[Sci-Tech Asia Virtual Seminar] (January 26th, 2022) "Are Robots the Solution to Japan's Care Crisis?" by James Wright (Alan Turing Institute)

Loretta Lou's picture
Are Robots the Solution to Japan's Care Crisis?
Dr. James Wright (Alan Turing Institute)
January 26th, 2022, 12:00 - 13:30pm (GMT Lisbon Time)
Like several other post-industrial economies, Japan is in the grip of an escalating care crisis. The care needs of older people are growing, and there do not seem to be enough caregivers available to address them. Robots have been repeatedly presented as a high-tech solution to this growing crisis by elements of the Japanese government, particularly under former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and large sums of public money have been invested in their development and implementation over the past decade. This talk draws on 18 months of ethnographic fieldwork undertaken in Japan since 2016 at a national research institute working on the world’s largest care robot project, and at an elder care home introducing three different care robots. It examines how such robots are being developed and used, how their implementation reconfigures aspects of care work, and how they might transform the industry in the future. I aim to show how, when we cut through the stereotypes, myths, and techno-utopian hype about Japan’s relationship with robots, the proposed robotic solution to the care crisis raises fundamental questions about the relationship between productive and reproductive labour under neoliberal capitalism, and in the process reveals alternative possibilities for caring futures.
About the Speaker
Dr James Wright is a Research Associate at The Alan Turing Institute, the UK’s national institute for data science and AI. He received his PhD in anthropology and science and technology studies (STS) at the University of Hong Kong in 2018. His research interests include the development and use of robots, artificial intelligence, and other digital technologies for elder care, and his current project, PATH-AI, focuses on AI ethics and governance in the UK and Japan.
January 26, 2022
12:00 - 13:30pm (GMT Lisbon Time)
This webinar will take place online via Zoom.
Please register HERE.
After registering, a separate Zoom registration link will be emailed to you.

The seminar is supported by the Department of Life Sciences and Research Center for Anthropology and Health (CIAS), University of Coimbra.

Webinar Convenors: Dr. Loretta Lou (University of Macau), Prof. Gonçalo Santos (University of Coimbra) and Dr. Yichen Rao (University of Michigan).
If you have any questions or suggestions please do not hesitate to write directly to us at: scitechasia.network@gmail.com 
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