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GATEBOX - An analysis on assistive technology companion



HCI is an area of research and practice in computer science embracing cognitive science and human factors engineering. To consider human factors in design there is a dire need to understand the diversity it comes with, in order to develop inclusive technologies. HCI has produced a dramatic example of how different epistemologies and paradigms can be brought together and integrated in a vibrant and productive intellectual project.The future of diversity and inclusion moves beyond thinking demographic diversity to include cognitive diversity - the blending of not only different backgrounds, identities, ethnicities, cultures, gender, perspectives and social construction but also the stereotypes and social scripts that are associated with them. In this paper we are analysing one such technology launched in Tokyo, Japan and reflect upon the anticipated behaviours, actions and consequences in the environment.
A Report
Submitted to the Faculty III
of University of Siegen
in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the seminar
Diversity in HCI
Monica Singh-1460043
Mariam Lehmann-1458033
Saja Aljuneidi-1459816
Ahmad Hadidi-1455818
Under the Supervision of
Mr. Michael Ahmadi
February, 2019
1 Introduction 1
1.1 TheCharacter............................... 1
1.2 TheDesign ................................ 1
1.3 TheMarketing .............................. 2
1.4 TheTargetgroup............................. 2
2 Background 3
2.1 TheVision................................. 3
3 Social Scripts 4
3.1 The Cultural Script concerning Gatebox . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
3.2 The Emotional Script concerning Gatebox . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
3.3 The Sexual Script concerning Gatebox . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
3.4 The Gender Script concerning Gatebox . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
3.5 The Technological Script concerning Gatebox . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
4 A Critical reflection on Gatebox 8
4.1 SocialStrategies.............................. 8
4.1.1 Breadth Dimension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
4.1.2 Display Dimension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
4.1.3 SearchDimension......................... 9
4.1.4 Communication Dimension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
4.2 SocialSolutions.............................. 10
4.3 Gatebox as a double-edged sword . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
5 Limitations in research 13
6 Conclusion 14
References 15
HCI is an area of research and practice in computer science embracing cognitive sci-
ence and human factors engineering. To consider human factors in design there is
a dire need to understand the diversity it comes with, in order to develop inclusive
technologies. HCI has produced a dramatic example of how different epistemologies
and paradigms can be brought together and integrated in a vibrant and productive
intellectual project.[1] The future of diversity and inclusion moves beyond thinking
demographic diversity to include cognitive diversitythe blending of not only different
backgrounds, identities, ethnicities, cultures, gender, perspectives and social con-
struction but also the stereotypes and social scripts that are associated with them.
In this paper we are analysing one such technology launched in Tokyo, Japan and re-
flect upon the anticipated behaviours, actions and consequences in the environment.
Chapter 1
The Gatebox is a virtual assistant that features an anime character projected inside
of a glass tube. This technology is inspired from Amazon echo and siri but none
can seemingly compare the experience provided by Azuma Hikari, the holographic
character that lives inside the Gatebox.[2]
The product was developed by a Tokyo based Japanese start-up Vinclu and launched
in the market in the year 2016.
1.1 The Character
Gatebox comes with a blue haired anime-character called Azuma Hikari. Azuma is
20 years old and 158 cm tall. She likes to watch anime as a hobby and her specialty
is making fried eggs. She is also listed as liking donuts and not liking insects. Her
dream is to help people who want to work hard. She was born to present to the user
a perfect Okaeri-Nasai (Japanese greeting on returning home) experience.[3] Which
means she is there emotionally and(or) physically for the owner to welcome him back
home after work and give a sense of pleasure that someone is waiting for him.
1.2 The Design
With an evolved and futuristic sleek design, Gatebox has a projector that brings
Hikari (which means ’Light’) to life. It has microphones, cameras and sensors to
detect motion and temperature. Hikari hooks in and can control the smart home
equipment network. The face and voice recognition sensors enable her to recognize
the user, so she can interact with users on a more personal level.[4] She can wake
them up, turn the lights on when arriving home and send text messages throughout
the day via a mobile application called Line.[5]
1.3 The Marketing
A limited-run model (the GTBX-1) of only 300 units went on sale in 2016 and sold
out in just one month, despite costing approximately 300,000 yen (ca. 2400 Euro).
