Guest essay by Eric Worrall
h/t Breitbart; As Coronavirus immigration controls and outbreaks amongst workers cuts off the supply of cheap Labor, meat packing plants are increasingly turning to robots to fill the labor shortage. But there is nothing new about labor shortages triggering a wave of innovation.
By Alicia Wallace, CNN Business
Updated 2106 GMT (0506 HKT) July 10, 2020
(CNN) Tyson Foods and other meat processors that became early hotspots for the Covid-19 pandemic are reportedly accelerating plans to have robots replace human meatcutters.
Tyson (TSN) engineers and scientists — with the help of some designers from the auto industry — are developing an automated deboning system to help butcher the nearly 40 million chickens processed each week, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
A labor shortage is behind the push to automate. Meat processing companies were already facing difficulties in recruiting workers, the Journal report said. That was made worse by the pandemic.
…Read more: https://edition.cnn.com/2020/07/10/business/tyson-meatpacking-plants-automation/index.html
Obviously this is a multi-dimensional issue.
As automation continues to rise, the people who used to pack meat will need to find something else to do, possibly leading to some people who find it difficult to learn new skills experiencing hardship as they compete for an ever shrinking pool of repetitive semi-skilled jobs which have not yet been automated.
But the benefits to society of automation are too great to ignore.
Just as the end of mass hand weaving led to more affordable higher quality clothes, so automated meat packing will help keep meat affordable. And in the age of Coronavirus and ever stricter hygiene standards, the concept of food untouched by humans at every stage of processing is an attractive selling point.
Video of Scott Automation’s Meat Processing Technology. The robot uses x-ray vision to map the skeletal structure of the carcass, to help identify the correct cutting points.