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3 Tech Sectors That Could Save US Manufacturing

31 July 2012 in Trading Ideas

You know the gospel by now: Manufacturing jobs have fled the US for China and other emerging markets, never to return, maintaining forever the New World Order that maintains American industry is in permanent decline.

What if that isn’t so?

In a recent article for Foreign Policy, Vivek Wadhwa contends that a resurgence in US manufacturing is in the offing – a runup that will include a “hollowing-out” of China’s industrial ambitions.

According to Wadhwa, the technology advancements already taking place in the US will be so compelling that US businesses will see the advantage in keeping – and moving – their manufacturing operations close to home.

Here are three key sectors that Wadhwa sees as potential boomers: 

  • Robotics. The 21st-century version of robots is high-tech devices run by software and remote control, with increasing abilities. As Wadhway points out, robots are now capable of performing surgery, milking cows, doing military reconnaissance and combat and flying fighter jets.
  • Artificial Intelligence. Wadhwa quotes one Silicon Valley insider who sees this software technology eventually allowing manufacturers design their own products at home with AI-design assistants. As a result, mass production will be replaced by personalized production with people customizing designs the download from the Internet or develop themselves.
  • 3-D Printing. This process allows companies to make industrial parts by melting successive layers of materials based on three-dimensional models. In effect, objects are created without any tools or fixtures – and without creating any waste material. These printers can already build physical mechanical devices, medical implants, jewelry and even clothing.

While the timing of these new technologies won’t change global manufacturing overnight, these new technologies “play well into America’s ability to innovate, demolish old industries, and continually reinvent itself,” Wadhwa writes. “The Chinese are still busy copying technologies we built over the past few decades. They haven’t cracked the nut on how to innovate yet.”