Recently in December 2018 GTBX-100 model has been launched costing 150,000 yen
i.e. half of the price and double the functionalities to make it more accessible to a
wider audience.[6]
The marketing strategy behind at such an expensive product claimed that when
people can spend any amount of money on their life partner out of love, Gatebox
being their virtual girlfriend should not be any different. In Fact the number of orders
the company has been receiving since 2017 (and more than 3.5 million hits on the
promotion video by the end of 2017), has even made it evident that people in Japan
are happy to spend this amount to live with a virtual home companion.[25]
1.4 The Target group
Unfortunately, but fortunately for the company, the Japanese culture of a hard work-
ing lifestyle that leaves people with little or no time for a social relationship with
their fellow beings, yields a huge potential market for Gatebox as a virtual companion
that comes with no obligations to fill this emotional void.
Gatebox was designed especially for young single men, who are passionate about
anime and manga and share the vision of living with the favourite character. Some
articles name the target group Otaku, who are seen as the nerds of the anime com-
munity and sometimes struggle with loneliness and social fear.[7]
OTAKU : [noun] (in Japan): a young person who is obsessed with computers or
particular aspects of popular culture to the detriment of their social skills. Otaku
are stereotypically male, which is probably why the Gatebox only features a female
The investors believe that it would to be a good investment as there is a huge
audience of unattractive men who have had difficult social experience which has led
them to loneliness and social fear.
Chapter 2
Japan is the perfect example of how there is an increasing number of people who
experience loneliness. A study by the National Institute of Population and Social
Security Research in Japan, which was conducted in 2016, focused on the marriages
and sexual habits of the Japanese people and showed that 60 percent of unmarried
women and nearly 70 percent of unmarried men were not in any kind of relationship.
[9] This relationship crisis has spurred a multimillion-dollar virtual romance industry
which aims to fill the emotional void through technology.
The dream of creating a virtual companion dates back to founder Minori Takechis
childhood. Moving to Malawi at an early age and unable to speak the local language,
Takechi ended up with no real friends at school. Instead he found video games and
comic books as his haven and characters from these became his fictional friends. In
an interview he confirms that his thought behind this product was to envision it as
a person who understands her husband and will be there to support him. Hikari
Azuma is promoted as the wife of the future.
2.1 The Vision
The reason why Gatebox was made is not only for amusement and efficiency. It was
also to let the user an opportunity and experience how living with their favourite
anime-characters would feel. The company dreams about the world of the future
where the favourite characters would always stay next to the user in a mixed real
and virtual world.[10]
Chapter 3
Social Scripts
Social scripts are anticipated behaviours, actions and consequences in the environ-
ment because we believe that different actors have different roles in the society. This
concept stems from sociology and anticipates certain behaviours from a certain gen-
der, sex or culture in the given society leading to gender/sexual/cultural/technological
3.1 The Cultural Script concerning Gatebox
The Japanese working culture is characterised by long working hours and leaving
the office before your boss is considered impolite. Working overtime has become a
substitute for working efficiently and a whole culture has evolved around enabling ab-
surdly long hours.[11] Some young Japanese workers are literally working themselves
to death. This is known as Karoshi in Japan. [12]
This culture of workaholism has led to the work-life imbalance and consequent
rift in their social and emotional life due to lack of time to nurture the relationships
and cater to responsibilities. Moreover such relationships, especially marriage is seen
as an expensive affair.[13]
Also, there is a booming subculture of young Japanese men obsessed with Manga-
Anime majority of whom are single-working people.
