Our amazing person for today is a man who, due to his experiences that led to him not attending school for a few years, created the alter-ego robot, Orihime, to help erase loneliness from the world.
Mr Ori Yoshifuji, managing director, Ori research laboratory inc.
This week we would like to introduce the robot OriHime. It is a ray of light for those living in loneliness and isolation, and its creator continues to battle day and night to create a world free of these problems.
This an industry that didn’t exist 20 years ago, where one finds themselves working day and night using robotics to find new ways for people that are unable to physically meet with people to form connections to society.
As someone who had experienced loneliness as a child, Mr Yoshifuji wished to send a ray of light to all the people still living in loneliness. In this article we hope to show our readers the amazing impact this grand idea has already had for many people.
Y: It’s said that in the Heisei era (1989-2019) equality of the genders was common sense, of course whether that could be achieved was most likely unclear in the Showa age (1926-1989).
Even though during the Heisei era people said this, equality was not actually achieved, so will it be achieved in Reiwa (2019-present)?
However equal we are, even if people say everyone is equal, the world won’t actually be equal.
That’s because we don’t think that we are discriminating.
This is the problem with the notion of discrimination.
Thinking that you aren’t discriminating between the sexes and not discriminating are the same.
What is taboo now was not the same as what was taboo in the Showa era, so it wasn’t discrimination. However, that is just a change in the notion of what counts as discrimination.
Y: For example, to show respect to those older than us, it is generally felt that one should use Keigo (more formal Japanese).
However, there are a large number people who don’t use Keigo when speaking to people younger than them.
If you consider whether or not this is equality, of course you’d have to come to the conclusion that it is not.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can call it discrimination either.
It is possible in such a society to not have a feeling of discomfort.
Therefore we must consider why one may not have a feeling of discrimination.
That may be, you know, for example because there used to be a larger discrimination which has reduced.
For example, in the era where people discriminated against black people, it was definitely not an age of equality, but that’s because people were not thinking about it as discrimination.
It’s that sort of thing. If people do not have the concept of discriminating against black people then of course they will not be aware of the discrimination.
Going back to the age hierarchy, people did not have a feeling of discomfort, so they were not aware of the inequality.
The way we stumbled across this fact was because men and women were becoming more equal, but this growing equality was not mirrored in the relationship between age groups.
So how can we bring about a society where men and women have equality, as do the old and young. That is the question.
As an example, the eldest of older generations partake in Facebook, but the young now use TikTok.
If a younger person were to tell an older person to try TikTok, would that older person really be able to start using it.
Conversely, the younger generation do not like Facebook and think that it is old fashioned and their new services are better.
I: It really is like that, isn’t it.
Y: The elder generations of humanity have gained the experience of many years.
On that point, the latest model of the new generation has not yet surpassed the humans of the older generations.For this reason it is not so simple, and so I think that we need to respect and learn from each other more.
The current generation have incorporated the internet into their senses and for the purposes of acquiring information have managed to open up a whole new level of speed.
However, how many decades of cultivating business methods, and human experience did it take to develop.
Therefore by trading this experience for an increase in our senses, equality was able to be born, don’t you think.
I: It would be nice to live in an environment where we can respect each other, wouldn’t it.
Y: The word Sensei (Japanese for teacher) comes from the kanji (Chinese characters) for before and born, so it is as though it means born before.
From now on that may start to seem strange.
The older generations may not be able to cross swords with the new generations.
That means that the current newest generation, now in their teens, should receive money to teach modern technology to people currently in their 30s, 40s and 50s.
I think school is heading in that direction.
I: The development of your company and the OriHime are in a way the same thing, was this not difficult?
In the market of robotics there are many models that have been developed by your competitors all across the world. Have you considered any type of collaboration with these other companies or incorporation of their ideas?
Y: Of course the techniques of my competitors are brilliant and I have incorporated some of their ideas.
However, the reason why I thought it was better to develop my own company was because of the feeling that comes from creating as much of your company as possible by yourself.
It wasn’t that I was just interested in developing the tool that I called OriHime, rather that I am interested in what happens after its development as well.
I’m hopeful about how someone who is bed-ridden or cannot move their body, will be able to participate in society after using an Other self robot like OriHime. By using OriHime a new legend may be formed.
These people require society to gain employment, but until now, even with the help of friends they have been unable to work.
Businesses are also unsure about what to have them do, and they are not sure what such a person would be capable of due to their physical limitations.
This mechanism has locked up, so to speak; the gears have snarled into each other. However, hopefully the Other-self Robot cafe will resolve this problem.
It is a business model that will not only allow the disable to develop new high quality relationships, but also allow the cogs of this mechanism to start to spin together well.
I: That’s the power of your laboratory. Are there no bounds to your energy?
Times when your lab coat doesn’t flutter (laughs).
Times when your motivation ebbs.
Y: That’s an easy question to answer. When I have a headache or other illness (laughs).
When I’m not feeling well my motivation also drops. Therefore, I remember these many days of anguish.
So comparing now to a time where I have no alternative means, my motivation will be higher than when I have no alternative means.
I: What do you mean by days when you have no alternative means?
Y: For example, if we compare two people writing with their left hand. Both are right-handed, but one has a good right hand, whilst the other, for some reason has lost theirs. Naturally the latter person would have a much higher motivation, don’t you think.
I: Ah I see, that’s what you mean.
Y: This is a story about my life, I’ve actually experienced having to restart at something: mobile phone letter input. There are different types, right. In the old days we had the push button input system, but when smart phones came out this changed to a flick input method.
When some younger people told me that I should change to the new flick input and that it was much easier, I thought to myself, well I’ll give it a go. However, it turned out to unbelievably frustrating, and I felt dispirited and wanted to give up…
but, the options for my phone could only be accessed using the flick input system!
Unless I learned to use the flick input I wouldn’t be able to text.
So it couldn’t be helped, and in this way learned to use the flick input system.
I: Amazing. It kind of feels like you were forced to change.
Y: Just as I was thinking the flick system is easy, I realised that my intern, who is still in her teens, uses Siri. Suddenly I no longer live in a world where everything can be done with the flick input system (laughs).
I can’t keep up, never ever (laughs).
I: That’s how it seems. Really.
Y:Also, people that can speak only Japanese like me can live in Japan quite happily without knowing a word of English, but if we travel to an English speaking country that doesn’t speak Japanese then we’d need to study English like our lives depended on it.
Because they don’t understand Japanese.
Therefore, I think it’s correct, that when you have no other means your motivation increases.
People that can do mental arithmetic using an abacus can’t use a calculator and people who can type quickly on a computer don’t need to use a pen.
I: There are also people who have decided they can only use an old fashioned button input phone, but if the production of those types of phones gets cancelled then they would have to start using smartphones.
Y: That’s right that’s right. I have skills in programming and using CAD, but 10 years from now there will most likely be a new product that I have to study and learn or I won’t be able to continue working.
There’s absolutely no time to rest, you have to keep on updating your skills.
I: I’m eagerly awaiting all these fascinating new products that will come from your boundless energy.
Thank you very much for your time all 4days .
Y: Thank you too