Research On Robotics In Japan: Achievements, Prospects And Applications

2596 words - 10 pages

Nowadays, technology is a dominant feature in the lives of people around the world. Most of daily life activities involve the use of technology which is expanding every day through scientific innovations. However, such innovations do not always occur in every part of the world, but mostly in technologically developed countries, such as South Korea, the USA and Japan. Presently, the development of robotics science has become a subject of considerable attention in those countries. According to Weng, Chen and Sun (2009, 267), “Technocrats from many developed countries, especially Japan and South Korea, are preparing for the human–robot co-existence society that they believe will emerge by 2030.” The word “robot” was introduced in the beginning of 1920th by the Czech playwright Karel Capek from the Czech word “robota”, meaning “forced labor” (Robertson 2007, 373). According to Robertson (2007, 373), robot, in practical usage, can be defined as an autonomous or semiautonomous device that is used to perform its tasks either controlled by human, fractionally controlled and with human guidance or regardless of external actions that are performed by people. Regrettably, the majority of robots in the past centuries could not operate without human control and intervention. However, the progress in robotics over the past few decades enabled humanity to achieve soaring results in creation of autonomous humanoid robots.

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the development of robotics science in modern society, its progress and future prospects, with specific reference to Japan. It will introduce the history of robotics in Japan, analyse motivations for entering the robotics sphere and determine benefits and concerns together with identification of social impacts of this technological area in Japan. I will culminate my thesis with discussion of effects of emotionally perceptive and responsive humanoid robots on society.

As mentioned above, a robot is an autonomous or semiautonomous device that is created to perform tasks either according to direct human operation, partial operation and with supervision or independently of human intervention. The history of robotics in Japan dates back to the 17th century. Matthews (2003/2004, 4) reminds us that the first Japanese robot, which has been adapted as a tea-carrying automation, was created in 17th century. “A cup of tea could be placed upon the doll and once wound up it would move forward until the cup was lifted. When the cup was replaced, the doll would turn around and return to its starting point” (Matthews 2003/2004, 4). Thus, the 17th century was notable as the first time in the history of Japan when the robotics technology invaded the life of Japanese society. Although, Matthews claims that such innovations did not go further because the Japanese “quest for knowledge seemed driven by the arts” but not by the scientific advancement that was quite common on the West. However, it appears to be that...

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