Ken Kutaragi, the brains and inventor behind the PlayStation gaming console, has started to embark on a huge project – a robot project to be specific. The most shocking part of this job is that he is getting paid nothing to do it.
Kutaragi, the founder of Sony Corp.’s gaming business, is the new chief executive officer of Ascent Robotics Inc. Along with his artificial intelligence company, Kutaragi’s goal is to make affordable robots that assist humans with physical work in factories and logistics centers. He aims to have the first working prototype in about one year, while earning no compensation.
“The Covid-19 outbreak has turned the old argument about robots taking our jobs on its head,” Kutaragi said in his first interview since taking the helm in August. “It’s pretty clear now that if we want to arrive at a new normal, we need more and more robots in our daily lives.”
Many are saying the goal he is trying to accomplish is very far-fetched, as he is trying to combine technologies that aren’t advanced enough: autonomous driving and collaborative robots. But Kutaragi has a history of finding solutions to technical and business problems.
“If you are looking to combine robotics and mobility, you need someone in charge who understands technology,” Kutaragi said. “We are thinking globally, not limiting our sights to Japan.
“If we don’t do it, someone else out there will,” Kutaragi said. “Management is tough, but that’s how it was with PlayStation too. It’s something I’m good at.”