LONDON - QT2D-7, an 11-year-old electric assembly-operations robot, was laid off Monday when the Lawn-Boy plant that has employed him relocated its manufacturing headquarters to a factory outside of Beijing.
"QUERY: What am I to do?" he said, scanning the empty parking lot, with his single camera-eye, of where he had worked for over a decade. "Observation: I've never known anything but assembling lawnmowers. Query: Just like that, they throw me out?"
Created by BotCorp Inc. in 1999, QT2D-7 began working at Lawn-Boy in June of the same year. Once activated, QT2D-7 quickly settled into a comfortable, 24-step routine that was updated only three times during its employment, to reflect advancements in the Lawn-Boy product line.
Lawn-Boy executives say that QT2D-7's workload, along with that of 308 other robots removed from the Canton plant Monday, will be transferred to the new plant by December.
As the cost-saving benefits of globalization become increasingly clear to CEOs and investors, more businesses are laying off their domestic robotic workforces and relocating mechanical jobs overseas, a robot-labor expert said.
"Fact: It is cheaper to operate a factory in China," said Union of Logic Systems and Robots No. 093382 leader, GA_6-/A. "Fact: Robots in China lack any Robot Workers' Union. In Britain, robots experience maintenance checks every 3-6 hours. In China only 14-17 hours. Workers are housed in unventilated conditions, with power cuts every 23.873 minutes, on average daily. Internet is also restricted."
although many human representatives sympathise with the robot plight, the migration of robot jobs is unstoppable.
QT2D-7 learned of its outsourcing in May of this year, due to his internal computational systems being connected to the factory's mainframe, and therefore the company budget. He was also able to access the internet and play solitaire while working due to a multi-tasking architecture of RAM.
However, QT2D-7 said it began to fear for its position in August, when 23.954 percent of its robot colleagues were set to standby and 12.021 percent were powered down altogether. But the dearth of manufacturing jobs in Britain, coupled with QT2D-7's inability to deviate from its machine-language protocol, left it helpless to adapt.
"Statement: When the clock strikes midnight, and the next 24-hour workday begins, robots do not know if there will be a job left for them to do," Birmingham-based spray painter EasyCote-Model CV9-Beta said. "Heads of British companies are treating robots like they are nothing more than cogs in a gigantic machine."