Boeing gives pink slips to robots, trying out ‘humans’

Nov 14, 2019, 1:17 PM

Layoffs are generally a bad thing, except when they happen to robots. Apparently predictions of the great artificial intelligence world takeover were a little premature.

Boeing gave their large-scale robotic system the old heave-ho recently after years of messing up the assembly of the 777X fuselage. They plan to defy convention and actually use human machinists to do the job, who probably taunted the robots on their way out. Fortunately the robots were unaffected since they lack emotion chips.

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The robot employees were tasked with stitching large curved metal panels together for the fuselage, along with drilling holes and applying fasteners, reports The Seattle Times. The robots worked on both sides of the fuselage section; one would insert a rivet while the other fastened it in, all while not exchanging a single word of friendly workplace banter.

Though that may sound like a simple enough task, the robots couldn’t handle it and often damaged the fuselages like klutzes, leaving them incompletely assembled and requiring humans to cover for them. It costs the company millions. Boeing will now to use humans in their place, but will allow the robots to complete smaller-scale tasks like drilling holes and maybe vacuuming up afterwards.

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This is the second instance of bad news for robots in the past few months after Terminator: Dark Fate failed at the box office.

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Boeing gives pink slips to robots, trying out ‘humans’