Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull clicks selfie with Japanese robot Asimo, praises Japan’s technology
Ahead of his talks with Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has made it a point to meet Asimo. He visited Miraikan, Japan’s museum of emerging science and innovation where he was greeted by Asimo, the highly-advanced, cutting-edge humanoid robot. Asimo is used to promote Japanese innovation and advancement in technology.
Mr. Turnbull went global with his Government’s innovation agenda and praised Japan’s commitment to technological advancement. He described Asimo as “charming and curious.” He was so impressed by the robot’s human-like moves that included hopping on one leg, walking backwards and running, he quickly took selfies and even posted one on his Instagram account, reports News.com.au.
“I was so excited to meet Asimo, my first robot. My first robot I’ve shaken hands with, first robot I’ve taken a selfie with. Perhaps next time he can take a selfie of us,” said Mr. Turnbull.
For the first time, Asimo was programmed to shake hands and Mr. Turnbull is the first person with whom Asimo shook hands with. Previously, the robot was only programmed to bow and greet world leaders, following the Japanese culture. Japanese experts created Asimo during the “century for imagination and innovation.”
Japan’s first astronaut and Miraikan chief director Dr. Mamoru Mohri showed Asimo to the Australian Prime Minister. Dr. Mohri has a PhD from Flinders University in South Australia.
According to ABC News, Mr. Turnbull described his one-day visit to Tokyo as auspicious and said that Australia is already using Japanese robotic technology. He took the example of Andrew Harding, the head of Rio Tinto’s iron ore division and said how Harding’s company is taking the help of Komatsu “to build the world’s largest fleet of autonomous trucks.” In fact, the navigation systems in these trucks are so advanced and precise that they are outperforming traditional manned counterparts by 12 per cent.
Mr. Turnbull also pointed out the importance of shifting the economy away from resource reliance in spite of the fact that the year 2015 has been Australia’s 25th year of uninterrupted economic growth. He also mentioned the Trans-Pacific Partnership. He believes this is the most suitable time for investing in friendship between the two nations.
A memorandum of understanding was also signed between the nations in the presence of Mr. Turnbull to ensure better sharing of information in the field of regenerative medicine. In the meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Mr. Turnbull will discuss Australia’s submarine contract, Japan is bidding for. The contract is worth $50 billion.
Japan has 40 of the world’s top 100 innovative companies and Mr. Turnbull is publicising his innovations package worth $1.1 billion for greater collaboration between the two nations. However, Japan’s controversial decision to resume whaling in the Southern Ocean this summer was met with a lot of criticism in Australia. The two leaders will discuss the issue in detail.