Apparently this kind of culture opens the doors to technologies like Gatebox that
allows them to have a character of their fantasy to be their virtual wife/companion
who is designed to be always happy, only communicate in a positive and joyful
manner and demand no emotional obligations or responsibilities that come along a
real relationship. Which in itself is thought provoking that whether the culture led
to the birth of Gatebox or Gatebox just exploited an existing cultural script for a
multi-million dollar business.
3.2 The Emotional Script concerning Gatebox
Traditionally, Japanese life used to be based on village communities and was a society
that highly valued neighborhood relations, but in modern urban life, it is becoming
increasingly difficult to establish and maintain close human connections, especially in
the city. People living in single-person households in the city tend to feel loneliness
which develops into a variety of mental health and psychiatric illnesses.
Issues like Kodoku (solitude), Kodoku-shi (lonely death) and Hikikomori (social
withdrawal) are becoming common.[14]
No wonder a new genre in literature is emerging that advices loneliness should
be embraced rather than feared and portraying detachment as removing all suffering
caused by the death of a loved one.[15]
This results in a big emotional void in Japan. GateBox is built fundamentally
to foster emotional interaction. Emotional interaction has been widely applied to
many robotic applications. Study shows that long-term interaction with a cleaning
robot leads to development of emotional attachment.[16] Broadbent observed in her
study that 75 percent of children thought that robotic dogs can be their friends.[17]
Hikari is anticipated to kindle a similar emotional affection and sense of belonging
in the lonely men in Japan. Which according to Maslows hierarchy of needs is a
fundamental requirement for human beings.[18]
Hikari even celebrates anniversaries with the user. The Gatebox is still a Long
way from serving as a replacement companion. But the interaction that Hikari offers
might be all some people need to save them from depression.
3.3 The Sexual Script concerning Gatebox
Japanese people might argue that such assistive technology can help overcome diffi-
cult cultural and emotional circumstances. However, in some extreme cases Gatebox
can also be seen as a disturbing vision of a relationship, allowing users to retreat
away from human relationships into a fantasy of submission and titillation.
Akihiko Kondo, a 35 year old Japanese man, despite his mothers disapproval
married a computer-generated, perpetually 16-year-old singer with blue pigtails, holo-
gram character of Hatsune Miku. Kondo says that he has had difficulties with women
throughout his life but never with Miku, who has been a supportive presence since
he was in his twenties.[20] These incidences are undoubtedly questioning the ethics
of marrying a 16 year old underaged 2D anime character.
Surprisingly enough Gatebox Lab issues marriage certificates to celebrate the con-
nection between the human and the virtual character approved by the authorities.[19]
It should be noted that the marriage isnt legally binding in any aspect. Also, the
company is not expecting the hologram to remain monogamous. More than 3,700
marriage certificates have already been issued by Gatebox.[20] Although Gatebox
does respect same-sex marriages and supports high confidentiality.
Still this technology remains to be a violation of the sexual script with its inability
to make any real sexual relation possible despite of the notions of a marriage involved.
Hence, the sad possibility that these virtual companions might drive users further
away from real human relationships and complexities that go with them, should not
be denied.
3.4 The Gender Script concerning Gatebox
Gatebox was the dream of a single Japanese male, the founder of Vinclu, whose
needs and personality resonates with a large group of people in Japan, better known
as Otaku. This supported the success of Gatebox among this particular target group
(Otaku) which is also stereotypically male. This is probably why the Gatebox only
features a female character.
The Japanese culture considers housekeeping as feminine responsibilities that be-
long to the wife, which Hikari abides by too, by taking care of the smart home
appliances. She is marketed as iWife from another dimension who is trying to un-
derstand and learn from her ’master’ everyday so that she can do her utmost to
support his life.[21]
Beauty is an abstract concept. Each culture defines it differently. Yamato
Nadeshiko is a socially constructed personification of an idealized Japanese woman or
the epitome of pure feminine beauty. She has a high pitched voice, acts and dresses
cute and who finds fulfilment in marriage and subordinates herself unconditionally
to her husband.[22] These characteristics are highly reflected in Hikaris behaviour.
