The way this was written leads you to the impression that good ol' merican Roombas are successful in Japan, when nothing could be further from the truth. http://search.kakaku.com/ksearch/search.aspx?query=roomba&search.x=0&search.y=0 lists the Roomba 530 at around ¥70,000 (~USD680), while a check at Amazon says I can buy the exact same model in the States for USD260. I'm guessing that extra $440 isn't import robot tax. Of course, a Roomba is rather useless in your average Japanese house, where there are often raised sills between rooms.One of the only commercially successful consumer robots so far is made by an American company, iRobot Corp. The Roomba vacuum cleaner robot is self-propelled and can clean rooms without supervision. "We can pretty much make anything, but we have to ask, what are people actually going to buy?" said iRobot CEO Helen Greiner. The company has sold 2.5 million Roombas -- which retail for as little as $120 -- since the line was launched in 2002.
I've lived in Japan for most of my adult life, and this is not an indication of cool Japan. This truly is the beginning of the end for this country as a first-tier power, economic or otherwise. Where is there any mention of nurses in the above quote? My wife, an experienced nurse in her 30s, is the person whose job those $185,000 robots are trying to take. But there aren't any robot nurses here, nor will there be any here soon. Yet her salary is shockingly low (at least compared to what she could earn in the States), and hospitals are putting pressure on the government to let in nurses from the Philippines so they can pay them minimum wage to care for an aging population. Japan doesn't allow dual nationality, thereby forcing my children to choose between US and Japanese citizenship when they reach majority, much less any meaningful immigration. Robots are a Goverment of Japan red herring to keep the populace from worrying about 2050 when the population has dropped from the current 128m to 95m http://www.prb.org/Countries/Japan.aspxThe Aizu Chuo Hospital spent about some $557,000 installing three of the robots in its waiting rooms to test patients' reactions. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, said spokesman Naoya Narita. "We feel this is a good division of labor. Robots won't ever become doctors, but they can be guides and receptionists," Narita said.
Computers are unreliable, but humans are even more unreliable. Any system which depends on human reliability is unreliable. -- Gilb