Date of Graduation

Spring 5-18-2018

Document Type

Project/Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Asia Pacific Studies (MAPS)

College/School

College of Arts and Sciences

Department/Program

Asia Pacific Studies

First Advisor

Brian Komei Dempster

Second Advisor

John Nelson

Third Advisor

Geoffrey Ashton and Leslie Woodhouse

Abstract

Japan’s lost decade(s) ushered in a new era of economic and societal malaise, marked by a shrinking population, an increased proportion of elderly people, inequality, neo-nationalism(s), uncertainty, and isolation. This project seeks to understand how Japan is trying to address these issues and reconstruct itself from the lost decade(s) with the use of artificial intelligence (jinkou chihou) and robotics along with the societal implications of this technology. This interdisciplinary research utilizes innovative, historical narratives (Morris-Suzuki,1988, Hornyak 2006), and the socio-cultural milieu of Japan and its traditions (Allison 2013; Katsuno 2010) to further appreciate and acknowledge Japanese perspectives and thought on AI and robotics and their uses. Furthermore, investigating government-issued publications (Innovation 25; New Robot Strategy; Japan Revitalization Strategy), and contemporary literature by AI field experts (Harari 2017; Bostrom 2017; Frase 2016), this paper argues that Japan’s futurist visions do not take into account the problematic ramifications of AI. In so doing, this paper critically reimagines a best response and re-envisioning of an unfolding and possible future. Research findings may also hold significance in other cultural and national contexts, particularly in nations with shrinking and aging populations, class stratification, and ethnic and techno-nationalism(s).

(Word count: 191)

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