Hundreds of jobs will be lost as AI makes Adidas shirts much faster and cheaper


Take it or leave it, soon Artificial Intelligence will take over our jobs. That been said, a robotic sewing system will soon produce hundreds of thousands of shirts for Adidas, this will could potentially change textile manufacture.

This machine is called a “Sewbot”, it is manufactured by US company SoftWear Automation, and will improve production efficiency with a patented computer vision system. According to Soft Wear Automation,

The machines use a combination of cameras and needles to track the placement of a fabric before sewing the apparel at a reported higher level of accuracy than the human eye.

Before now, this task was best-suited to humans with sewing machines. Atlanta-based company SoftWear Automation, was awarded a $1.25 million DARPA contract in 2012 specifically to develop the technology. Chinese company Tianyuan Garments will use the bot at its plant in Little Rock, Arkansas. According to Tang Xinhong, chairman of Tianyuan:

We will install 21 production lines. When fully operational, the system will make one T-shirt every 22 seconds. We will produce 800,000 T-shirts a day for Adidas … Around the world, even the cheapest labor market can’t compete with us. I am really excited about this.

Here’s a video of Sewbot in action, it is currently making a pair of jeans

Although thousands of people will loose their jobs, it could also mean clothes — from Adidas, at least — are about to get a whole lot cheaper since robots are not paid, but maintained to so as to carryout their duties effectively. Yes there is cost to maintenance also, but is this more than putting thousands of humans to work? i think not.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is intelligence exhibited by machines. In computer science, the field of AI research defines itself as the study of “intelligent agents”: any device that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of success at some goal. Colloquially, the term “artificial intelligence” is applied when a machine mimics “cognitive” functions that humans associate with other human minds, such as “learning” and “problem solving”.

The central problems (or goals) of AI research include reasoning, knowledge, planning, learning, natural language processing(communication), perception and the ability to move and manipulate objects. General intelligence is among the field’s long-term goals. Approaches include statistical methods, computational intelligence, and traditional symbolic AI. Many tools are used in AI, including versions of search and mathematical optimization, logic, methods based on probability and economics.

Adidas AG is a German multinational corporation, headquartered in Herzogenaurach, Bavaria, that designs and manufactures shoes, clothing and accessories. It is the largest sportswear manufacturer in Europe, and the second largest in the world.

Adidas was registered on 18 August 1949 by Adolf Dassler, following a family feud at the Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik company between him and his older brother Rudolf. Rudolf had earlier established Puma, which quickly became the business rival of Adidas, and is also headquartered in Herzogenaurach.

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