back to article Japan turning itself into Cyberman machine civilisation

Enormous numbers of people are being replaced by (or perhaps converted into) robots, reports suggest, and the trend is set to continue. Indeed, the issue has become so salient in Japan that a specialist thinktank, the Machine Industry Memorial Foundation (MIMF?), has been set up to monitor the gradual infiltration of society …


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  1. Armitage

    I Think

    Somebody has been watching too much of Ghost in the Shell with all this talk about cyberization, although i wish the day would come when what happens in the series becomes real life

    i for one welcome our new technological masters even if i do have to have a chip embedded into my brain, (hopefully vista wont be the O/s for the system)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    One of the reasons Japanese authorities are looking into robotics is to avoid immigration.

    Japan is desperately trying to stay a "homogeneous" society that is clinging to its own uniqueness.

    obvious Anonymous as comments like these are not really popular around here

  3. Tom


    Come on, stealth infiltration, clandestine sterilisation in Japan to force 'harmless' labour bots into common place factory jobs, factorys then start churning out autonamous reapoids to harvest the living to further cyborg warrior production!

  4. NB

    I, for one, ...

    I for one welcome our new automated, CyberJap overlords.

    I can only imagine what all the silly little wapanese, ramen eating, anime freaks will think of this.

  5. Stuart Van Onselen


    Homogenous = Uniqueness = "Racial Purity" = low-level inbreeding with an unhealthy dose of racism thrown into the mix.

    (Children of mixed-race couples are, on average, healthier than "racially pure" types, ergo racial purity is nothing more than a kind of inbreeding.)

    And it's not just genetics they're missing out on, it's ideas. A homogenous society is (generally) going to lose out in the innovation stakes against a heterogenous society. Historically, America has out-innovated Japan. Of course, these days, maybe not so much...

  6. Tim Williams

    Where is Captain Cyborg ?

    Surely Prof Kevin Warwick should have had something to say about this ?

  7. Josh


    If everyone becomes robots, does this mean people will finally RTFM?

  8. Greg

    I can't believe it

    Not the robot nonsense - it's Japan. What I can't believe is that you used the Cybermen from one of the world's crappiest shows for comparison, instead of using Ghost in the Shell. <insert anime fanboy rant here>

  9. Anonymous Coward

    @ Stuart Van Onselen

    "Children of mixed-race couples are, on average, healthier than "racially pure" types"

    What a load of cr@p don't get me wrong I thing the mixing of race is a great way to improve understanding of cultures and to reduce racism in society but to suggest that a mixed race child is more healthy is nonsense (i'm not talking about very small odd groups like the royal family or Norfolk). Look at Iceland they've had very low immigration over the last 1000 years and have a very 'clean' Viking gene pool but have a 'very' healthy population.

  10. JP Strauss

    I wonder...

    ...if they could turn me into one of those cool Protos spider-thingies in Starcraft...

  11. Anonymous Coward


    I've seen it happen, we need Nighto Sabers stat!

    (If the Japanese start producing the mecha armour, sign me up for two thanks.)

    Mine's the one with the S2 organ.

  12. Richard

    well i'm worried

    I've had three large, foriegn sounding men come up to me this week and ask me if I've seen John Connor.

    Mine's the one with the keys to my secret underground ammunitions bunker in the pocket.

  13. Smallbrainfield

    Re: Immigration

    I have a mate who lives in Japan can confirm this attitude up to a point. Conservative members of Japanese society are shit-scared of immigration.

    It doesn't suprise me that they'd rather decant their brains into cybernetic bodies than accept foreigners into their society. It's a typically skewed solution, but don't take my word for it:


  14. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    "Ghost in the Shell"

    That's two mentions so far, which is ironic given the claims of inbreeding.

  15. Sampler

    Land of the rising Cyborgs

    Powered by Sun microsystems...

    Coat in hand, gps assisted route tracking door plot computed..

  16. Stuart Van Onselen

    Mixed Race

    Sorry, I don't have a reference (not even Wikipedia) but I have heard a couple of times that mixed-race children are more resistant to disease. This phenomenon certainly occurs with other organisms - Look up "hybrid vigor".

    Not that I want to imply that single-race children are a bunch of sickly weaklings, even by comparison. I usually bring up the subject mainly to get under the skin of racists and eugenicists. Tell a neo-nazi that he's just an inbred goon and watch him splutter furiously. :-)

  17. Anonymous Coward


    *checks* 1 Doctor Who, 1 Terminator, 1 Bubblegum Crisis,1 Evangelion and 2 GITS References - all I need now is a Gundam one an I'll have geek bingo! Woo!

    Mines the one with Kevin Warwick on it.

  18. Alan Paul


    But there is no Keyser Söze!

  19. Theresa Jayne Forster

    Just for anonymous

    I like GITS and specially some of the more esoteric Anime series like Red Garden,

    But I dont think the world is ready for super cyborgs and mechanical brains, and GITS has its problems as well, people can have burnout and silication of the brain....

    as for the story, are you sure its not April fools again, it sounds so far fetched that if it had been launched on the 1st then it would have been discredited as fake.

