USA: Shimmy Tech­nolo­gies to up­skill work­ers to save their jobs against au­to­ma­tion

Stitch World - - NEWS TRACK -

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

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