Where are all the Robots?


33 Responses to “Where are all the Robots?”

  1. Anonymous says:

    The information is a little misleading when you mix together developed and undeveloped countries just because they are in the same region.

  2. Pixel says:

    I initially read that as “robot dentistry” and wasn’t sure if I should be intrigued or weirded out by the idea.

  3. eustace says:

    A little less noise, please. With Japan seemingly ripe for robot domination, I’m trying to implement Skynet, and the code is quite tricky to write…

  4. Takuan says:

    what? come now: “kill all humans”. All you need.

  5. Micah says:

    With that density, Japan is a great potential expansion market for Old Glory Insurance. (alternate/bootleg link for non-US folks)

  6. Anonymous says:

    What qualifies as a robot in this survey? Is it any sort of automation, or is it only the traditional pick and place arm?

  7. Rindan says:

    I personally am not terribly surprised. Japan’s demographics are different from the rest of the world. Japan has an extremely old population, low fertility rates, relatively high barriers to imports, and very extreme anti-immigration policies. The net result is that for their population size, they have very few workers, and less ability to import cheap goods.

    You can flip this in contrast to the US which is almost the opposite. The US is still a relatively young population (though nothing like a developing nation), has a very lax immigration policy (at least up until recently), and relatively low barriers to imports.

    Each method has its advantages and disadvantages. The obvious advantage Japan has is that is spurs technological innovation. Generally, an aging population and a shrinking worker pool is a bad thing because you have more and more workers supporting non-workers. Japan is blunting some of the pain of this demographic reality by innovating with robots to boost the productivity of the remaining workers. Productivity boosts help some, and they lead to nifty robots, but they still pay the price. Goods in Japan are horrifically expensive by American standards.

    The US on the other hand takes a different tactic. Sure, they also use technology to boost productivity, and the US on the whole has some of the most productive workers in the world, but when was the last time you saw a native born American picking oranges? The US shifts a lot of the drudge work to legal and illegal immigrants. This has its advantages and disadvantages too. It can be a spiffy foot in to the US for an immigrant, and the US ends up exporting huge amounts of cash via immigrants sending remittances back home. It is nice for American consumers during the good times as it keeps goods cheap.

    The real danger of this system is that it promptly breaks when then economy breaks. You are cool with a Mexican doing your shit work when you have good work. You are much less cool with a Mexican doing shit work when you are desperate for any job and will do the shit work yourself for a higher wage… which companies wont pay because they have people that will take a lower wage and are also going through rough financial straights. It sucks for the immigrants too. They tend to be the first ones shed when things turn south.

  8. yrogerg says:

    I find the robot deficit that the US suffers from distressing. There’s no way this could end well.

  9. omfpe says:

    Is this because of our unions? They typically negotiate more workers-less robots, right?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Spent all of our money on wars.

  11. Kay the Complainer says:

    Wasn’t this already on BB sometime in November? Or did I just dream it?

  12. biffpow says:

    Perhaps President Obama will include “vastly increased robot manufacturing” in his plan to create new American jobs. We’ll then sell the robots to other countries (obviously) (and after we input our top secret program for world domination).

  13. l'elk! says:

    im still waiting for the real mecha’s…

  14. Lauren O says:

    My fellow Americans, we have work to do. Ask not what your country can do for you, but how many sweet-ass robots you can build for you country.

  15. Ugly Canuck says:

    Maybe it is because the robots like it better in Japan, as in general they are treated better there.

  16. eustace says:

    yeah, if only milsatcom command and control code was that easy…
    and it’s all in ada dammit…
    total robot domination of nippon Real Soon Now…

  17. phosphorious says:

    We’ve been out-robotted by the belgians!?!

  18. se7a7n7 says:

    If robots take over, we just move to Africa.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Is a washing machine not a robot? Any moving hardware controlled by programable software is a robot.

  20. forgeweld says:

    I think this really illustrates the U.S.’s abandonment of manufacturing, and why it will be hard to recover this economy unless there is more investment in that area. Everyone standing in a circle serving hamburgers to each other just doesn’t generate much real wealth.

  21. Takuan says:

    (fat, greasy Belgian bastards!)

  22. Boba Fett Diop says:

    The Japanese are just further ahead of us in most things:


    (I also originally thought it said “robot dentistry.” Then I thought “who on earth would track that?”)

  23. Evil Jim says:

    I am not surprised at all that Japan has the densest population of robots in the world. Welcome, robot overlords!

  24. bcsizemo says:

    I really want to see the density broken down by category of robot (or type or job function), ie. sexbot… Cause Japan is going to be #1, 2 and 3 on that one…

  25. jordan says:

    Would be more useful if the graph showed us the population density of robots in disguise. I hate when my VW Bug turns out to be an alien automaton.

  26. Ugly Canuck says:

    Robot dentistry?
    Why would anyone give a robot teeth? Oh, wait…you mean robots which replace dentists?

  27. nonplus says:

    Clearly the Japanese care more about protection from the Terrible Secrets of Space!

  28. Ryan64 says:

    Here is an executive summary of IFR’s World Robotics report. Note also that personal robotics will reach $15 billion in sales by 2015, eclipsing the industrial market.

  29. consideredopinion says:

    Interesting Regional Averages chart…

    In event of Robot Overlords scenario:

    In the industrial Asia/Pacific, one stands a good chance of survival by running away from the manufacturing centers. In Europe, ‘running to the countryside’ will probably mean colliding with malevolent ex-urban robo-factories. *g*

  30. kmoser says:

    I suppose the graph of countries where people named “Sarah Connor” are most likely to live would be the inverse.

  31. froggster says:

    This has a lot to do with the definition of “robot”:

    Japan has a very broad definition and calls pretty much anything a robot. A CNC-machine is considered a robot in Japan, it is not in most other parts of the world.

    The only number I found for this: in 1983, there were 47000 robots in Japan, of which only 3000 were considered being a robot according the German definition “VDI 2860″.

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