USA: Shimmy Technologies to upskill workers to save their jobs against automation
Artificial intelligence has generated a lot of debate where a section of the society is expecting job loss while the intelligentsia sees another set of jobs emerging to offset the job loss.
US-based Shimmy Technologies, a company working for the benefit of the apparel industry, has stepped forward to create an AI-based solution to retrain workers and help them learn new skills.
‘Shimmy Upskill’, the pilot project started in Spring this year, aims to find out answers as to how garment workers’ jobs can be saved with multifold automation taking place in the apparel industry. The company believes that retraining workers and helping them learn new skills is the only way to save their jobs. With the tagline ‘Empowering garment workers through play’, the project’s objective is to create a learning environment with the help of video games to upskill digitally illiterate garment workers as sewing automation is about to replace the labour. The project is being piloted in factories in Bangladesh and Indonesia in Phase I. Phase II will include New York city.
Dominated by women workforce, apparel industry is facing intense pressure of reduced process and faster deliveries. The only way to achieve this is by adoption of technologies like digital patterns and 3D virtual prototyping. New sewing robots have also been introduced in the market which may drastically reduce the number of workers needed for mass production of clothing.
The brainchild behind the project, Sarah Krasley, also the CEO of Shimmy Technologies, believes robots will be the workforce of the future. Workers either have to learn new skills or accept the risk of being left behind. Foreseeing this change, Shimmy Upskill is dedicated to protect workers’ rights to livelihood by preparing them for career paths inside and outside of the apparel sector.
The project team is comprised of New York Fashion Tech Lab apparel brand partners, Softwear Automation, Gerber Technologies, Carnegie Mellon, CAD education experts, and NGOs advocating for workers’ safety and well-being.
The project ‘Shimmy Upskill’ is being piloted in factories in Bangladesh and Indonesia in Phase I