B1 Intermediate US 118 Folder Collection
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Hi I'm Sharla folks welcome to this stream we bring you this week's news as
well as business stories from Japan and around the world let's take a look at
today's teacher topics call an angle the CEO of robotic vacuum
maker iRobot visited Japan last week I was lucky enough to be able to sit down
with him for an interview and get his take on some key issues that's going to
unlock a tremendous amount of future potential as consumers are increasingly
becoming aware of health and environmental issues food technology is
also making impressive leaps forward we will take a peek into the new and
exciting developments in the mock meat and dairy market our commentator today
is unico Murakami ahead of OECD Tokyo Center thanks for being with us again
thank you for having me all right first we take a look at this week's Business
News we have in brief with Phoebe emarosa
thanks Allah stock markets across the globe saw massive sell-off this week
although there was a slight rebound in some markets on Friday most indexes were
down for the week on fading risk appetite investors are continuing to
worry about the escalating trade war between the US and China and the impact
of rising interest rates analysts say a spike in US bond yields and caution
ahead of the earning season could also be taking a toll asian shares suffered
huge losses on thursday the key index in india fell more than 2% and here in
tokyo the Nikkei average posted the biggest one-day decline since March but
China took the biggest hit the Shanghai Composite tumbled to the lowest in about
four years Beijing is all too aware that China's economy is in a vulnerable
situation the central bank announced last week that it would cut the amount
of cash that banks have to hold as reserves by 1% this will inject another
750 billion yuan or over 100 billion dollars into the
banking system but investors remain cautious not only are they selling
Chinese stocks but they're also abandoning the yuan China's currency has
fallen over 10 percent against the dollar from this year's high in March
emerging economies are feeling the most pain from the risk of mood adding to an
already tough year many investors are pulling their funds out of these
countries on the back of US interest rate hikes and a stronger dollar India
might be one of the world's fastest-growing economies but it's not
immune to this trend the rupee recently touched a record low against the dollar
prompting concerns about the rising cost of imports many investors were expecting
the Reserve Bank of India to battle inflationary pressure by hiking rates
for the third time this year but the Bank surprised them by keeping the rate
on hold at the last meeting that sealed the rupee's fate as the worst-performing
currency in asia this year the weak rupee coupled with surging crude prices
is a headache for the nation as it imports about 80 percent of its oil
consumers are being forced to pay the price as all farmers who buy key
fertilizers from overseas the government cuts the duty on petrol and diesel last
week in order to provide some relief but experts say this will only worsen
India's budget deficit and that in turn could give investors even more reasons
to pull back now it's time for in-depth last week the Japanese financial
services agency or FSA ordered a regional bank to suspend its real estate
financing operations for six months the decision comes after officials found
that it had been 14 documents to inflate its income from loans the case
highlights the struggle to turn a profit that many Japanese banks have been
facing Suruga Bank headquartered in shizuka Prefecture had been reporting
record high profits for five years leading up to 2016 FSA officials had
even given the bank a high credit rating but in reality most of its loans had
little or no chance of being repaid the bank had been forging and inflating the
income of borrowers allowing it to hand out loans far bigger than its clients
could afford bank managers under pressure to secure
profits had been saddling employees with unrealistic quotas resulting in a
culture of falsification the case highlights the harsh reality for many
Japanese financial institutions this graph shows that profits from interest
on bank loans have been falling year after year analysts say the decline is
largely from the Bank of Japan's monetary easing policies which have
greatly reduced interest rates on loans but one researcher says the problem is
also the result of an increasingly bleak situation for local economies homes in
culture Japan's declining population is causing the number of businesses to drop
since smaller financial firms don't usually invest or trade overseas they
are fiercely competitive to gain the business of the dwindling number of
companies this leads them to offer cheaper loans that are less profitable
amid the increasingly difficult operating environment last year more
than half of local banks reported losses on their core business of loans Harada
says that in order to turn things around local financial institutions should
merge and aim to do more than just lend money business lenders to banks must
understand their borrowers business models and build a better picture of
their strengths and weaknesses they then need to find a way to better support
these clients through consulting and new loans I think institutions that fail to
do this will go out of business or be swallowed up in mergers well banks
are struggling with different issues right now but what are your thoughts on
this it is a tough time for banks especially for regional banks it's a
