Fear and the Friendly Robot


I don’t do a lot of surfing on the net; having broken myself of that habit around 1996. However, when I have some burning interest, I sometimes go hunting. Today, I stumbled across “The Westerner’s Fear of the Neon Sign“. I don’t yet know if it is a good site, but the authors name, The Calligraphy Kid, intrigued me; and his article on cultural codes (albeit, long and hard to get through) contained many points which I found interesting.

If you don’t want to wade through his article, but want to see which points grabbed me; read my comment (assuming it clears moderation) and then search the article. Here is the best gem:

Another startling fact: the Japanese cultural code for ROBOT is AMBASSADOR. While likely to represent either servants or nemeses to the rest of humankind, the mechanoids being developed by the main Japanese zaibatsu are the proxy selves that will spread Japanese ’soft’ values to the rest of the world: a function that the Japanese people, with their entrenched complex about foreign languages, have never been able to perform.

Making errors in front of others brings one shame. Shame is a dominating factor in societal control. Hence, most people won’t speak a foreign language unless they can do it flawlessly. Speaking a foreign language well, almost unavoidably, involves making a long series of errors. So, most Japanese people won’t speak in foreign languages, regardless of having studied for years. I have met several people who refuse to travel overseas because it would require speaking in English (or some other language.)

I could easily see people sending their soft servants to spread diplomacy.


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