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What do Japanese Robots Dream About?

Source |  |  BY:Jorge Calvo

Maybe you remember the movie Blade Runner, based on American writer Philip K. Dick’s science fiction novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968). The main plot concerns a robot hunter who is faced with killing (“retiring”) six escaped Nexus-6 model androids, and man who helps the fugitive androids. The novel explores the issue of what it is to be human. Unlike humans, the androids are claimed to possess no sense of empathy. This film came to mind recently following a report that the European Union is considering that robots, counted as humans, should pay taxes and contribute to social costs. What’s more, they should have an off switch so that they can be automatically turned off in case they decide to emulate the Nexus-6 androids seen in Blade Runner.


While the EU (and Bill Gates) is contemplating linking robots with taxes, China is heavily promoting them in their Industry 4.0 development plan, Made in China 2025 (MiC2025), which, according to the OECD, will lead it to becoming world leader in terms of R&D investments by 2019. If robots could dream, in Europe they would dream about having to pay taxes because they are substituting people’s jobs, while in China they would dream about receiving public funds because they are contributing to economic growth.


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