Softbank’s son CEO says smart robots can revitalize Japan’s growth and competitiveness

Tokyo — SoftBank Group CEO Masayoshi Son said on Wednesday that so-called smart robots have boosted Japan’s economy and competitiveness, and the company’s popular “Pepper” robot is preparing to bow. He said that robotics could be doubled in the same way.

At the SoftBank World 2021 conference online, his son went to 18 companies that the company’s Vision Fund is developing artificial intelligence (AI) -enhanced machines that go far beyond the cute Pepper dance and door greeting capabilities. He said he was involved.

“We had a spectacular debut event at Pepper a few years ago, but now we’re bowing,” Son said, standing in front of Pepper’s projection with the slump switched off.

The founders of SoftBank are looking to the future of “smart robots that will replace not only manufacturing and industrial workers, but all workers.”

His son packed the keynote with videos of humanoid robots running and jumping, and videos of canister-type machines cleaning the floor.

But he didn’t elaborate on new investments or market prices for any device, nor did he mention the suspension of SoftBank’s investment in China, where regulators are dramatically increasing scrutiny of tech companies. It was.

In June, Softbank sold 80% of Boston Dynamics, a maker of dog-like “spots,” to Hyundai Motor Group in South Korea for $ 1.1 billion. A month later, Reuters report The sale of pepper announced by his son, who has many fanfares in 2014, will end in 2023.

On Wednesday, Softbank continued to be a collaborative partner with Boston Dynamics, from Pepper to a generation of more functional smart robots, or “Smabo,” which he stands for “smart” and “robot” in Japanese. He said that what he called would come.

According to his son, such a machine could revolutionize the workforce, as one smart robot can run 10 times the daily output of a human. In Japan, he added, it means that 100 million robots can do the work of 1 billion people.

“Human beings can be freed from boring work,” he said. “(They) can work on something more value-added.”