a country where robots assist in a broad range of duties --
for the elderly, to mopping
the floor, and even exploring
the depths of space -- the artificial companions may have
been handed their most important assignment yet.
compels most organisms to reproduce. But in Japan, something
bizarre is happening -- couples aren't reproducing. The nation has one of the lowest birth rates in the world, and to make matters worse, it also
has one of the highest life expectancies. It is expected that
40 percent of its population will be over the age of 65 by 2050.
in recent years has also been shown to have
the least sex on a weekly basis – only 34 percent of Japanese
reported having sex on a weekly basis while a whopping 87 percent of
Greeks were getting busy under the sheets.Enter Yotaro,
"low-tech" robot. Yotaro cries, giggles, and
kicks when you tickle him. He sneezes and his nose runs. When
he is upset, he even shakes his rattle to calm down. But
Yotaro is no human child -- he's a “synthetic”. Hiroki
Kunimura, of the University of Tsukuba led the team who created the
tyke. He states, "A robot can't be human but it's great if
this robot triggers human emotions, so humans want to have their own
baby."This novel use of the baby was chanced upon.
Originally the idea was just to create a robot with international
appeal. As a baby has no language skills, it would face no
language barrier like an adult android might.Then the
research noticed the unusual reaction people had to the baby -- they
began to want to have children of their own. This year, the
Japanese federal government offered 13,000 yen, approximately $150
USD, per month, per child as an incentive to have children. But
it may be little Yotaro that convinces them to listen to their
biological clocks.Project member Madoka Hirai said she never
thought about having a child, but after Yotaro became baby
preoccupied. She began to notice ads for baby clothes and think
about what it might be like to have a baby of her own. Kunimura,
who refers to himself as Yotaro's daddy, says that reaction may hold
the key to solving Japan's crisis. He states, "People
asked us if this baby robot was created to tackle the low birth rate
in Japan. I think it's true that young working couples have no
chance to have personal contact with babies in their lives. The
people who came to the robot exhibitions enjoyed touching Yotaro,
like a real baby."There's no official plans for a
wide-scale rollout of Yotaro yet, but it would not be surprising if
the government tries to give them away to citizens. After all,
if you have to pay citizens $1,800 USD a year to have a baby, that's
a sign you're in pretty dire trouble.
quote: There's a reason you don't want kids: because they're annoying, they whine, and mean that you become a husk of a person destined only to serve the whims of your children instead of your own dreams until they're old enough to leave.. and you're too old to pursue what you wanted
quote: unlike the scary majority who don't even seem to be able to walk to the shop without having facebook on the go on their iphone.
quote: Kids are like having your own science experiment at home, away from the office. It is fascinating to see what you can make happen via input you provide them. Just don't tell your wife you look at them like a science experiment. :)
quote: You can sit around your whole life being a fat slob doing only for yourself, or, you can have some kids which motivate you to take action with your life which drive you to do things you never would have imagined.
quote: Japan in recent years has also been shown to have the least sex on a weekly basis
quote: The nation has one of the lowest birth rates in the world, and to make matters worse, it also has one of the highest life expectancies. It is expected that 40 percent of its population will be over the age of 65 by 2050.
quote: After all, if you have to pay citizens $1,800 USD a year to have a baby, that's a sign you're in pretty dire trouble.