Human ingenuity vs robots and automation
November 2017, I attended SOURCING at the MAGIC Show Vegas for the first time. I expected the hustle & bustle from the main exhibition to carry over into the sourcing event. Not even. The main event and sourcing event were in stark contrast to one another. The SOURCING event wasn’t crowed or packed, it was the exact opposite. It felt like MAGIC tried to spread vendors out across the space to fill it. I immediately headed towards the U.S. area to see what new technology and services were offered domestically. I was done with the U.S. section in under 20 mins. 1) Domestic sourcing was limited none, and the people representing U.S. based sourcing were really based in another country with U.S. offices. 2) The U.S boasted more automated technology and robots than solutions for the craftsman.
There was an article by Fashion for Good that position automation and robots as solutions to ethics and environmental concerns. They claim that robots and automation actually creates jobs because the machines need operators. Lets keep in mind that many factory workers do not have the education level or ‘class status’ to operate these automated machines, and would most likely never be hired for that type of position due to discriminatory hiring and workplace practices that continue to plague the technology and fashion industry. If I recall correctly, the sales rep for one of the automated systems said that just one machine operator can take the place of 8 sewing operators. He said it with a smile and it made my stomach turn. Ladies and gentleman, don’t be fooled. Automation and robots are not solutions for factory workers and craftsman, they are solutions for companies that want to cut cost by cutting people, and increase profit by decreasing the amount of responsibility and accountability.
Are there meaningful uses for automation and robots, sure. But let’s not be fooled by tech founders that position their technology products as solutions when it poses a threat to human ingenuity. When it comes to complex and intricate designs that require tacit knowledge and human interaction, nothing beats a human. We chose humans over robots. Join us.
“If you want to measure the evolution of of humans, measure by creative advancements not technological ones” – Founder, Cadeatra ‘C.’ Harvey