John Derbyshire has an article on the future of robotics, and the dangers of immigration, in the New English Review. I always like this subject, because it was the subject of one the first pieces I wrote for Vdare.com.
Immigration into Japan and South Korea is essentially nil. This is not because nobody wants to go and live in those countries—several hundred million Chinese, Filipinos, and Indonesians would love to—but because the Japanese and Koreans don't think immigration would be good for their countries. They prefer robots over helots.
We might ask ourselves whether that preference might not, in the long run, prove to be a wise one. Our fathers mowed their own lawns. We hire gangs of helots—illegal immigrants—to mow our lawns. Since the demographic crunch will dry up the supply of helot labor everywhere, our children, in their middle age, will likely have their lawns mowed by some descendant of Robomow.
The East Asians, however, with their aversion to cheap immigrant labor, and their fascination with robotics, will have got there long before us. With the demographic transition behind them, and, one assumes, their economic inefficiencies long since corrected, they will be sailing under clear skies through the mid-21st century, while we are still fighting our way through demographic gales. [Robotics vs. Helotics New English Review July 2006 ]
Probably the best roundup Vdare.com's robotics reportage, (done by computer-assisted humans) is here:Japanese And American Robots.
Here's what Sam Francis had to say on the subject of mechanization vs. cheap labor.
Update: Picture of Fujitsu's service robot added, below.