BBC Special: Japan Is Utilizing Robots And AI For Human Companionship


A Japanese man paralyzed in childhood by a diving accident was able to go on a ‘date’ in Tokyo with BBC reporter Stephanie Hegarty using advanced AI technology employed by OriHime, a cute little robot through which Kohki can speak and whose eyes are his window to the outside world.

Kohki, who has been paralyzed from the neck down since the age of 17, when he dived into a swimming pool and broke his neck, walked the streets of Tokyo, spoke with Hegarty and even sat in a Ferrari usine OriHime as a second body.

Kentaro Yoshifuji, the CEO of Ory Laboratory, said the development of OriHime and other such robots simply makes sense: “Why should humans only have one body?” he asked. After all, “we have two eyes and two hands.”

“If one isn’t working, then we can still use the other one,” he Yoshifuji noted. “But we only have one body.”

But Yoshijuji firmly believes that AI should complement human beings, not replace them.

“To be honest with you, I’m not so much into AI development,” he told Hegarty. “Humans should be number one and robots should be in the assistant position.”

Japan is increasingly looking to robots and AI to help fill the gap in its workforce, where the world’s oldest population has not produced enough young people to replenish the labor market as generations age out of employment.

Watch the full BBC video above.


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