The creator of the original PlayStation console is back to make new machines, though they probably aren’t what you’d expect. Ken Kutaragi has moved from video games to robots, and he aims to help human workers with factory jobs.
Speaking to Bloomberg, Kutaragi explained that as CEO of Ascent Robotics, a company founded in 2016, he is not receiving a salary and wants to solve problems caused by the pandemic.
“The COVID-19 outbreak has turned the old argument about robots taking our jobs on its head,” he said. “It’s pretty clear now that if we want to arrive at a new normal, we need more and more robots in our daily lives.”
Increased automation has certainly been a concern across numerous industries, with machines taking the place of cashiers, assembly workers, and even cooks. With the pandemic putting peoples’ lives at risk, however, at least a temporary increase in automation may be necessary. The machines working alongside humans could reduce person-to-person contact which would in turn limit chances for the virus to be transmitted.
In Kutaragi’s case, he’s aiming to create new technology related to autonomous driving and more traditional robotics, including an arm that can pick items out using a camera.
Kutaragi left his position at Sony in 2007, the year after it launched the PlayStation 3. He had served as chairman and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment (now Sony Interactive Entertainment), and was succeeded by Kaz Harai, arguably a more recognizable figure who has spawned countless memes. Harai went on to lead all of Sony as CEO for several years. The PlayStation brand is still strong, of course, with the PS5 due to launch next month.