job. Fuck you.

The Wachowskis...? (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 2 months ago | (#47158347)

So the Wachowskis weren't quite as confused as they seemed? :p

I for One (1)

Prien715 (251944) | about 2 months ago | (#47158373)

I for one, welcome our robotic overlords and wish them luck in the human cloning of Apple's founder -- one Jobs wasn't enough we need 240K and that should be enough for anybody!

You've got it wrong (3)

SlovakWakko (1025878) | about 2 months ago | (#47158505)

It's "I for one welcome our commissioner-overlords and their total detachment from reality" :) I have lived in the pre-1989 Eastern Bloc and I can spot a centralistic, ineffectual project intended to just shuffle money from the taxpayers to the Brussels bureaucracy and its friends in the industry.

Re:You've got it wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159675)

This and so much this!

this is like (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47158379)

hiring Mexicans to build a fence to keep Mexicans in Mexico.

Break down of the jobs available: (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 2 months ago | (#47158439)

Grease monkeys 100,000: (job description: oil and lubricate all the joints of the robots)

Robot minders: 75,000 : (job: When the robot repeated runs into the wall while making a beeping sound, turn it around and press the restart button)

Charge nurses: 65,000: Find the robots that have run out charge while trying to navigate their way back to charging stations and replace the limp-home battery with fresh fully charged ones.

Re:Break down of the jobs available: (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about 2 months ago | (#47159299)

Hmmm.

And a year later

Robotic Grease Monkeys. Cost savings over 66% vs minimum wage.
Robotic Robot Minders. Cost savings over 66% vs minimum wage.
Robotic Charge Nurses. Cost savings over 66% vs minimum wage.

Jobs created.
72 member robotic design team. For one year.
12 member maintenance and patch team after that.

A bad idea for reasons of basic economics (0)

MSTCrow5429 (642744) | about 2 months ago | (#47158657)

This is another example of corporate welfare masquerading as a jobs plan, combined with protectionist sentiment. The central planners will take money out of the productive economy and spend it on a corporate giveaway to favoured interests. Jobs that otherwise would have been created in the productive sector will be lost, while only the 240,000 pork barrel jobs will be noticed by the superficial. Whether Europe is best positioned for the robotic industry will be ignored. Instead of this boondoggle, it would be better to leave well enough alone and let jobs be created where they are most needed, and let comparative advantage and the specialization of labor decide Europe's share of the robotics market.

Re:A bad idea for reasons of basic economics (4, Insightful)

ponos (122721) | about 2 months ago | (#47158885)

This is another example of corporate welfare masquerading as a jobs plan, combined with protectionist sentiment. The central planners will take money out of the productive economy and spend it on a corporate giveaway to favoured interests. Jobs that otherwise would have been created in the productive sector will be lost, while only the 240,000 pork barrel jobs will be noticed by the superficial.

Is there an alternative way of stimulating research in a specific field for the public good? And why wouldn't the proposed approach work? I mean, NASA went to the moon in the 60s and here we are today waiting for some billionaires who hope to one day send some rich kids at a hundred km from the earth's surface. As if that would be a great achievement. And don't even tell me who in the private sector would ever fund obscenely expensive shit like CERN or the ITER fusion reactor. The fact is, if you want basic research, government funding is extremely important. So, while the productive sector is busy developing the iPhone 6 or some other must-have "gadget", someone will have to pay for basic research if you want to get that flying car one day.

And, for what it's worth, getting EU research funding is often so hard and competitive that if you manage to obtain it, it becomes a key item in your resume. Sort of like a prize. So, I fail to see how a highly specialized research program with high barriers to entry will result in pork barrel jobs.

Re:A bad idea for reasons of basic economics (1)

MSTCrow5429 (642744) | about 2 months ago | (#47158967)

The argument is not whether or not the proposal will "work." The issue is that jobs providing products and services that consumers actually want will be reduced to pay for a robotics program that consumers do not want. This proposal evinces an antimarket bias. It also has an antiforeign bias, in that it attempts to increase market share at the expense of foreigners for no apparent reason beyond base protectionism, ignoring the benefits of comparative advantage and the specialization of labor. Instead of Europe producing what it is best position to do so and satisfying consumer demand, it will be wasting jobs and resources in an attempt to "beat" disfavoured foreigners in market share in robotics.

Re:A bad idea for reasons of basic economics (1)

galabar (518411) | about 2 months ago | (#47159289)

Oh, come now. You are total wrong here. Look how successful our solar panel manufacturers are. That would have never happened without government investment! I'm sure the same thing will happen in the EU. I mean, if government doesn't pick winners and losers, who will?

Re:A bad idea for reasons of basic economics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159369)

Having a home-grown tech industry is valuable for more than just economic reasons. Look at recent news, and you'll easily discover why you want reasonably competitive *domestic* production of equipment for computing, sensors, networking, and robotics.

killbots of the world, throw off your shunts! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159677)

An agro-bot can quickly be updated to an AGGRO -bot with a single-character patch.

Seen jobs created, unseen jobs destroyed (1)

dumky2 (2610695) | about 2 months ago | (#47158713)

As a general note, it is easy to count and publicize jobs created by government spending. But it is hard to count the jobs that would have been created had the resources been left un-taxed.
Of course, politicians like to emphasize the easily seen "created" jobs, but never mention the opportunity cost (jobs destroyed are the unseen).

The PORK oh no the PORK (1)

Kinky_B (2701909) | about 2 months ago | (#47159025)

and a thundering herd of pork barrels rolled into the EU crying out with one voice.... "FEED ME EUROPE!!! "

Re:The PORK oh no the PORK (1)

dkf (304284) | about 2 months ago | (#47159659)

That would be the farm budget; this is robotics we're talking about here.

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