Flowline manufacture is one of the more notable aspects of modern manufacturing industry. The future growth of line systems will depend greatly on the possibilities that can be found to match this form of production organization to the behaviour of the working people of the future. The role of the industrial robot is discussed in this context. The progress of industry depends more on the social changes that can be expected, than on its efficiency, to which the flowline is a contributing factor. Another even more important factor is the influence on production of research and development. Some remarks are made about the organization of R & D and counter-measures against unemployment are discussed.