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Robo Sapiens Japanicus: Humanoid Robots and the Posthuman Family

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Japan accounts for nearly 52 percent of the world's share of operational robots and leads the postindustrial world in the development of humanoid robots designed and marketed specifically to enhance and augment human society. Innovation 25, Prime Minister Abe's visionary blueprint for remaking Japanese society by 2025, with the aim of reversing the declining birthrate and accommodating the rapidly aging population, emphasizes the central role that household robots will play in stabilizing core institutions, like the family. In addition to exploring the cultural logic behind the development of autonomous, intelligent, evolutionary humanoid robots, I argue that new bio-and robot technologies are being deployed to reify old or "traditional" values, such as the patriarchal extended family and sociopolitical conservatism.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 2007

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