AI robots to help teach English in Japan

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We have invested so heavily in anthropomorphizing machines. We call them robots, we call them intelligent. We really are normalizing the replacement of everybody - except the owners of the machines.


So future generations of Japanese will speak English like a robot? Hi Robbie! :wink:


A couple of years ago a Japanese company developed a telepresence robot for teaching English, which would be operated by teachers in the Philippines. Critics suggested that employing Filipino teachers but hiding them behind robots might be motivated by a desire to avoid employing non-white people to teach English.


They should get Cheech to train the AI. He has pretty good technique.

PS. I know

Isn’t this literally the plot of Neal Stephenson’s Diamond Age?! Well, the parts that weren’t really weird, anyway.

Do you want an army of schoolgirls? This is how you get an army of schoolgirls!

So there might be demand for robot suits - to be worn by people who thought they could earn money and travel the world teaching ESL.

More likely by a desire to avoid having non-Japanese people in Japan. It’s a famously homogeneous and insular society. They are also building robots to care for the elderly so that the don’t have to continue to employ Koreans for that. Of course, the cost to run 500 English-teaching robots might be cheaper than the cost of housing and paying 500 foreign-guest-worker English teachers - haven’t seen those figures.

I can think of so many ways I’d rather see my tax money wasted.

Unlikely. In truth the whole ALT/JET program is an abject failure. Costs really are not that high but the results are nil. Most likely this is just making room at the govt trough for a currently fashionable yet BS industry.

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