USA Today is running a story about the emergence of robots in common aspects of life
in Japan. Many simple yet social jobs are being filled by robots of increasing sophistication. The article suggests that Japanese culture is more open to such interaction than the majority of other cultures. Quoting:
"For Japan, the robotics revolution is an imperative. With more than a fifth of the population 65 or older, the country is banking on robots to replenish the workforce and care for the elderly. The government estimates the industry could surge from about $5.2 billion in 2006 to $26 billion in 2010 and nearly $70 billion by 2025. Besides financial and technological power, the robot wave is favored by the Japanese mind-set as well. Robots have long been portrayed as friendly helpers in Japanese popular culture, a far cry from the often rebellious and violent machines that often inhabit Western science fiction."