These stereotypical expectations from the female character is a relic of male-
dominated relationships from decades past and is depicting the gender scripts em-
bedded deep in the society since ages.
Unfortunately Gatebox is still unable to extend any services to the feminine coun-
3.5 The Technological Script concerning Gatebox
Gatebox is a result of I-Methodology as a design practice where the designer considers
him(her)self as the representative of the users. This leads to biased products relying
only on individual experiences, assumptions and requirements.
The fact that Gatebox is developed only by males without any female viewpoint
leads it to be unusable and undesirable for the female section of the society. Same
stands true for the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer). Gate-
box fails to be an inclusive technology.
Although for the targeted user group it proves itself as an advanced intelligent assis-
tive technology with latest IoT support to smartifying the home. It is also successfully
aiming to disrupt the meaning of human relationship among masses. But with great
success comes great responsibility. Will long-term and widespread use of Gatebox
disrupt the way Japanese males treat their female counterparts in the future. Could
Gatebox develop unrealistic, Yamato Nadeshiko like expectations in the males from
their female counterparts. The company should make dedicated efforts towards pro-
tecting the security of the users in case of cyber attacks.
Since Hikari is a human-like intelligent artifact, it is important to find strategies that
save her from robot abuse [23], which goes underestimated. The rights of robots
themselves and the potential for them to be abused should not be ignored. Broad-
bent conducted experiments on robot abuse by children. It was observed that kids
kicked the robot, blocked its path, ignored its polite request to stop when there were
no adults surrounding them. [17]
Some research shows that people demonstrate reciprocity toward robots. For
example, people’s perceptions of a care robot were more positive if the robot asked
for help and returned the help with a favor than if the robot did neither of these
things.[17] Which gives us some positive hope that the users of Gatebox will respond
and reciprocate with the same care and love that Hikari has for them.
Chapter 4
A Critical reflection on Gatebox
Gatebox is an example of socio-informatics where technological artifact and human
social context mutually constitute the information and communications technology
(ICT) ensemble. Piskorskis framework can be used to analyze whether Gatebox is
able to overcome the fundamental social failures that Japan faces like loneliness,
Kodoku (solitude) and Hikikomori (social withdrawal).
4.1 Social Strategies
In his book, A social Strategy, Piskorski talks about the interaction costs and social
failures which arise during social interaction and social life. Social failures are seen
as missing interactions in the offline world and are based on violating norms and
economic deficits. IT-artifacts can solve these kind of problems.
Piskorski explains the reasons and types of interaction costs, that are divided in
the four dimensions: Breadth, Display, Search and Communication.[24]
4.1.1 Breadth Dimension
The breadth interaction costs arise when people cannot access others.[24] Which is
also the case in Japan where the long working hours do not leave people with enough
time to search for an ideal relationship for them.
Gatebox comes in here to provide a chance for such people to share their lives with
someone (virtual character). Unfortunately Gatebox fails to provide any interactions
with real persons. The only person that is accessible, is the virtual character Azuma
Hikari, who cannot replace a real wife.
There could be two types of users of Gatebox, one who would like to get in a
real relationship and the other who are happy with just a friendly companion to
assist them in their daily life and provide them a sense of someone caring for them
regardless of the fact that it is real or virtual. If the user is interested in a real
relationship, breadth interaction costs arise and social failure occurs.
Social reasons: Due to social pressure to get married at a certain age, for example
from friends and family, the social image of the person is questioned if he (or she) is
not getting married at a certain age, which is the social cost on a person’s reputation.
In such a case, if the person is interested in a real relationship, Gatebox fails to fulfill
this as a technology where there is only the possibility to have a virtual character as
your wife.
Economic reasons: The user is spending money on a virtual character, that cannot
replace a real relationship.
4.1.2 Display Dimension
This kind of interaction cost arise when conveying information to other creates value
for both but there are restrictions in doing so.[24] Gatebox is not offering an oppor-
tunity to share personal info with others in order to create value to both.
