An ageing world needs more resourceful robots

Publication Title
Publication/Creation Date
February 16 2019
Persuasive Intent
WHEN GILL PRATT sat down to discuss the job of running the Toyota Research Institute, the carmaker’s new research division, his Japanese interviewers wrote one word on a piece of paper and asked him to talk about it. The word was dementia. That might seem a strange topic to put to one of the most respected figures in the world of robotics, a man who had previously run a competition to find artificially intelligent, semi-autonomous robots for the Pentagon. But, Mr Pratt says, the company’s interest in ageing was a big reason for him to take the job. “The question for all of us”, he says, “is, how can we use technology to make the quality of life better as people get older?”

Ageing and robots are more closely related than you might think. Young countries with many children have few robots. Ageing nations have lots. The countries with the largest number of robots per industrial worker include South Korea, Singapore, Germany and Japan, which have some of the oldest workforces in the world.
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