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SoftBank CEO Says Robots Make Peace, Not ‘Terminator’ War

SoftBank CEO Says Robots Make Peace Not Terminator War Japan Real Time WSJ


SoftBank Corp. chief executive Masayoshi Son invited the Japanese firm’s emotion-sensing robot Pepper onstage during the annual general shareholders’ meeting Friday. The two competed on tongue-twisters, with Pepper rattling off a tongue-twister 100 million times faster than Mr. Son — and getting some laughs for it.

“This is a robot that can love,” Mr. Son said.

He then played a video touting ability of technology to eliminate war. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a robot or a cellphone or a PC,” Mr. Son said. “I want to change the way people and computers relate with one another.”

It is a cliche that Japan has more of an affinity for robots than western countries. And like most cliches, it is probably wrong. Yes, Japan has its share of evil robots in movies and manga (Mechagodzilla, anyone?), just as there are plenty of lovable, quirky robots from Hollywood. But the contrast between Mr. Musk’s view on artificial intelligence and Mr. Son’s is striking.

Pepper is becoming a familiar presence by Mr. Son’s side at news conferences, and is now employed at SoftBank stores in Tokyo’s Omotesando and Ginza shopping districts. The warm-hearted robot has gained access to Mr. Son and his operations that this reporter can only envy.

Stashed in: Robots!, #love, Emotion, Japan, Turing, @elonmusk, Softbank

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Wait, what is Mr. Musk's view on artificial intelligence?

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