Technology helps Japan fight acute loneliness epidemic


Humans are social beings and behind every human desire is the longing for love and affection. Men cannot exist in isolation and yet, even in the face of ever growing human population, there is an epidemic that is fast gaining ground in the real world of existence.

In a world that is fast pressed for time amidst the concerns of an exerting workload and hectic than ever professional commitments, loneliness is a very serious issue that has been plaguing the world for quite some time now. And particularly in a  country like Japan, where majority of the population are way beyond their prime, the situation appears to be even grave.

With an economic crunch meaning that jobs are more demanding and comparatively less paying, there is a serious dearth of time to be spent with family, or rather even in rearing one’s own family. And hence the rising public concern over this implication of a fast paced economy is palpable.

Source: Hindustan Times

The dangers looming over the emotional aspect of society in such a case are tremendous- particularly because mental health issues like dementia and depression tend to aggravate owing to the solitary confinement.

So while the only way out of this mess of veritable dilemma is undoubtedly more and an enriching human interaction, businesses have already built up on an alternative that seeks to take care of the larger issue at hand. Technology, once again, might have to take center stage to rescue human beings from this plunge into impending doom.

So what has emerged as potential saviors of the human race are specifically devised robots and virtual assistants that rank high on the emotion quotient and strives to keep you company as you trudge wearily along the lines of an unentertained existence.


In fact, this externality to the world of care and empathy generally expected from mortals seems to be paying dividends and though robotics have been in existence in this sphere since quite some time, the need for its utilisation is being felt and recognised even more now.

An AI powered virtual assistant is being developed by Japanese based startup Couger that can seamlessly follow a person around and relate to them on a personal level. Similarly, an anime inspired VR companion has been developed by Gatebox as a virtual partner for younger men who aren’t much comfortable with dating other humans.

Source: ARS Technica

But perhaps it is the Telenoid R1 that is more revolutionary in the sense that it allows projection of user’s faces while communicating with the person concerned.

Source: Pink Tentacle


Or even the Pepper Robot by TechGiant Softbank Robotics which can function as virtual children or grandchildren to lonely couples or the elderly. And there are also Sony’s Aibo Robot dogs that lend companionship to those who prefer canines over dummy humans.

And while it’s artificial intelligence and science that we rely on to rescue us from the dumps, the basis for this revival is undoubtedly humane. For there are minds at work that have strived to bring out humans from this mass of chronic depression. Alternatively, Japan has worked up ideas like setting up of anti loneliness cafes as also a means of overruling the epidemic that threatens the entire human existence at large.