Using robots to cut labour costs

Professor Mike Duke will be talking about a future with robots in the workforce. Supplied photo.

The robots are coming, and Professor Mike Duke will explain how humans can embrace their arrival in the next lecture in the University of Waikato’s Tauranga public lecture series on Thursday October 19.

More than 70 per cent of New Zealand’s merchandise exports come from the primary industries, with the Ministry for Primary Industries aiming to double primary exports from $32 billion in 2012 to $64 billion by 2025.

According to Mike from the University’s School of Engineering, robots could help the primary sector reach these export targets by bridging the gap of increasing labour costs.

“Increasing labour costs, mainly due to the need to import labour, and concerns over labour reliability, coupled with environmental and health and safety legislation are threatening the profitability of many primary sector companies.”

He says to address these issues, the widespread introduction of robotics and smart machinery into New Zealand’s primary industries could save companies money, improve safety, quality and efficiency.

“As the revolution progresses, we’ll have to get used to the sight of robots roaming the fields and orchards of New Zealand.”

In his lecture, Mike will explain the work of the University’s AgriEngineering Research Group and its partners, which aims to turn the vision of primary sector robotics and smart automation into a reality.

This free lecture will take place at the Graham Young Youth Theatre (Tauranga Boys’ College) on Thursday October 19 at 6pm.

Due to the popularity of the series to date, registration is essential. For more information about the Tauranga Public Lecture Series visit

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No criticism

Posted on 09-10-2017 11:44 | By Papamoaner

And I’m not criticising Prof Mike Duke. He’s only doing his job and following his passion, and fair enough too. But the world is on a path to social decline, some of it caused by population explosion, affluence and technology. I believe it’s called evolution. Those romantic old days where travel was by horse. and cooking was by open fire, somehow seem more attractive on reflection.


Posted on 09-10-2017 09:31 | By Papamoaner

Yes, and it’s already becoming noticeable that younger people will soon be unable to function let alone survive without some form of portable smartphone technology. Extrapolating that, I am predicting "under-skin surgical implants in the very near future, probably with a solar tattoo over it that signals "look everybody, I’ve got the latest" doubling as a solar charger to energise the chip, which need be no larger than a postage stamp. This is the same kind of madness that was predicted by brilliant physicists like Dr Fred Hoyle back in the 1950’s. He became an amateur novelist just for fun, and wrote "A For Andromeda" which became a popular TV drama about computers taking over the world and rendering humans redundant. Sound familiar? That man, an eminent scientist, had remarkable vision 65 years ago.

Yes, congratulations...

Posted on 09-10-2017 02:46 | By GreertonBoy

on putting more of us out of work... I wonder who will be able to buy anything once none of us have jobs or incomes?

Last human shut the door on the way out please

Posted on 08-10-2017 11:25 | By Papamoaner

My cellphone is already starting to get too big for its boots. In a few million years after humans have been made redundant our entire planet could be a huge desert devoid of foliage and life. Caused by a natural evolution of population explosion and technology explosion.