Robot Cemeteries: Coming Soon? - InformationWeek
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01:36 PM

Robot Cemeteries: Coming Soon?

As Sony discontinues manufacturing and support for its consumer robot Aibo, Japanese owners deal with "end of life" issues for a device that has become part of the family.

The average lifespan of Japanese women rose in 2013 to 86.61 years, up from 86.41 the year before, according to data released late last week by the Japanese health ministry. This makes Japan's LOLs (little old ladies) the world's longest-living females for the second straight year.

Japan's rapidly aging population is prompting the nation to evaluate medical technology, rethink its healthcare system, and invest in the private/public service infrastructure.

I don't think I'm alone in worrying about Japan's future, in which the number of people 65 and over is forecast to reach nearly 40 percent of the population by 2060. That's a lot of gray hair.

Similarly, Japan daily discovers more unintended consequences associated with the aging population of pet robots.

It's hard enough to see your parents age. It's equally hard to see your pet robot grow old.

Sony, inventor of Aibo, the nation's first "entertainment robot," announced back in 2006 that it would discontinue making pet robots. Why? The Japanese company wanted to focus on its "core" business, and Sony then (and still now) badly needed to restore its profitability.

Read the rest of this article on EE Times.

Former beat reporter, bureau chief, and editor in chief of EE Times, Junko Yoshida now spends a lot of her time covering the global electronics industry with a particular focus on China. Her beat has always been emerging technologies and business models that enable a new ... View Full Bio

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User Rank: Moderator
8/10/2014 | 1:43:36 PM
Re: You know, honest to goodness
These robots can evolve into serving a stronger purpose. Japan's weather conditions can put cemeteries at risk for conserving resources. Robots can be trained to aide in such circumstances and help prevent their cities with the right tasks in place.
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
8/6/2014 | 4:38:38 PM
Do the right thing...
...recycle your robots. Don't bury them!
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