The Star Online
In my Rhetoric and Composition course, we're currently reading about Japanese robots as a possible solution to Japan's demographic problem, its low birthrate, but the article is about five years old and therefore out of date in such a fast-moving field, so I was gratified to see this recent article on Japanese robots: June H. L. Wong's "When humans need not apply" (The Star Online, May 20, 2015):
Robotics is now the biggest thing since the Internet. Japan, described as the world's most robot-savvy nation, wants to lead the charge. Last Friday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe launched the Robot Revolution Initiative, partnering with the private sector . . . . The Japanese are, admittedly, rather unusual in their ready acceptance of humanoid robots in their midst but I don't think other people are that far behind . . . . Like the Industrial Revolution more than 200 years ago, the robot revolution is bringing about great changes but perhaps with unimaginable consequences . . . . [for] the human mind be replaced by the mechanical mind in many jobs . . . . Yuji Honkawa, a 47-year-old equities trader at the Tokyo Stock Exchange, lost his job after 20 years because automated traders could file orders much faster than him . . . . If I thought my profession was safe, I was wrong. There are robot journalists too. According to the Humans Need Not Apply video, bots can write about anything. One company claims its artificial intelligence platform can create "narratives that rival your best analyst or writer, produced at a scale, speed and quality only possible with automation" . . . . [H]umankind could well face its worst enemy in 14 years. That is the predicted date - 2029 - when artificial intelligence overtakes human intelligence and achieves "the singularity", the point when men and machines converge, with machines ultimately taking over . . . . Which company is most single-minded in pursuing this singularity? The answer is Google, which The Guardian has described as "assembling the greatest artificial intelligence laboratory on Earth" . . . . Google’s near dominance of almost every facet of our digital lives from ground up to sky down has spooked many who have likened it to The Terminator's Skynet, the military artificial intelligence system spread out over millions of computer servers that became self-aware and wanted to kill and enslave humans. Don't believe me? Just Google it!Well, that'll certainly solve everyone's demographic problem. A final solution.