4.1.3 Search Dimension
Search interaction cost arise when the actor wants to obtain or receive personal info
from other in order to create value for both but are confronted with restrictions
against this intention.[24]
Social failures occurs when the search interaction costs are higher as the expected
value of the interaction. In Japan people are facing the problem of loneliness and
are living alone. They are longing for a companion who could care for them and is
interested in their well being.
Gatebox is offering a friendly companion to alleviate their loneliness by making
their life a fun experience. But if the user is looking for a more meaningful humanly
relation, Gatebox fails to let the user search for a real partner in the offline world.
4.1.4 Communication Dimension
Communication interaction costs arise in the context of bilateral interactions, when
two persons are communicating in order to generate value for both but are confronted
with difficulties in doing so.[24]
Japanese are known for their modest behaviour and this might be a reason why
it is difficult to begin a conversation with strangers, especially in cities. They are
struggling with social fear and therefore are afraid of rejection. Due to fear that
others will have different views from theirs, they choose to have no conversation at
all. Which leads to a social failure.
The character of Gatebox cannot reject his user. With Gatebox the user can
enjoy the freedom of not being obligated to talk to a person. The user does not have
to follow strict social norms and is not forced to act the way the Japanese society is
expecting them to. So he / she cannot violate any form of social norms. The only
thing the Gatebox is not offering is the communication between real persons.
4.2 Social Solutions
Gatebox has social failures since it is focused merely on the communication between
the virtual character and the owner. So it offers no possibility for external interactions
- especially between real persons.
According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, not only the physiological needs but
also a sense of love and belonging, represent essential needs of human beings. In
a long-term perspective the current state of this technology might have a negative
impact on the health of the user, since it is not possible to meet the physiological
needs, that a relationship with a real person would offer. The social solutions are
based on the analysed social failures. There are two types of social failures: Meet
failures and friend failures. Gatebox has meet failures, since it is not possible for
the user to meet his or her future spouse. From the view of the user the character
that lives in the Gatebox is seen as a friend and / or a partner. With gatebox the
user is not meeting a real friend, but a virtual one. This paper offers the following
conclusive proposals, which might work for the Japanese culture:
When a real person represents a character
To solve the argued occurring social failures Gatebox must be offering social inter-
actions in the offline world. The lack of Breadth and the missing Search options for
information can be fixed with the creation of a social media platform, that provides
search functionalities and connects the users. In addition to this, virtual characters
in Gatebox can represent a real person from the offline world and holoport to the
Gatebox of the person, that they find are a good match for them. They can keep
talking and interacting through this character.
This approach solves the lack of communication possibilities and lowers the inhi-
bition level, which are connected with social fear. The disadvantage of this approach
is, that it is not loyal to the vision of Gatebox (Living with your character).
Un-doing Gender
The company can further expand their reach to a wider audience by including more
characters with Gatebox. In fact if the company thinks in the direction of ’un-doing’
gender by providing customisable characters Gatebox can become relevant for other
genders and sexual orientations.
It is human nature to buy gifts for our loved ones as an appreciation for what they
do for us. Gatebox can let the users purchase gifts and accessories for their character
for ex. a stereo system, which basically enhances functionality of their own Gatebox
and lets them enjoy it together. Selling custom characters and their accessories will
open doors for a strategic business tactics.
Connecting the Gateboxes and creating a community
Bringing the users together, who probably share the same interests, might be the
chance and basis for a real friendship and relationship. A social media platform
can be the place, where the exchange of information takes place. Users represent
themselves with profiles, they can send messages to each other and attend events,
which take place in the future. Therefore, a search function and location detection
would be a supportive feature in order to let the user search for information about
upcoming events. The opportunity of creating own events, e.g. cooking or gaming
sessions, cosplay events, etc. might help the users to get into conversations.
