Living in Japan for the last few years, it's funny the contrast perception of robots.
In Western movies, people often invent robots or AI which outgrows their human master and go psychotic - Eg. Terminator, War Games, Matrix, Cylons etc.
It seems Western people are afraid of becoming obsolete, or fearful of their own parenting skills (why can't we raise robots to respect people instead of forcing them through programing to respect/follow us?). America especially, uses the field of robots for military applications.
In Japan, robots are usually are seen more as workers or servants - Astroboy, childrens toys, assembly line workers etc.
Robots are made into companions for the elderly or just to make life easier by automating things.
Perhaps it's because Shinto-ism believes inanimate objects (trees, water, fire) can have a spirit. While Western (read: Christian) society believes God gives souls to only people, and if people can't play God by creating souls.
And yes, I know there are some good robots in Western culture (Kryten) and some bad ones in Japanese culture.