difficult situation traditionally these banks would make money by taking spreads
between deposit in loans that they make and that spread
shrinks as interest rates go down so right now in Japan as you know interest
rate environment it's zero or negative so how can they make money it's a it's
not an easy situation so what they need to do is to look for investment
opportunities by assessing risks associated with these investment
opportunities and that's also not very easy to do and if you listen to what
this gentleman says it's very true if you look at the population especially in
these regional economies it's shrinking that means there are less opportunities
for investments so that's not a challenge but I would also say at the
same time that's a catch-22 situation because these financial institutions
using the regional banks that they are the ones who need to supply funding to
incentivize new businesses or startups to come to these regional economies and
that would be a really good way to really compensate for you know shrinking
populations and shrinking economies but for them to do that they really need to
have very strong ability to take risks and that's not easy well it sounds like
this is a much-needed wake-up call for a banks in Japan yes it is next is world
perspective
next a look at what could be the food of the future scientists in the u.s. are
using the very latest technology to create meat and dairy substitutes that
tastes just like the real thing and diners are already gobbling it up we
have Katherine Kobayashi from New York at this burger restaurant in Manhattan
there's a new dish creating a buzz among meat lovers and vegans alike this looks
like regular ground beef but nothing in the patty came from animals yet you can
cook it medium-rare and it looks smells and tastes like real meat it's called
the impossible burger
my family has some heart health history and I'm a bigger guy so I try to stay
away from menu items that would potentially clog up my arteries wow I
can't believe it's not beef it's just as juicy to the impossible burger was
created by Silicon Valley startup impossible foods the secret is a
molecule called heme that contains iron it's what makes meat taste like meat but
it also exists naturally in plants the scientists at impossible foods isolated
heme from the root of a soybean plant
then they mixed it with potato and wheat proteins to create the texture of ground
beef
their burger is now available in over 3,000 restaurants in the United States
and Hong Kong Paul Shapiro recently wrote a book about startups that are
producing new types of food he says the same venture capitalists who invested in
tech companies are now putting money into high-tech agriculture and
alternative proteins we're gonna have about 10 billion people on the planet by
the Year 2015 and we can't feed them all on the same type of a diet that many of
the wealthier nations on earth are accustomed to eating today these
investors see the writing on the wall and they see that there's a lot of money
to be made in investing in plant-based foods because they are going to be the
future but it's not only startups jumping on the bandwagon even small
shops like this one are putting capital behind protein alternatives the shelves
are loaded with many plant-based products
there's non-dairy cheese and butter and now something even more astonishing egg
without the egg the lab made just egg cooks like it came from a shell it was
created in San Francisco and took five years to develop you can shake it and
pour it right out of the bottom it thickens the same way regular eggs do
when they're scrambled in a pan the company scientists had been looking for
a plant-based protein that functions like egg protein they analyzed thousands
of plants before finding the answer in mung beans it contains about the same
amount of protein but none of the cholesterol or saturated fat at the
moment the downside seems to be the price the equivalent of half a dozen
eggs costs around $8
after cracking the egg the scientists have moved on to chicken they took a
stem cell from the feather of a live chicken and used it to turn plant
proteins into poultry lab grown food is a fast-growing field which means the
science is outpacing the safety regulations but company CEO Josh Patrick
is more than optimistic he says he's hoping to launch his
chicken commercially by the end of the year and he says it's inevitable that
we'll all be eating this way one day the future the food is not different food
the future of food is making those foods that we've loved for many thousands of
years better closer to our values kinder healthier more sustainable tastier more
affordable that's what the future of food is high-tech is changing the way we
eat protein alternatives are increasingly becoming more sophisticated
available and uncompromising ly delicious but with high sticker prices
and food safety in the back of people's minds we have yet to see whether this
trend goes at the mainstream what we do know is certainty though is in the labs
the egg came before the chicken I'm Katherine Kobayashi before NHK world New
York well that burger looked pretty good to
me but have you tried this impossible burger anytime no I'm happy but I'm
gonna try impossible next week when I'm in New York I got a jaw it's like I have
to bitch I'll let you know okay yes there definitely will but what do you
think about this movement really interesting I mean it is true the
population growth means more food that we need but also as people make more
money as income level goes up there is a higher level of a meat consumption so
something has to happen in terms of supply demand challenge and this is a
