Robots, not immigrants! — Japan’s solution to labor shortage

Wipe the sweat off your brow; the Terminator is not made in Japan! Robots in Japan cannot be more different than the crazed Terminator. Hardwired into their chips is the boy scout creed of “friendly, helpful, courteous.” Leave it to the robots to serve tea, plant rice, prepare sushi, vacuum, and feed the elderly…all without one word of complaint (none filed to date).

In addition to this emerging robotic servant class, Hiroko Tabuchi reports over 370,000 robots work at Japanese factories in 2005, while the Trade Ministry is shooting for 1 million by 2025. This goal is easily obtainable given the decreasing costs for machinery and the ROI (return on investment). Tabuchi: “A single robot can replace about 10 employees, the roadmap assumes — meaning Japan’s future million-robot army of workers could take the place of 10 million humans. That’s about 15% of the current work force.”

Incredibly productive or not, robots often get no respect. Tabuchi reports from a waiting room at Aizu Chuo Hospital: “It just told me to get out of the way!” huffed wheelchair-bound Hiroshi Asami, 81. “It’s a robot. It’s the one who should get out of my way.”

Don’t say that too loud, Mr. Asami. You might agitate a violent, robotic revolution.

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One Response to “Robots, not immigrants! — Japan’s solution to labor shortage”

  1. Xenophobia stifles Japan’s economy « Pasta Man Vibration Says:

    […] movement of goods, labor, and capital oxygenate capitalism. In my April 15 post I pointed out Japan’s innovative solution to a potentially implosive problem of labor […]

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