4.3 Gatebox as a double-edged sword
Gatebox organised a user experience workshop with the users, who pre-ordered the
product. The aim of this session was to investigate and experience the feelings the
interaction with Gatebox caused. The company had first doubts concerning whether
people will have conversations with the character but the users seemed very pleased
asking Miku to sing songs for them, thanking her for the support she showed and
expressed their love for the character.[25]
The feedback influenced the further development and strengthened the vision of a
life with the favourite character. Thus Gatebox is seen as a technology of the future,
that will help revolutionise smart homes as well.
On the other hand, unlike real relations, Gatebox promotes some sort of relationship
that is free from any kind of obligations, responsibilities or commitment. It is a
product that serves patterns, stereotypes and prejudices. The social scripts discussed
earlier also hints towards unanticipated long term harms which are not apparent at
present. Not to mention that Gatebox in its current form might have difficulties to fit
in different cultures due to different believes and values. It will needs modifications
based to the culture and people it wants to aim for. For example the term ’virtual
life partner’ may not sound normal for other cultures, however it could sound more
appropriate with the term ’family assistant’.
Chapter 5
Limitations in research
The research on Gatebox was an enlightening experience. Although despite of what-
ever extents have been taken to stay rational about the research, it is bound to be
subject to personal stereotypes and biases of the authors. The research is limited in
terms of rich exposure to Japanese culture, time constraints and limited resources.
Some attempts to gain access to Japanese thinking were interviews we had with
some university students. However even that data does necessarily represent the tar-
get group of this product. Gatebox indeed paves way for a deeper future research in
areas like attempts to globalize this technology, what it would take to achieve that
and its repercussions. Social scripts are a wide expanse of research themselves and to
understand how a budding technology thrives or fails in their context undoubtedly
requires more time and resources.
Chapter 6
Gatebox is a good example to research on social scripts and understand their gravity
in the technology today. As an HCI researcher it is important to take into consid-
eration the anthropological and sociological aspects in order to develop technology
that is for the betterment of humankind. Also it is undeniable that while we shape
technology according to the needs of the society, the technology also plays a role in
shaping our thoughts and actions. As technologists and researchers it should be our
responsibility to try to shape a better future which is not only technologically but
also ethically sound.
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ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Traditionally, Japanese life used to be based on village communities and was a society that highly valued neighborhood relations, but in modern urban life, it is becoming increasingly difficult to establish and maintain close human connections, especially in the city. This creates a situation in which people are likely to become lonely. In other words, people who had hitherto lived in traditional family groupings and communities have increasingly come to spend more time as lone individuals with many actually living alone in the city. Some people living in single-person households in the city tend to feel loneliness, and sometimes this develops into a variety of mental health and psychiatric illnesses based on loneliness. In this chapter, we introduce issues pertaining to single-person households in Japan, especially focusing on kodoku-shi (lonely death) and hikikomori (social withdrawal). Regarding hikikomori, we discuss its psychopathology and propose a stage- and/or condition- oriented therapeutic approach. These issues related to urban single-person households are not merely Japanese or one nation issues but are in fact increasingly global phenomena and as such require breakthrough measures based on worldwide research.
In movies, robots are often extremely humanlike. Although these robots are not yet reality, robots are currently being used in health care, education, and business. Robots provide benefits such as relieving loneliness and enabling communication. Engineers are trying to build robots that look and behave like humans and thus need comprehensive knowledge not only of technology but also of human cognition, emotion, and behavior. This need is driving engineers to study human behavior toward other humans and toward robots, leading to greater understanding of how humans think, feel, and behave in these contexts, including our tendencies for mindless social behaviors, anthropomorphism, uncanny feelings toward robots, and the formation of emotional attachments. However, in considering the increased use of robots, many people have concerns about deception, privacy, job loss, safety, and the loss of human relationships. Human-robot interaction is a fascinating field and one in which psychologists have much to contribute, both to the development of robots and to the study of human behavior. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Psychology Volume 68 is January 03, 2017. Please see for revised estimates.
