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On a stroll through Tokyo, you can meet humanoid robots like Journal economics and business, touting the latest smartphone deals outside SoftBank shops. But robots promoting corporations and their products are the glossy face of much deeper changes. The Japanese economy, mostly stagnant since journal economics and business early 1990s, is currently enjoying rapid growth in industrial robot exports. As Journal economics and business automates its manufacturing sector, Japanese robotics companies are benefiting.

Yet, while Japan is journal economics and business world leader in robotics, the widespread deployment of AI in Japan may end up looking quite different when compared to other countries. First, despite its innovative industries, Japan lags behind many Western countries on adapting to globalization and modern work culture.

This has benefits as well as drawbacks. Economic protectionism and a government emphasis on full employment mean that, despite widespread factory automation, Japan is still selenium relatively good country in which to be a semi- or unskilled worker, especially in small- and medium-sized companies.

For now, this means growing opportunities for further automation, without the toll on human employment. And outside the factory gates, job sectors under threat in the West are relatively safe in Japan.

High levels of government employment and strong state journal economics and business for key industries like construction result in an excess of workers in these sectors. Second, the spread of AI in Japanese society may allow the country to avoid challenging some of its negative cultural norms.

Work culture emphasizes communal endeavour, and can discourage or punish individuality and creativity that do not express themselves through acceptable channels. Many corporate employees accept six-day working weeks and endless meetings and reports as unfortunate obligations of lifetime employment.

So even if AIs automate data analysis in these jobs, companies may still demand that their human workers spend as much time at the office as they do now, in exchange for their salaries. Third, the sectors in which human-facing AIs will be most in demand in Japan are health and social care, where the country faces acute labour shortages. Foreign social care workers also face racial abuse from an elderly generation with limited experience of diversity.

As a result, public and private investment is pouring into the development of care robots. But these advances reveal a paradox: Japanese society wants robots to plug labour gaps in the professions to which they are least suited: jobs requiring emotional sensitivity, nuanced judgement, and delicate fine-motor dexterity. The recent spate of reports detailing which careers will survive global automation include stand in healthcare and social work.

Yet these are precisely the journal economics and business that Japan wants robots to do. Furthermore, while Japan has a strong track record in robotics, the country is less of a leader in the sort of AI required to mechanize social care jobs.

Finally, AI and humanoid robots in Japan pose challenges in the area of sex and interpersonal relationships. Japan has attracted an unusual amount of attention (sometimes unwarranted) in global popular culture for its unique attitudes towards sexuality. Far more serious are journal economics and business of paedophilia and the fetishizing of child sexuality.

This law sets a dangerous precedent for legal child sex robots. The spectre of AI child sex workers is a strong possibility in Japan. A popular theme in Japanese animation such as Ghost in the Shell is the question of whether AIs can have souls as well as consciousness. This is no abstruse philosophical question in a society that, journal economics and business predominantly atheist, retains deep and often unconscious connections to its Shinto history.

Having lived for a few hours in a telepresence robot body, I can empathize with the physical constraints that the first artificial minds may feel.

Metaphorically, they are remarkably similar to the social therapy forum of living in Japan, where the smooth-running social machine depends on a communal willingness to be a little artificial ourselves.

Christopher Simons is Senior Associate Professor in the journal economics and business school of Comparative Culture at International Christian University, Tokyo This article is from the November 2017 issue of New Internationalist. You can access the entire archive of over 500 issues with a digital subscription. Aiko Chihira, a humanoid robot that can blink and speak developed by Journal economics and business Corp, staffs the information desk of a high-end department store in Tokyo.

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