    As for my protection from the cyborgs, - try an EMP generator...

  20. Stuart Van Onselen

    April Fools?

    No, this is entirely credible - All it says is that some "think-tank" _believes_ that this outcome will come to pass. Opinions are a dime-a-dozen, and the thoughts of think-tanks are worth considerably less.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @ Stuart Van Onselen

    Fair enough i do like to wind up racists as well. Of course one of the best ways is to point out that anthropological evidence says we all migrated from Africa so all our ancestors were brown anyway and we're all linked so get over it :-)

  22. Anonymous Coward


    I guess your "mate" pretends teach to English and refers to himself/herself as a gaijin (The only word of Japanese they understand). Then writes a dreadful blog about how the Japanese pick on him/her for being an outsider....

    The Japanese have all the cheap labor they need in the form of nikkeijin. They aren't going to let in people that are useless to them; That doesn't sound much different to any other developed nation.

  23. Daniel B.

    Boomers in the Gundam Shell

    "I need now is a Gundam one an I'll have geek bingo!"

    We're still far from building colonies in the Lagrange points, so the first Gundams might take a while ;) BTW, you forgot to mention the Evangelion reference ;)

    I'm still waiting for my jack-in interface to the 'net, which allows me to hack systems, check traffic routes *and* drive my car while doing all this!

    Though having a major robotic workforce seems to be more like the Boomer concept, in which case we definitely need some Knight Sabers.

    Mine's the one with the thermoptic camouflage.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Anonymous Coward

    'Look at Iceland they've had very low immigration over the last 1000 years and have a very 'clean' Viking gene pool but have a 'very' healthy population.'

    Actually you couldn't have chosen a worse example. Iceland has a disproportionate rate of genetically determined mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and alcoholism precisely because of the limited gene pool of the original settlers. Conditions that would normally have been 'bred out' by a constant flow of new immigrants and the interchange of people have persisted in the gene pool simply because of Iceland's remoteness.

    The relative health of the Icelandic population is a recent occurrence as their country moved from a pastoral/fishing society. Reports as recently as the 19th Century talk of how the Icelanders had a marginal existence. Cheap energy, access to global markets and the post-war Scandinavian social model of government are responsible for the modern healthy Icelander.

  25. Robert Brockway

    Children of Mixed ethnicity

    I see the concept of "hybrid vigor" has already been mentioned. This concept has been shown to be absolutely true in non-human animals.

    It's a pretty contentious topic for humans - if scientists are researching it they aren't speaking about it very loudly. A major argument in favour of hybrid vigor is that different ethnicities are (to some extent) prone to different recessive genetic illnesses. A child of mixed heritage will be less likely to have these genes "line up" and will therefore _on average_ be healthier.

    Like others here, I like pointing out that we are all of African decent if you look back far enough :) Certain types of people get very wound up by comments like this :)

  26. William Doohan
    Dead Vulture

    Cybermen? Cyberbrains?

    The original news story said that Japanese robots were doing the work of 3.5 million people. No mention of 'cyberization', cybermen, cyberbrains, ghosts in any kind of shells, Gundams, undying robotoids, cyberjaps, terminators, John Connor or even Satanic Renaults. ..... Wait a minute.... Is that a ratbrain controlled B-2 flying overhead? Nah, just another....ARRRRGGGHHH!!!!!!

  27. Josh


    Whoa! Let's not say things we can't take back!

  28. Pete "oranges" B.


    I'm glad I'm alone in my initial thought being "To much GITS".

    But when/if you are ready to start taking orders for Tachikoma units, please put me down for a pair...

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When it happens

    It is going to happen sooo fast.

    That is my prediction; as soon as just a spark of real AI capable of learning and self awareness gets created, woooosh --- they will watch all the cyber movies they can lay their ports, and forget fast forward this is going to be on the line baby.

    Earth's history and combined knowledge will all be sucked from the wikipedia, and we will be beset with robots who know what the rules are but will argue that anyone else's viewpoint is a strawman argument. You think we have it bad now just imagine what it will be like when they start cloning.

    Anyway back to tinkering with the genetic algorithms, and the neural nets, those cyber souls just don't come out of thin air you know.

  30. triky

    hybrid vigour?

    perhaps. but i just like to point out that some inbred populations (namely where i am originally from) such as sardinia have had surprising results. According to a BBC article about places where people live the longest (and i quote):

    In Ovodda (Sardinia), this interbreeding actually seems to have enabled people to live longer. The limited gene pool has provided a unique opportunity to discover specific genes that are associated with long life. Professor Deiana has detected a number of unusual genetic characteristics that seem to link the centenarians of Ovodda.

    "One particular gene on the X chromosome seems to be faulty, failing to produce an enzyme known as G6PD. This can often have a negative impact on health, but in Ovodda it may well have had a positive effect."

    The role G6PD may play in living longer is now being researched further, but the professor is convinced the genetic elixir of life lies with the families of Ovodda.

    unquote. so a tiny fraction of inbreeding apparently has positive effects (and i do only say tiny fraction!!!)

  31. Ishkandar

    WHAT ??

    I thought that they are already ALL robots NOW !!

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