Speaking of robots, everyone thinks first and foremost of Japan. No other country manufactures humanoid robots, and produces as many robots as Japan does.
To research the impact robots will have on future economies and workforces, SwissTelevision’s Eco Program (SRF-Eco) sent it’s VJ, Mr. Harry Stitzel to Osaka and Tokyo. The trip was faciliated by the S&T Office Tokyo of the Embassy of Switzerland in Japan.
In Osaka, Mr. Stitzel first interviewed world-renown Osaka University Professor Hiroshi ISHIGURO before traveling with Prof. Rolf Pfeifer – former head of the University of Zurich‘s AI Lab and now professor at the University of Osaka – to Tokyo where they visited together several robo-spots: A fully automated sushi parlour – genki sushi – in Tokyo’s most flashy Shibuya district as well as Softbank’s Pepper robot (with IBM Watson technology) informing customers on coffee at the classy Nescafe Cafe in Harajuku.
During the final day, Mr. Stitzel was amazed by the high-tech industrial Nextage “cobots” – coworking robots produced and invented by Kawada Robotics. Kawada Industry‘s President, Mr. Tadahiro Kawada, answered all the questions by Swiss TV, emphasizing that jobs might be lost, but also many new and exciting jobs will be created. He explained that were in western countries robots were mostly deemed evil (Terminator, iRobot, et al), Japan’s robots were portrayed as faithful and good friends to humans.
We are looking forward to seeing the final program released on November 9 (and viewable online after November 10).