TOKYO-SoftBank Group CEO Son Masayoshi said on Wednesday that so-called smart robots can revive Japan’s economy and competitiveness, and just as the company’s hyped “pepper” robot prepares to withdraw, it doubles its investment in robotics. .
Sun Zhengyi said at the 2021 Online SoftBank World Conference that the company’s Vision Fund has collaborated with 18 companies to develop artificial intelligence (AI)-enhanced machines that far exceed the cute Pepper’s dancing and greeting abilities.
“A few years ago, we had a grand debut event with Pepper, and now it has its head down,” said Sun Zhengyi standing in front of a sinking, closed Pepper projection.
The Softbank founder now sees a future where “intelligent robots will not only replace the manufacturing and industrial workers, but also the entire working population”.
In his keynote speech, Sun Zhengyi included videos of humanoid robots running and jumping, as well as a tank-shaped machine that cleans the floor.
However, he did not provide any specific details of the new investment in equipment or market prices, nor did he mention the suspension of SoftBank’s investment in China, and the regulatory authorities have substantially strengthened the scrutiny of technology companies.
In June of this year, SoftBank sold 80% of Boston Dynamics to South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Group for US$1.1 billion. A month later, Reuters reported that Sun Zhengyi launched Pepper with a big fanfare in 2014 and sales will end in 2023.
Sun Zhengyi said on Wednesday that SoftBank is still a partner of Boston Dynamics, and Pepper will launch a new generation of more powerful intelligent robots-or what he calls “smabo”, the abbreviation of “smart” and “robot” in Japanese.
Son said that such a machine will have the potential to completely change the workforce, because the workload of an intelligent robot is 10 times that of a human’s daily output. He added that in Japan, this means that 100 million robots can complete the work of 1 billion people.
“Humans can be liberated from boring jobs,” he said. “(They) can do work with more added value.”
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times