By B.L. Ochman
I’ve been fascinated – and a little scared of robots – since I was a little girl. So this story about a violin-playing robot developed by Toyota caught my eye.
The amazing robot here has 17 joints in its hands and arms, and enough dexterity to play the violin.Toyota is developing robots in a rush to catch up with Honda Motor Co. and Sony Corp., front runners in robot technology.
Back in the 1960s, when American cars got 12 miles a gallon and self-destructed around 50,000 miles, Toyota introduced cars that got 30 miles a gallon and ran, virtually trouble-free, for at least 100,000 miles. That forever changed the auto industry.
Now the company plans to introduce robots that can assist humans in in the home or in nursing and medical care — a move that could help solve a variety of healthcare issues, including a shortage of nurses and health aides.
Toyota Motor Corp. chief executive Katsuaki Watanabe, says “Now we want to accelerate the development of robots that make a contribution to society, drawing on our knowledge and innovation in the field of automobiles.”
It’s not all altruism, of course. The workforce in Japan, like America’s, is greying. Rapidly greying workforces and highly restricted immigration policies will soon create labor shortages in both countries that robots can augment.
I’ve been reading the blog by a marketing demographer for a while now and he has a notably different take on the demographics of America in light of the size of Gen-Y that’s just now coming of age (cohort’s oldest is just now age 22). Here’s his forecast as quoted from his blog (link following the quote):
This all brings me to a forecast that bodes very well for the United States. I am forecasting that manufacturing will return to the United States with a vengeance because we have a huge crop of new labor in Generation Y, currently twenty-two years old and under. This will be the largest labor force our Nation has ever enjoyed. Generation Y will be a solid cohesive labor force one hundred million strong. This manufacturing will return as a multitude of small entrepreneurial businesses that can produce products quickly and efficiently to meet the growing needs of Generation Y.
I’ve gotten valuable insight from his writing on marketing demographics, especially in light of the sizes of the various generations – Boomers app. 72M, Gen-X app. 59M, and Gen-Y app. 100M. He raises the very interesting point that most businesses and marketers are oblivious to the sizes of these cohorts and completely underestimate the implications for their markets. Very insightful.
Robots…I’d love to see one that plays the cello as well..so I can pair it up with this one. :)