Japanese Technology from the Future Friday! (GUEST COLUMN)
The JTFF, previously a weekly column from editor Reno J. Tibke, was voluntarily amputated from AkihabaraNews almost a year ago. Reno still occasionally publishes this and other “Oddly punctuated, expository technosnark with a superiority complex and a heart!” at his personal site, Anthrobotic.com. Just because of a good mood or something, he decided to cross-publish a new episode. It's good to be in charge!
This week China wants to get its hands on Japanese test-taking A.I. and is asking very politely; meanwhile, the U.S. is going to get an LA-to-Vegas bullet train from China – which technically means the Americans will finally get to ride some Japanese trains!
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Welcome to Japanese Technology from the Future Friday!
It’s already Friday west of the international dateline – here in Japan, it’s totally the future. The (these days almost never) weekly JTFF is a somewhat Technosnarky coverage of 2-5 particularly important, specifically Japan-related tech stories. Get yourself hip to the micro & macro that went down while North America was sleeping – check in with Akihabara News every (don't count on it) Friday morning and BOOM! Ahead of the game, you win.
:: JTFF – September 18, 2015 ::
• China Rudely Taketh Trains away from Japan and KIRF Their Own and Selleth to America…
Though it can appear otherwise to some – most probably some Chinese people – pretty much all train dorks know that the reason China has near-Japan-level high-speed rail is because they entered into deals with Japan’s big train makers (Mitsubishi, Kawasaki, and Hitachi), then rather scandalously copied the tech, and were then like “Hey world, look what WE made!” Which, while not wholly untrue (assuredly China does have some badass rail engineers), remains a notion glazed with more than a few layers of bullshit sauce. It’s like…you ever been shopping in a Chinese mall? You know how you can get all those DVDs for like $0.78? This is the bullet-train version thereof. But hey, what’s Japan gonna do, right?…well, aside from getting a much more lucrative business deal with India. And that brings us to the news in point: Japan – obviously, or we wouldn’t having this convo – and China are pushing to export their train tech to both developed and developing economies, and for the high-speed flavor, China’s going to America first: a deal has been made between a Chinese rail consortium looking to sell and an American one looking to buy. And just like that, Japanese train technology will finally connect Las Vegas, Nevada to Los Angeles, California! Wait, no…ummm, no – yeah, actually that’s pretty accurate. So, while Bloomberg is too full of sissies to say as much, they do provide some decent info.
[HERE AMERICA HAVE A TRAIN LOVE CHINA – BLOOMBERG BUSINESS]
Celebrating Japan’s Rail Tech: Happy 50th, Shinkansen (VIDEO & GALLERY)
• …and then China Politely Asketh for Japanese A.I. Tech
In the latest tech-transfer situation with all the necessary ingredients for a rerun of the above, A.I. researchers in China have formally asked Japan if they might be able to rip off some collaborate on test-taking A.I. together. See, some time back, Japan made an A.I. bright enough to pass Tokyo University’s notoriously ulcer-inducing, ridiculously difficult entrance exam, and China wants to get in to that school, too. What the Chinese ought to remember, however, is that Japanese universities, while exceedingly difficult to enter, are exceedingly not rigorous once one gets in – just, you know, context. So like, pre-graduation, they might wanna hook that A.I. up to an American curriculum or something (because the U.S. has more A.I. than the rest of the world combined). Lastly, the JTFF will note that the Nikkei Asian Review used the word “robot” in their title and refer to the subject as such, but this right here is a discussion about software. Sure, the Japanese researchers call their software “Torobo,” but it is not embodied. Of course explaining that to readers would require either 1. real reporting or 2. principled avoidance of disingenuous, clickbaiting buzzwords. Everybody sucks at news these days.
[HEY WE LIKE YOUR A.I. CAN WE PLAY TOO – NIKKEI ASIAN REVIEW]
China, it’s Time to Make Your Own Stuff: Hello, China! Welcome to Capitalism. Ummm, You Might Not Like the Next Part…
Live from the future, that is all!