Japan plans big investments in AI robots to increase productivity

Japanese industry, with the backing of its government, has
plans to regain the country’s number one ranking in robotics manufacturing.

The ABC reports that part of the plan involves building 30
million “Peppers”, a cloud-based, artificially intelligent robot made by
Softbank.

Pepper is four feet tall, able to read human expressions,
and, as Bloomberg reported last month, will be deployed by Nescafe in selling
their coffee machines in Japan in December.

There will be 20 units in stores by the year’s end spruiking
Nescafe machines, with plans for 1,000 to be deployed in 2015.

According to the ABC, there are plans by the Japanese
industry and government to build and deploy 30 million Pepper robots (available
next year for about $2,000) as the country attempts to adjust to its shrinking
workforce and ageing population.

According to figures from the International Federation of Robotics released this year, Japan is the leader in overall numbers of
industrial robots in operation.

However, it has slipped to number two overall in sales of
industrial robots, which were up worldwide by 12 per cent to 179,000 in 2013,
an all-time high.

Image: ABC

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