The next time you visit the ‘Mitsukoshi department store’ in central Tokyo, you will be politely greeted by – a worker, dressed in a kimono and it will be cheerfully welcoming other shoppers too in Japanese language. Guess what? It is a a robot made by Toshiba in such a lifelike avataar (version).
This comes as the latest example after the Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared a a “Robot Revolution”, in the country. The key reasons are the: Advances in robotic computing power, the ability to recognize voices and images, and machine learning. All of this is expected to help their country – which is currently characterized by fast-aging populace and a declining workforce.
At the opening of Japan’s Robot Revolution Initiative Council on May 15, Abe urged companies to “spread the use of robotics from large-scale factories to every corner of our economy and society.” Backed by 200 companies and universities, the five-year, government-led push aims to deepen the use of intelligent machines in manufacturing, supply chains, construction, and health care, while expanding robotics sales from 600 billion yen ($4.9 billion) annually to 2.4 trillion yen by 2020.
Apart from this the Japanese govt wants machines to provide logistical support, perform surgery and work in disaster recovery in the quake-prone nation. Other priorities are commercial drones and nurse robots.
Hard to imagine for a country like India – where large part of people are still struggling to find a job or make a living! Can’t there be an eco-system where, irrespective of nationality, we first give priority to human beings over machinery?
Here, I am in no way against the use of technological advancements or mechanized efficiency but it just makes me wonder that in the long run, this robotic revolution may even take up our workplaces and workstations. Eventually, they would be too good for everything! Do share your comments about this robotic revolution and and your thoughts about its impact in the long term?