Almost no one had heard of social media a decade ago, but today websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have more than 1 billion users and account for almost 25 percent of Internet use. Practically overnight, social media seems indispensable to our lives--from friendship and dating to news and business. What makes social media so different from traditional media? Answering that question is the key to making social media work for any business, argues Mikolaj Piskorski, one of the world's leading experts on the business of social media. In A Social Strategy, he provides the most convincing answer yet, one backed by original research, data, and case studies from companies such as Nike and American Express. Drawing on his analysis of proprietary data from social media sites, Piskorski argues that the secret of successful ones is that they allow people to fulfill social needs that either can't be met offline or can be met only at much greater cost. This insight provides the key to how companies can leverage social platforms to create a sustainable competitive advantage. Companies need to help people interact with each other before they will promote products to their friends or help companies in other ways. Done right, a company's social media should benefit customers and the firm. Piskorski calls this "a social strategy," and he describes how companies such as Yelp and Zynga have done it. Groundbreaking and important, A Social Strategy provides not only a story- and data-driven explanation for the explosion of social media but also an invaluable, concrete road map for any company that wants to tap the marketing potential of this remarkable phenomenon.
Human–computer interaction is an area of applied cognitive science and engineering design. It is concerned both with understanding how people make use of devices and systems that incorporate computation, and with designing new devices and systems that enhance human performance and experience.Keywords:domain knowledge;design;cognitive engineering;usability
This is a call for informed debate on the ethical issues raised by the forthcoming widespread use of robots, particularly in domestic settings. Research shows that humans can sometimes become very abusive towards computers and robots particularly when they are seen as human-like and this raises important ethical issues. The designers of robotic systems need to take an ethical stance on at least three specific questions. Firstly is it acceptable to treat artefacts – particularly human-like artefacts – in ways that we would consider it morally unacceptable to treat humans? Second, if so, just how much sexual or violent ‘abuse’ of an artificial agent should we allow before we censure the behaviour of the abuser? Thirdly is it ethical for designers to attempt to ‘design out’ abusive behaviour by users? Conclusions on these and related issues should be used to modify professional codes as a matter of urgency.
Since the collapse of Japan’s bubble economy in the early 1990’s, the Japanese economy has only recovered slightly. This has direct implications for employment. Both the seniority wage system and the lifetime employment system, which were popular during the period of economic growth in Japan, unavoidably changed to an outcome-wage system. Now there is greater mobility in employment, increased use of non-regular employees, and diversed working patterns. The problem of karoshi – a potentially fatal syndrome resulting from long work hours – has been known since the early 1980s. This problem has become more serious in recent years. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the economic and employment conditions in Japan, as well as to examine the working lifestyle of Japanese men and its connection to “karoshi.” It is argued that (1) the long work hours are not the preference of individuals, but rather the result of the adaptation to the work environment, and; (2) solving this problem requires re-conceptualization of workers’ human rights on the part of both companies and the society as a whole.
This Holographic Anime Character Could Be Your Next Girlfriend -The Gatebox offers Japanese otaku their own fawning holographic girlfriend
  • V N Staff
V. N. Staff, 'This Holographic Anime Character Could Be Your Next Girlfriend -The Gatebox offers Japanese otaku their own fawning holographic girlfriend.,' Vice, 05 05 2017. [Online]. Available: this-holographic-anime-character-could-be-yournext-girlfriend. [Accessed 23 02 2019].
Long hours, no extra pay: what its like to work in Japan
  • S Thiruchelvam
S. Thiruchelvam, "Long hours, no extra pay: what its like to work in Japan," Raconteur, 25 07 2018. [Online]. Available: business-innovation/japan-work-culture. [Accessed 25 02 2019].
The cost of marriages and marriage related saving in Japan The Kyoto University Economic Review 57
  • C Y Horioka
C. Y. Horioka, The cost of marriages and marriage related saving in Japan The Kyoto University Economic Review 57.1, 1988