It sounds like a scene out of a science fiction movie: The core population is aging rapidly. The vast majority of the workforce is approaching retirement age. The current generation of young women don't feel motivated to sacrifice the best years of their lives to bearing and raising the next generation of workers. As a result, the economic engine that has kept everyone well fed, clothed, and gainfully employed for the past five decades is in danger of slowly grinding to a halt.
So, what do you do? Some countries might open their borders to immigration. Other countries might export their factories and jobs while keeping control over the economic fruits of the business. But, if your nature and your culture preclude those approaches, then you might turn to the ultimate good 'citizen' - the robot.
The Japanese government Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) just released a study that forecasts a huge demand for robots to fill in the labor shortfall in both the manufacturing and service sectors. The study targets the Japanese robotics market at 11 billion dollars by 2015 across all applications. This includes everything from the already common factory assembly line robot to domestic robots that will wash dishes and clean tables.
METI to promote robot use in Japan's aging society
Friday, May 13, 2005 at 07:15 JST
TOKYO ? A study group set up at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry on Thursday called for measures such as deregulations and the unification of standards to boost use of various kinds of robots in a rapidly aging society. The group, which began discussing the future robot industry in Japan in January, said in an interim report that expanded use of robots would be vital in maintaining the country's labor force after baby boomers start to retire in 2007 and in increasing the female workforce.