I just read about the “divabot,” a singing and dancing robot developed by Japan’s Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology. I can’t help but wonder — is Japan really still investing in quirky, perhaps even silly, robots? OK, so apparently the divabot uses some swanky software to sound like a human. But is this really what the hotshots at Japan’s Tech Institute are working on? Seems to me that they need to refocus their investment priorities — other countries like China are investing in clean tech and stem cell research. Japan’s making dancing robots.
To add some troubling context, here’s what the NYTimes wrote last week about Japan’s economic demise over the past few decades:
Shriveling from an economic Godzilla to little more than an afterthought in the global economy. . . economists are now warning of “Japanification” — of falling into the same deflationary trap of collapsed demand that occurs when consumers refuse to consume, corporations hold back on investments and banks sit on cash. It becomes a vicious, self-reinforcing cycle.
Yikes, that’s depressing. . . HEY let’s watch a dancing robot!
Read the full NYTimes article on Japan here.