Virtual diva Hatsune Miku following the moves of a live dancer with a video game controller, Kinekt.
Meat cutting is a dangerous, physically stressful, and tedious job. Replacing human meat cutters with robots is all around better if the humans have an income.
The representative repeatedly says the robots can cut oddly shaped soft objects. He is making clear that cutting ham is not the only use. The robot can cut a wide variety of foods but also non-food. They’ve likely chosen ham boning as their first task because the size makes it easier than smaller or more delicate food like fish and improving ham processing is higher value than vegetables. Defining the goal properly and finding the best entry to the market is very important for innovation success.
The makers of the Hamdas robotic meat cutting machine, Mayekawa, also make many environmentally friendly energy saving innovations. They are looking at the full range of interconnected innovations. They are using what Predictive Innovation® calls a Future Map. Each of their innovations builds on part of the other thus making each one less expensive and less risky to develop and higher value.
Many of the comments to the video bring up the concern jobs being eliminated. How can human meat cutters have an income when the job of cutting meat is done by machines? The common answer of making or repairing robots is fatally flawed. Repairing robots will not require as many people as the jobs the robots replace. The best way for meat cutters to have an income when robots are doing the work is to own robots. This way the people are still meat cutters, they just aren’t doing the physical work.
Another alternative for displaced workers is to do something else that robots makes possible. This unfortunately will likely displace other workers. Automation replaces people in any task that is done more than once. The solution is to focus on things that can’t be replicated. Personal experiences are one thing that can’t be duplicated. Satisfying those desires will be large growth area over time. In the short term, anything that helps individuals and small groups own the machines that makes things will be a crucial part of making the transition from economics to abundance.
In the USA picking strawberries is hard low paid work for migrant, often illegal alien, workers. Japan’s robot strawberry picker comes from a different mindset.
Most post-industrialized nations complain about cheap foreign labor taking their jobs. Similarly people living in high income nations complain that automation is eliminating jobs, even jobs no one really wants to do. Standing in the hot sun bending over picking strawberries for 12 hours per day is not desirable work for any person.
Japan values their national cultural identity much more than other post-industrialized nations. Being a small island nation they are very concerned about depending on foreigners for materials. Japan understands and values self-sufficiency. Additionally, Japan is an aging society. The ratio of young people who are able to do manual labor is declining. If Japan is going to remain self-sufficient it must find ways to do more with less human labor.
Japan’s obsession with automation stems from their need to do more with less. Proper design and automation is how Japanese companies increase productivity and quality while reducing costs.
Even though Japan is a small nation it produces a great deal of food, particularly for local use. Rather than using the mass production approach of the nations with large amounts of land such as the USA, Canada, and Russia, Japan produces food in super efficient small scale farms. These types of farms are particularly well suited to automation. A small family owned farm using automation can produce much more food per acre and at much higher quality than the large scale industrial farming approach. Rather than viewing automation as stealing jobs, the Japanese are spreading real wealth by allowing more people to directly own and operate the means of production.
Japan is moving forward into Abundance both technologically and socially. Other nations and people could learn a lot from the Japanese.