Elon Musk is obsessed with speed. From rockets to hyperloops to electric cars, fast is kind of his thing.
Now he wants to apply the same aesthetic to manufacturing.
Critics argue it’s another pipe dream, born out of necessity. Tesla (TLSA), his controversial car business, is supposed to deliver 400,000 vehicles by 2018. Yet, his workers have never pushed annual production beyond 100,000.
Musk, however, is thinking beyond workers.
The future is total automation.
During the first Gilded Age, the assembly line transformed industrial production. This New Gilded Age is about information technology. Think intelligent software, sensors and incredibly precise, fast-moving robotics. These technologies promise exponential improvement in production.
Humans, at least those who fasten bolts or shift metal, become superfluous.
It’s not science fiction. Musk already has big plans for factories that are unencumbered by the physical limitations of humans.