Imagine a robot that doesn’t just respond to human emotions, but actually has its own emotions. In just a few years time we may not have to imagine any longer, thanks to the astonishing recent rate of progress in robotics in Japan.
Already robots are being programmed to respond to human emotions – they might smile when they hear people laughing, or ‘cry’ when they hear about murders. And in Japan, 15% or the entire workforce is expected to be robot by as soon as 2025 – that’s just a little over 15 years.
I must admit that I had no idea that robot development is so far ahead in Japan – some hospitals have walking, talking humanoid robots that greet patients while cleaning the floors. Humanoid robots are actually expected to become a key part in care for the elderly as Japan realizes that it has far more old people to look after than young people to work, thanks to the post-war baby boom.
I think robots have really great potential, and hopefully over the next few years the rest of the world will start following Japan’s example. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: we really are living in an exciting time for exploration, discovery and research – it’ll be interesting reading this post 10 years to see how much progress we’ve made.
Or maybe I’ll get my robot to read it for me.