very exciting way to address that issue but also not many people may not know
but this environmental impact it's not a very important element to
consider you know what you would think about cars when we talk about greenhouse
gas emission believe it or not you know conventionally farmed B for meat that's
a very big cause for for emissions of you know greenhouse gas so that's not a
way to address the environmental challenge that we are all facing so this
is a really exciting technology in before for many reasons I think why mean
we don't see a lot of mock meat here in Tokyo but if I like it next week in New
York I'll try to bring it to Japan bacon tastes ok perfect that sounds good to me
up next is today's main feature story on site report
robots and AI are now part of our daily lives and the technology that drives
them is advancing at blinding speeds it now appears that the fourth Industrial
Revolution is underway and will change the way we work and live
one of the first robots to make its way to the average home came in the form of
a vacuum cleaner and its impact on housecleaning cannot be overstated since
releasing their first product in 2002 the company has sold over 2 million
units CEO Colin Engel has helped iRobot become the global leader in robotic
vacuums he founded the company while he was a doctoral student at MIT from the
start the company found itself working on extremely advanced robots for
demanding projects such as for use in NASA's Mars experiments and even
minesweeping robots for the US military
it was the technology they developed for use in minesweeping robots that led to
the creation of their famous domestic cousins
as one of the world's leading experts on mobile robots Cullen recently found
himself visiting Japan the main purpose of his trip was to help inspire the
world's next generation of scientists this dreams host Shou Laveau was on hand
to observe the event and also managed to sit down with Colin for a one-on-one
interview to find out his thoughts on education as well as about the future of
Robotics if anyone asks me for career advice I tell them it doesn't matter
what your child wants to do learn to code stay tuned to hear about iRobot CEO
Colin angles vision for how robots will change the way we live well as you saw I
was able to sit down with Colin angle the CEO of iRobot and have a chat about
education and technology well iRobot is quite the success story
in robotic vacuum market I believe they have about 80 percent of the market
share in the US and over 50 percent of the market share here in Japan so how
was it talking with the CEO you know he was a really warm person and he was very
passionate about his work and it was really inspiring to see his eyes light
up when he talked about how to make our lives better with his products but
McCombs now of course you're familiar with yeah I know the company and I know
the products and in fact I am waiting for calling to come up with Roomba that
can clean my bathroom so when is it gonna happen waiting for this so yes
alright well I was able to ask Colin angle about how robots will be a bigger
part of our lives moving forward hi nice to meet you I'm Charla hi Charla Colin
thanks for being with us today iRobot has made so many iconic products
and it's really changed the way we approach cleaning our homes and what can
we expect in the future you know my future vision is that the house itself
is a robot that the house is keeping itself clean is trying to make sure the
environment within the house is appropriate for the people living in it
then perhaps even you have a home that will cook you food
at the right time and and it will be healthy food and that'll be brought to
you and so you you have an ally in your home this is very possible to do and I
think that again that would allow us to live fuller lives well you said it's
possible how soon do you think we'll start seeing that it's robots which
means it takes longer than we want it to autonomous driving vehicles hospitality
you guys see my AI and robots are starting to become more prevalent and
some are worried that they will start taking jobs from people who need them
but Cullen doesn't see them as a threat rather as much needed support you know
we're just scratching the surface on what robots can do this whole idea that
fun lee were replaced by robots I think is a foolish notion in reality there's
this huge problem we're getting older we need to figure out how to live
independently in our home longer and that's for me I robots life work these
are also the tools that are so critical to helping us protect the environment
deal with our huge aging population this inversion of the age pyramid when where
there's really not enough people even today to take care of the people in need
of care and if we don't have technology helping us we'll see our standard of
living go down and so we need technology to help solve these huge problems well
you said that you wanted a robot to clean your bathroom yes I'm waiting for
it it looks like it might be coming up I mean soon I hope so I think it's very
exciting a exciting situation where a lot of things that we do you and I do on
a day to day basis can be done by someone else I love that but um the
point you made about society facing an aging population that was very
interesting and robots can be the answer to the drop in the quality I think Japan
is really uniquely actually situated because Japan is a country that needs to
embrace technology and the reality is automation actually can be seen as a
threat by a lot of people if they think their jobs would be lost their jobs
would be replaced by you know robotics automation they don't want to embrace
