Robots might take over almost half of Japan within the next 20 years

robots replace 5 million jobs 2020 robot workforce
They’re already driving taxis, running hotels, and serving as disaster relief personnel in Japan, so of course it’s only a matter of time before robots take over the country altogether. And now, as per new findings from Nomura Research Institute (NRI), it looks like that time is fast approaching. According to the researchers’ predictions, up to 49 percent of Japanese jobs could be taken over by robots within the next two decades. And with Japan’s quickly aging population, this may not even be a bad thing for the country’s economy.

“Due to a shrinking population, labor shortages are predicted for Japan. We’re looking at the social repercussions of attempting to preserve the labor force by introducing AI and robots into it,” the researchers note in their recently published report. Previous work in the field has shown that a number of jobs could easily be completed by machines, and already, a number of countries have projected the rise of the robot in the employment market.

“We did the same kind of analysis in Japan that Professor Michael Osborne from Oxford University carried out in the U.K. and the U.S.,” Yumi Wakao, a researcher at NRI told Motherboard. Those projections are a bit lower, with estimates of a 35 percent takeover in the U.K., and 47 percent at home. This discrepancy, Wakao notes, is due to the fact that robots across the pond have already replaced quite a few jobs that are capable of automation.

Still, the researcher notes, current estimates are “only … hypothetical technical calculation[s],” that do not “take into account social factors.”

Of course, just because robots replace humans in jobs like data entry, car driving, or hotel reception, doesn’t mean that we’re fast approaching an era where we become couch potatoes with nothing to do. Rather, experts note, the ability of robots to perform more menial tasks will free up humans to take on more interesting jobs, like those that require creativity, compassion, and other human-specific qualities.

So you can thank them now or thank them later, but a robot “stealing” your job may be the best thing to happen to your career.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Inflating smart pills could be a painless alternative to injections

Could an inflating pill containing hidden microneedles replace painful injections? The creators of the RaniPill robotic capsule think so — and they have the human trials to prove it.
Emerging Tech

Robot assistants from Toyota and Panasonic gear up for the Tokyo Olympics

Japan plans to use the 2020 Olympics to showcase a range of its advanced technologies. Toyota and Panasonic are already getting in on the act, recently unveiling several robotic designs that they intend to deploy at the event.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Business

British Airways’ new Club Suite for business class comes with a door

British Airways is going after a bigger slice of the business class market with the imminent launch of the Club Suite. The plush seating option offers a more private space as well as an easier route to the bathroom.
Smart Home

Sony’s Aibo robot dog can now patrol your home for persons of interest

Sony released the all-new Aibo in the U.S. around nine months ago, and since then the robot dog has (hopefully) been melting owners' hearts with its cute looks and clever tricks. Now it has a new one up its sleeve.
Emerging Tech

The U.S. Army is building a giant VR battlefield to train soldiers virtually

Imagine if the U.S. Army was able to rehearse battlezone scenarios dozens, or even hundreds, or times before settling foot on actual terrain. Thanks to virtual reality, that's now a possibility.
Emerging Tech

A silver bullet is being aimed at the drug-resistant superbugs on the ISS

A bacteria which is benign here on Earth can mutate into a drug-resistant superbug once it enters space. Now this problem is being tackled by a team of microbiologists who have found a way to inhibit the spread of bacteria in the ISS.
Emerging Tech

Tombot is the hyper-realistic dog robot that puts Spot to shame

Forget Boston Dynamics’ Spot! When it comes to robot dogs, the folks behind a new Kickstarter campaign have plans to stake their claim as makers of man’s (and woman’s) newest best friend.
Emerging Tech

Researchers gave alligators headphones and ketamine, and all for a good cause

Researchers in Germany and the United States recently gave ketamine and earphones to alligators to monitor how they process sounds. Here's what it reveals about alligator evolution.
Emerging Tech

Cheese tastes different when it listens to Led Zeppelin, Swiss study finds

A funky new study says that exposing cheese to music changes its aroma and flavor. What’s more, the genre of music matters. Researchers from the Bern University of Arts played music to nine, 22-pound wheels of Emmental cheese.
Emerging Tech

Astronomers plan to beam Earth’s greatest hits into deep space, and you can help

A new project from the SETI Institute (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) will give the public the chance to submit compositions to be beamed into space, with the aim of connecting people around the world through music.
Emerging Tech

Twitter is officially a teenager now. Are we raising a monster?

On March 21, 2006, Jack Dorsey sent the first ever tweet. Thirteen years later, Twitter has fundamentally changed the way we communicate. Here are some of the myriad ways it's done that.
Emerging Tech

Scientists have a way to turn off alcoholism: Blasting the brain with lasers

Researchers from Scripps Research have demonstrated that it is possible to reverse the desire to drink in alcohol-dependent rats by targeting a part of the brain using lasers. Here's how.