Today, it is increasingly common for people to use or come into contact with robots in various situations at home and in retail stores, hotels and hospitals. Robots are classified into several types based on their functionality (service and utility robots or those designed to communicate with humans) and appearance (humanoid robots or mechanical robots). The type of robot, to which each country attaches particular importance in the advance of robotics, reflects the sense of values and preferences of its population.
Nomura Research Institute, Ltd. (NRI) has conducted a consumer survey in Japan, the U.S. and Germany on the topic of robots and artificial intelligence (AI). In Japan, respondents often associate the term "robots" with "humanoid robots" that can communicate with humans and they have a high level of familiarity with robots. Of the three countries, the U.S. has the highest level of robot utilization at home and in retail stores with its people being the most enthusiastic about the future use of robots. Germany shows a strong tendency to consider robots for industrial purposes, and its people feel strong resistance to the presence of robots in their households.
Japanese consumers generally have positive attitudes towards robots. However, survey findings revealed that they still lack sufficient knowledge about robots and therefore think the rise of a robot society is still far in the future, causing them to not carefully consider the correlation between humans and robots. As a society, now is the time to properly understand and think about how humans should accept the potential of robots--and the artificial intelligence technologies that support the development of robots--which may essentially change our way of living. Given Japan's rapidly aging population, there are a higher number of people who expect to utilize nursing care robots. As such, Japan is likely to see its market for nursing care robots ahead of the rest of the world.