[extropy-chat] Video of Fighting Humanoid Robots!

Adrian Tymes wingcat at pacbell.net
Mon Aug 23 04:15:52 UTC 2004

--- Emlyn <emlynoregan at gmail.com> wrote:
> A dumb question... all of this work (or the great
> majority) seems to
> be happening in Japan. Does that sound right?

The robots themselves?  Yes.  My impression was that
America does more of the prosthetics work.

> I know
> they want
> humanoid robots to care for their aging population,
> and they seem to
> be well on track. Is anyone else bothering to make
> these things?

There are a handful of exoskeleton projects, mostly
for military use, mostly in America.  I'm thinking one
of these projects, or its successors, might think
along these lines.

> Regarding the Japanese efforts, I get the impression
> that the money
> coming from the top to build a robot based service
> industry is being
> met with engineering excellence at the bottom,
> coming out of a very
> pro-robot popular culture. It seems like a
> combination of manga and
> xenophobia may well have produced the leading edge
> in robotics.

Manga and xenophobia have played their roles, but
they are hardly responsible for even a majority of
this.  Having to focus on making good use of what one
can import, rather than being able to simply extract
resources from the ground directly, has also played a
role.  So has an ability to play to the Asian markets
as an industrialized nation without being part of "the
West" (North America, South America, Europe, and to
some extent Australia) while the West viewed them as a
good ally.  (Quick question: which one does not make
Bushco worry - China, Korea, or Japan?)

I'd say the thing most responsible is an aging
population, and the perception that Japan must take
care of its elderly - especially those elderly who
have the money to invest in making their own future
better.  (You think the AARP's got a lot of political
weight?  They dream of having Japan-grade pull.)  If a
lot of Americans thought it likely that they would
live to be past 100, but that this would be a decrepit
old age *unless* they took action now to reverse that
decrepity, you might see the same sort of investment
in personal futures in America, too.  (And possibly in
the environment: not messing up the planet because
it'd spoil future generations' enjoyment is one thing;
not messing up the planet because it'd spoil your own
future enjoyment is another.)

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