Robots won't kill the workforce. They'll save the global economy.

Ruchir Sharma for The Washington Post:  The United Nations forecasts that the global population will rise from 7.3 billion to nearly 10 billion by 2050, a big number that often prompts warnings about overpopulation. Some have come from neo-Malthusians, who fear that population growth will outstrip the food supply, leaving a hungry planet. Others appear in the tirades of anti-immigrant populists, invoking the specter of a rising tide of humanity as cause to slam borders shut. Still others inspire a chorus of neo-Luddites, who fear that the “rise of the robots” is rapidly making human workers obsolete, a threat all the more alarming if the human population is exploding.

Before long, though, we’re more likely to treasure robots than to revile them. They may be the one thing that can protect the global economy from the dangers that lie ahead.  Cont'd...

Blockchain plus 3D printing equals 'smart manufacturing' and Ethereum you can touch

Ian Allison for International Business Times:  Genesis of Things is a new "smart manufacturing" company which leverages intellectual horsepower from members of the Ethereum community.

This young company, established and launched just a few weeks before DevCon2 in Shanghai, has produced a tangible proof of concept in the form of a set of 3D printed titanium cufflinks inscribed with a QR code and bearing the insignia of the Ethereum logo.

Genesis of Things combines 3D printing, blockchain and IoT in a virtuous, futuristic flow that re-imagines manufacturing processes. The company is in stealth right now and more details about how it operates and possible use cases will be released going forward.

It should be repeated that the cufflinks pictured are a proof of concept; this is not a commercial product but rather a limited edition to show the potential of the technology.  Cont'd...

How Small Manufacturers Can Leverage Smart Manufacturing

Andrew Waycott for Industry Week: I see three ways in which smaller manufacturers can leverage Smart Manufacturing.  The first is the way applicable to all manufacturers—using today’s affordable sensors to get better data, then using that data to fine-tune the process, decrease variability and remove bottlenecks. All of these bring costs down and drive quality up.

Now let’s talk about the other two ways—ways that are specific to the smaller manufacturer.

Smaller manufacturers have the edge in building volumes of one—in other words, customized orders. For many smaller manufacturers, the look is less assembly line and more set of work stations. This means that the operator in a smaller plant typically makes more decisions. It’s a more people-oriented process.  Cont'd...

U.S. manufacturing isn't dead; factories are running at close to a record pace

Rex Nutting for MarketWatch:  U.S. manufacturing sector doesn’t get any respect.

Ask a random sample of people on the street and you’re likely to hear that America doesn’t make anything anymore, that China, Mexico and Vietnam took all of our factories, and that the only jobs left in America are flipping burgers and cleaning hotel rooms.

“Throughout history, at the center of any thriving country has been a thriving manufacturing sector,” says presidential candidate Donald Trump. “But under decades of failed leadership, the United States has gone from being the globe’s manufacturing powerhouse — the envy of the world — through a rapid deindustrialization.”  Cont'd...

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