Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Robot Holocaust: Geriatric Park

Japan seems upsettingly eager to cede the world to robot overlords--this time, they will use them to "take care of" the elderly. Uh huh. Says Engadget:
...the Machine Industry Memorial Foundation may not be too far off with its latest assessment. It's suggesting that the jobs of 3.5 million people in Japan could be filled not with younger folks, but with mechanical creatures by 2025. Currently, Japan's population is declining, and the proportion of those 65-years and up is continually swelling; analysts are asserting that the nation could save around ¥2.1 trillion ($21 billion) in elderly insurance payments by 2025 if it relies on robots (instead of humans) to monitor the health of the geriatric set.
And on a related subject (via the Engadget link), this is just freakish and disturbing:
Japan crowns top robots in lavish Tokyo ceremony

The Robot Awards were set up earlier this year by the Japanese government to "promote research and development in the robotics industry," and just ten creations took home prizes out of the 152 entries. The cream of the crop started with the currently-available My Spoon feeding contraption, which helps the elderly and disabled to eat with a "joystick-controlled swiveling arm." Not far behind was the Paro seal, who rocks a furry, huggable outfit with sensors beneath its whiskers that allows it to "open and close its eyes and move its flippers" when petted and held by folks in hospitals. In another instance of "robots replacing human jobs," a "mammoth, automated vacuum cleaner that uses elevators to travel between floors" was highly praised for its sucky actions.

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