''Replacing Humans: Robots Among Us'

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Replacing Humans: Robots Among Us. A CBSN Original Preview." CBS 14 July 2018. Ca. 38 minutes. <https://www.cbsnews.com/live/video/20180714143332-will-robots-be-the-answer-to-a-declining-age-population-in-japan/>.


Noting smart phones and the on-going replacement of workers by (industrial) robots for "mundane repetitive tasks" — a report from Japan on effects of current robots and AI "upon humanity." CBS correspondent: Adam Yamaguchi.

Starts with the absolute decline of Japanese population (primarily from "lack of sex," i.e., of the sort that produces pregnancy) and a projected population collapse to ½ current numbers. "Making babies has become a national priority," and the first part of the report is on definitely human Japanese and, among the young, their sex lives or lack thereof. This segues into issues of the Japanese workforce and the need to replace it as workers grow older, in an island nation with no tradition of significant immigration. Some 16 minutes into the report, we are told about the "Japanese affinity for technology" going back to the days of the Samurai and the early windup dolls (Karakuri)[1][2] that may turn out precursors of the robot option. Which some 17 minutes in brings the correspondent to "The Weird Hotel," where all the visible staff are automata and almost all tasks for running the hotel are actually automated. A minute on from there: more familiar industrial robots, performing manufacturing jobs with great strength and/or speed and precision; but then (20:38), something different: a motorized exoskeleton that can help older workers, and others, load heavy items in warehouse work. Still, the old and infirm need a different sort of help: robot pets for now (with a hint of eventual robot caretakers; 23:00 f.) — moving on to robot companions, in the case shown for a young adult (26:00 f.), in a culture that has encouraged connection between humans and relatable inorganic things/beings. Next step: emphatically humanoid robots. Stated explicitly by a prime developer of humanoid robots: a "flesh body is not a requirement to be human" (ca. 30:00). In Japanese culture "We don't care about the flesh bodies" as opposed to or perhaps to the a much lesser degree, among Europeans, who differentiate strongly between the organic and mechanical; so there is less motivation in Japan to distinguish between humans and robots. "They can be a new kind of human, right?" Segue to an American engineer working on a heuristic, "female," socialized humanoid robot (ca. 32:00 f.). Ends with question of humans and the migrant option for Japan's current issues, and more generally, the SF question, now very much in real life, of humans and/vs. robots.


RDE, Initial Compiler, 15Jul18