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Rise of Robots Revives US Manufacturing

Google's secret Silicon Valley factory represents the latest trend in U.S. manufacturers returning home from overseas — driven by rising labor costs and concerns about intellectual property in countries such as China. But the far greater change driving the revival of U.S. manufacturing comes from the rise of the machines.

Such machines include smarter factory robots, 3D printers and tiny nanotechnology swarms, said Vivek Wadhwa, vice president of academics and innovation at Singularity University, in a Huffington Post column. Wadhwa argued that U.S. manufacturing will return in a new form within this decade or the next — but without bringing the traditional jobs for humans.

Wadhwa and his fellow colleagues at Singularity University, a school for startups in Silicon Valley, have an optimistic view of that future. But they also worry about whether new, higher-skilled jobs accompanying the robot revolution can come fast enough to keep unemployed human workers off the streets. [Singularity University Founder Runs a School for Startups]

Those answers may not come easily, but there seems little doubt that the machine revolution is already happening. The U.S. military has invested in disruptive technologies such as a robot sewing machine that costs less than human workers, and has joined other government agencies in a $60 million effort to boost 3D printing that promises to turn digital designs into real objects on the spot.

Source: Huffington Post

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Live Science Staff
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