technology but in Japan I think a situation is very very severe in terms
of labor shortage and we have an employment rate of 2.4% you
know companies really need to automate so that they can actually continue their
business so I think if anything Japan actually is a best country to embrace
technology revolution and embrace automation and a lot of robotics and on
that point we're seeing a big push towards improving education in terms of
stem Sciences technology engineering mathematics and in Japan's case I think
they're predicted to have a lack of eight hundred thousand skilled workers
by 2030 so the government's really focusing on
pushing policies forward in that direction the good news is it is true
that Japan really need a lot of skilled labor and that can be potentially done
by robotics but also Japanese actually population is really well educated which
means they can be retrained re-skill so that they can work really well with
technology and that's really going to be the key in terms of having technology as
a part of a labor market as a part of society as a part of economy so that our
productivity can improve so we should not see this as a threat this is an
opportunity this is a tool to make our lives actually better and I think that's
a really exciting you know trend that's happening all around the world but
especially in Japan because of the labor shortage well the reason Colin was
visiting Japan was to convey to young students the importance of stem let's
see what he had to say at the event our world is becoming more and more
dominated by technology and there's a huge need for the next generation to
come up and invent and continuous along along this path and so iRobot is
selected science technology engineering and math education as its focus for
reaching out into the community and trying to help right
last week I robot came to Japan to hold a stem workshop for young students and
the response was overwhelming over 150 children applied for the 12 available
spots Cullen started things off by giving a simple explanation of the
importance of programming robots are very special machines that can help us
build and create devices to solve problems the robot tries to become alive
by program next the children were divided into pairs and taught about
programming for most of them this was their first experience with programming
but they all seemed to enjoy it they were taught using scratch a free
educational programming language for children that was developed by MIT it
allows them to practice building basic programs by using a simple drag-and-drop
method the children's mission today to use scratch to program their robots to
successfully navigate to two different points before reaching the designated
goal things didn't start so smoothly with many robots going the wrong way and
even out of bounds
yeah just when everything seemed to be going well the goal was so close yet so
far away but the children were resilient and after making adjustments they found
themselves creating programs with up to 20 different steps
I think that children love to learn the the joy when the robot actually came out
and did what they wanted it to do jumping up and down that was so exciting
to see and said Wow program a robot it's really cool that
like people clap and you know it could have happened it was really cute I was
looking at what one of the boys were writing and he wrote it was really fun
programming was not hard that's what we want to hear quite impressive
yes you know I was able to sit in on this event and it was so exciting to
watch these kids they came in not knowing much about programming and
before he knew it they were programming these robots and using it to solve a
problem that was really quite impressive but one of them son how does Japan stack
up when it comes to stem so if you look at the academic performance of Japanese
students and in science and mathematics for example they are at the top level
globally so Japanese students actually have a very high level of academic
performance in terms of stem areas now the question is whether they have
ability to apply what they know what they have in the head to different
situations whether it's a different application to real-life situations or a
business situation and that's a big question mark and I think that's why we
need to think about the way we educate students or children knowledge itself is
not enough it's it's the way people or students have to think about situations
that can actually give them a lot of different potentials outside the box
that that there are there they tend to think and act in certainly when it comes
to innovation in Japan there's a lot of sort of top-down support for startups
but they're not getting the people coming through and volunteering ideas
for businesses so it's a question of I guess critical thinking creativity sort
of taking education in that kind of direction providing opportunities also I
think it's also risk-taking an appetite unless you are confident in
yourself you won't take risks I think students really need to learn to be
confident and really be able to risk so that they can experiment
different things they fail and they succeed that process is really important
so that's the part of education that we need to really think about and really
connecting the dots or we have good things going on in Japan we just have to
connect them all well that's it for this week thanks for tuning in
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Biz Stream iRobot CEO Talks about the Future 20181015

118 Folder Collection
黃柏鈞 published on October 18, 2018
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