In Japan, technological advances in robotics are commonly thought to be integral to facing the challenges of an ageing population. While some research has critically examined this link by investigating the cultural views of care workers in Japan who are positioned to engage with robotic technologies, scholarship focusing on the cultural practices of Japanese gerontechnology developers has remained sparse. The sociological study presented in this article seeks to address this research lacuna. The study finds that there is a tendency for Japanese roboticists to frame ageing as a growing crisis, to justify expenditure on robotic technologies. Additionally, there is a tendency for technology developers to adopt paternalistic design approaches, which often lack substantial input from older persons. However, a key claim of this article is that technology developers should not be conceptualized as a homogenous social group. Gerontechnology developers were found in this study to hold divergent views about the effectiveness of designer-centric approaches. Understanding how technology developers are multifaceted in the views they express and in the environments they work in is beneficial because it challenges the advocacy of more inclusive technology design approaches to be more complex and nuanced.
ASJC Scopus subject areas