Robots Could Fill 3.5 Million Jobs in Japan

According to thinktank Machine Industry Memorial Foundation, robots could fill the jobs of 3.5 million people in Japan by 2025, helping to avert worker shortages as the country's population shrinks. The country faces a 16 percent slide in the size of its workforce by 2030 while the number of elderly will mushroom, the government estimates, raising worries about who will do the work in a country unused to, and unwilling to contemplate, large-scale immigration. Luckily, robots could help fill the gaps, ranging from microsized capsules that detect lesions to high-tech vacuum cleaners.

"Seniors are pushing back their retirement until they are 65 years old, day care centers are being built so that more women can work during the day, and there is a move to increase the quota of foreign laborers. But none of these can beat the shrinking workforce," said Takao Kobayashi, who worked on the study. The current fertility rate is 1.3 babies per woman, far below the level needed to maintain the population, while the government estimates that 40 percent of the population will be over 65 by 2055, raising concerns about who will look after the greying population.

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18 Comments

No, the article says "1.3 babies per woman", they would need about 2 babies per woman to maintain their population.

I remember watching something on TV talking about how the reproduction rate in Japan is low, apparently due to the fact that children=money. In a way, I guess that's smart thinking, as some people keep popping out children despite being absolutely broke. However, if everyone's playing it smart, then there's no baby making.

What I find funny though is that Japan has low reproduction rates while China has laws on making babies. :P

(Enkazin said @ #4)
what would happen if robots did 99% fo the work required in a country and no one could afford to buy the stuff they are building for lack of having a job?

They don't care, as long as those companies make more money...

I am a robotics engineer. Generally, robots are used for jobs that are hazardous (can cause injury), such as heavy lifting, or require accuracy that a human cannot deliver. The cars we build require welds in specific places to ensure proper crumpling in crash testing. Sealant is required in specific locations and amounts to prevent water leaks and wind noise, without getting so much on that it squeezes out and causes other production problems.

Robots are needed in many places, no doubt about it.

(markjensen said @ #4.3)
I am a robotics engineer. Generally, robots are used for jobs that are hazardous (can cause injury), such as heavy lifting, or require accuracy that a human cannot deliver. The cars we build require welds in specific places to ensure proper crumpling in crash testing. Sealant is required in specific locations and amounts to prevent water leaks and wind noise, without getting so much on that it squeezes out and causes other production problems.

Robots are needed in many places, no doubt about it.

Now if only we could get them to replace politicians. Think of it: machines doing only what they're programmed to do with little intelligence to make any real decisions. Sounds just like government officials! Not to mention the money we'll save, minus the regular maintenance for them.

(Dakkaroth said @ #4.4)

Now if only we could get them to replace politicians. Think of it: machines doing only what they're programmed to do with little intelligence to make any real decisions. Sounds just like government officials! Not to mention the money we'll save, minus the regular maintenance for them. :)


But, like real politicians, we have to worry about the people controlling them.

Edit: And with the government's track record on computer security, odds are you would just load up a web page, enter "admin" and "password", And you'd have complete control over the robots.

(Enkazin said @ #1)
Well, at least they are talking about it positively, and not using robots to cut back on paying out wages. Thats the one thing I hate about here, Greed is taking away people's livelyhood, and replacing them with 'bots. Just out of curiosity, what would happen if robots did 99% fo the work required in a country and no one could afford to buy the stuff they are building for lack of having a job?

Long-term-wise you are completely wrong, if machines permanently put people out of jobs our ancestors would would have been homeless centuries ago and we would have starved during the industrial revolution. Using your logic we would still spend hours rubbing two sticks together to create fire, as the invention of a lighter would mean that the firestarter would loose his job.

If robots did 99% of the work in a country it would be A LOT BETTER OFF. The only reason we don't have to get children to work any more is because of machines have made us more efficient. yes putting machines into a factory will displace people for a while but over time they get reabsorbed into new jobs.

If one manufacturer gets a new machine he gets more profit for a short while, but soon his competitors buy the same machines to match his price, and they force the price of the products down through competition, making the goods cheeper for everyone so we all become better off.

Well it seems in the UK, we have a lot of unemployed, they won't work.

Lets do a deal with the Japanese, they take our lazy and tongue tied and we will take a 70 inch HDTV each in return for free.

Everyones a winner.

It may be good for countries are aren't meeting labor requirements, but with countries already facing problems with unemployment this can't be good for our future as far as being replaced by robots.


Once again...

Long-term-wise you are completely wrong, if machines permanently put people out of jobs our ancestors would would have been homeless centuries ago and we would have starved during the industrial revolution. Using your logic we would still spend hours rubbing two sticks together to create fire, as the invention of a lighter would mean that the firestarter would loose his job.

If robots did 99% of the work in a country it would be A LOT BETTER OFF. The only reason we don't have to get children to work any more is because of machines have made us more efficient. yes putting machines into a factory will displace people for a while but over time they get reabsorbed into new jobs.

If one manufacturer gets a new machine he gets more profit for a short while, but soon his competitors buy the same machines to match his price, and they force the price of the products down through competition, making the goods cheeper for everyone so we all become better off.

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