Trade-off between productivity gains and job losses isn't so simple

The cost of job protection

A popular view these days is that robots and labour-saving technologies are destroying jobs and creating a growing group of disillusioned people who harbour a deepening sense of alienation from society.

If true, the future indeed looks bleak.

Thursday, 20 February, 2014, 5:00am

Robots on the rise: How automated workers are replacing humans in China

Robotic arms weld cars in a factory in Zhejiang province.

Danish robot maker Universal Robots sees a potential goldmine in offering robots with a human touch to small enterprises on the mainland that are struggling with rising wages and a shortage of labour.

31 May 2013 - 10:34am

Robots on the rise in China

Illustration: Adolfo Arranz

As Liu Yilian busily hands out promotional materials at an international machine-tool show in Beijing, several industrial robots nimbly flex their long arms as they work away behind a glass wall beside her.

31 May 2013 - 6:22am 1 comment

Briefs, November 22, 2012

A ceremony for fallen Gurkha soldiers in Nepal. Photo: AFP

American DJ held for dealing drugs

22 Nov 2012 - 3:56am

Killer robots not far off, Human Rights Watch warns

A weapons-grade sentry robot from South Korea. Photo: AFP

Hollywood-style robots able to shoot people without permission from their human handlers are a real possibility and must be banned before governments start deploying them, campaigners warned.

The report "Losing Humanity" - issued on Monday by Human Rights Watch and Harvard Law School's International Human Rights Clinic - raised the alarm over the ethics of the looming technology.

21 Nov 2012 - 3:05am

Rights group calls for ban on ‘killer’ robots

The new robots could resemble the Terminator played by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Photo: SCMP Pictures

Hollywood-style robots able to shoot people without permission from their human handlers are a real possibility and must be banned before governments start deploying them, campaigners warned on Monday.

The report “Losing Humanity”, issued by Human Rights Watch and Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic, raised the alarm over the ethics of the looming technology.

20 Nov 2012 - 2:22pm

Robots are set to do more of China's dirtiest jobs

Robots work on the welding line at a Hyundai Motor plant in Beijing. Factory wages are going up as manufacturers struggle to find staff. Photo: Bloomberg

In China, there's no better time to be a robot. Pictures from this month's International Industry Fair in Shanghai show them duelling with light sabres, playing ping-pong and performing Chinese lion dances, fully costumed up. One shows a female humanoid robot in a white woollen coat shaking hands with a visitor.

8 May 2015 - 9:46am

News: wine robot

Wall-Ye at work in a vineyard. Photo: AFP

A new vineyard worker is looking for a job in France. He has four wheels, two arms and six cameras, prunes 600 vines per day and never calls in sick.

The Wall-Ye V.I.N. robot, brainchild of Burgundy-based inventor Christophe Millot, is one of the robots being developed around the world aimed at vineyards struggling to find workers.

5 Oct 2012 - 10:35am

Japan rejects PLA offer of robots to handle disaster at nuclear plant

An offer by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) to send robots designed to handle nuclear accidents to Japan has been turned down because Tokyo does not want help from the Chinese military.

16 Apr 2011 - 12:00am

Robotic approach to weight loss

Forget fad diets and expensive gym memberships, the next weight-loss tool is set to be a 27cm tall female robot called Autom.

2 Sep 2010 - 12:00am

Tickets to electronic music godfathers Kraftwerk on sale next week

It's probably the oddest oldies concert of the year. Promoter Live Nation has booked reclusive German synth outfit Kraftwerk for December 5 at the AsiaWorld-Arena. For those of you too young to recall techno even as a dance genre, Kraftwerk began in the 1970s as an experimental band generating computer music.

24 Oct 2008 - 12:00am


After the delightful, visually appealing film, Madagascar, we now have Robots - an ambitious and highly entertaining project from the makers of Ice Age.

Directed by Chris Wedge, the film focuses on Rodney (voice by Ewan McGregor), a young, enthusiastic robot who travels to Robot City to pursue his dream job of becoming an inventor.

4 Aug 2005 - 12:00am

Today's miniature robot is tomorrow's super-creep

Face it - the average robot you see on the news these days makes the Iron Man in The Wizard of Oz look incredibly sophisticated. Today's robots can only wander about, apparently afflicted by rickets, wave woodenly and make stupid statements in a thin, metallic voice.

Imagine being stuck in a lift with one.

18 Mar 2003 - 12:00am

Alien attacks

The Entity (World, 9.30pm), the story of a woman invaded by an unknown alien force, is supposed to be scary not just because of the usual special effects, but because it is based on a true story. Carla Moran, played in the movie by Barbara Hershey, was a real woman, who had a hard life raising her three children alone.

3 Jun 1998 - 12:00am