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Robots Won’t Save Japan – An interview with author James Wright

June 21 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm


**Online program**

In 2014, Japan’s METI estimated that Japanese nursing care robots would grow to ¥391 billion by 2025. That same year, SoftBank introduced Pepper, the world’s first humanoid robot able to recognize human faces and basic emotions, and Prime Minister Abe Shinzo announced the Robot Revolution Initiative. It seemed apparent that Japan would lead the charge in creating robots for care. But have robots lived up to their promise in helping Japan face the dual challenge of an increasing aging population and staffing shortages?

Japan is not alone in dealing with the trials that come with an aging population. Many countries around the world face three major issues associated with their aging societies: a declining population, an increasing proportion of seniors, and an increasing number of single-person households. Here in California, for instance, the government issued a Master Aging Plan in 2020 to help direct resources as California’s senior population increases.

In February 2023, author and researcher James Wright published Robots Won’t Save Japan: An Ethnography of Eldercare Automation, drawing on his ethnographic research in senior living facilities in Japan. Wright joins us June 21 for a special discussion of the research behind his book, and his conclusions about the limitations of robots in caregiving settings.

日本は官民あげて、高齢者介護をロボットに手伝わせようとしてきた結果、何が起こってきているでしょうか?『Robots Won’t Save Japan: An Ethnography of Eldercare Automation』(『ロボットは日本を救わない:高齢者介護自動化のエスノグラフィー』)という刺激的タイトルの本を最近出版した、James Wright によるオンラインセミナーです。

▼Event Details
Date and Time:

US: Wednesday, June 21st @ 12:00pm (PDT)

Price: FREE!

Venue: Zoom
**Zoom link provided upon registration

12:00-12:05pm: Opening Remarks, Kendra De Nike | Office Admin, Japan Society of Northern California
12:05-12:55pm: Program
12:55-1:00pm: Closing Remarks, Steve Pollock | President, Japan Society of Northern California

Our Amazing Speakers

Dr. James Wright | The Alan Turing Institute, Ethics, Research Associate in Intercultural AI Ethics

Dr. James Wright is Research Associate at The Alan Turing Institute, the UK’s national institute for data science and AI. He received his PhD in anthropology and science and technology studies from the University of Hong Kong, China in 2018. His research interests include the development and use of robots, AI and other digital technologies for elder care; his current project, PATH-AI, focuses on AI ethics and governance in the UK and Japan. His first book, entitled Robots Won’t Save Japan: An Ethnography of Eldercare Automation, was published in early 2023 by Cornell University Press, and will be the focus of this session.


Jon MetzlerModerator, Jon Metzler | Board Member, Japan Society of Northern California & Lecturer, UC Berkeley Haas
Jon is a lecturer at Berkeley Haas, where he teaches on competitive advantage in
technology markets, and on international business at the undergraduate and MBA
levels. He is also associated faculty for the UC Berkeley for Center for Japanese
Studies. He has received grant funding from the UC Berkeley Center for Japanese
Studies, and from the UC Berkeley Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity. Metzler is
also a faculty mentor at Berkeley Skydeck, an accelerator for Berkeley-affiliated



June 21
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm


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