WATCH: Japanese robot installs drywall without human help
A Japanese company has developed a humanoid robot that could one day supplement Japan’s manual labor shortage.
Called the HRP-5P by Japan’s Advanced Industrial Science and Technology institute, the robot was envisioned as an alternative solution to take over manual labor in the future, according to a statement via TechCrunch.
Due to Japan’s aging population and declining birth rate, the labor sector worries about not having enough workers who will replace those who will be retiring.
“It is expected that many industries such as the construction will fall into serious manual labor shortages in the future, and it is urgent to solve this problem through robot technology,” wrote the creators.
Apart from the impending labor shortage, HRP-5P’s developers also see the robot as a means to accelerate the construction of large structures such as aircraft and ships. Robot workers would also free humans from the danger inherent in such construction sites.
HRP-5P actually has some similarities to Boston Dynamics’ latest version of the Atlas humanoid robot. However, the HRP-5P may not be agile enough to do backflips like the Atlas.
While the idea of a mechanized workforce may apply to Japan’s situation, elsewhere in the world there are far too many people and not enough jobs going around. The onset of robotic workers who require no benefits or labor unions could trigger unrest in workers who fear losing their livelihood to potentially cheaper mechanical counterparts. Alfred Bayle /ra