Robots have entered a new phase — and Cathie Wood is betting on it

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Big bet by Cathie Wood Ark Invest Space Exploration Fund A Japanese company with a history of 100 years.A sample of a huge growl Las Vegas mining vehicleSoftbank’s Masayoshi Son is doing his best to blow the word “smabo” from the deck of the pretend Star Cruiser to Earth.

In some respects, it’s the perfect time to be a robot.

The most flashy of these three signals could always come from my son. My son is a rare Japanese business leader who has the courage to celebrate his defeat as a victory. He did this last week during his opening remarks at Softbank World, an annual jumboly for clients of his technology conglomerate. My son’s topic was robots. this is, Humiliation retirement A few months before Pepper, Softbank’s flagship automaton Reduce investment Boston Dynamics has no investment in Japanese robotics by the $ 100 billion Vision Fund.

Braver was still supposed to start his speech, his son was piled up inside the Kubrikesk spacecraft, and Pepper’s slide was defeated. It’s time to learn from these primitive toys, move on, execute messages, and fight even harder for the future of smart robots with AI turbochargers, or Smabo. Other than my son, I’m unlikely to call them.

Despite his enthusiasm, the speech was not a bright time. Japan’s most prominent tech guru reveals that, for all of its reputation and expertise, it is at risk of losing its protagonist in the fate of Sumabo unless it acts faster than it is today. I’m afraid. “We need more than the good old days,” he said, chilling the fake starry sky with the message that the country’s technologically pioneering past does not guarantee the future.

But in contrast to these uncertainties, Cathie Wood, CEO of Ark Invest and one of the world’s hottest investors, is undergoing a technology-centric global industrial revolution. I am confident in Japan’s ability to lead. .. She did this through a large investment in Komatsu, where excavators, dump trucks and bulldozers live in large numbers at mines and construction sites around the world. As of last week, this stock is the seventh heaviest stock in Ark’s. Autonomous Technology and Robotics ETFs (With twice the weight of its US rival Caterpillar), and what some consider to be the larger range, is the eighth in the Ark’s Space Exploration and Innovation ETF.

Komatsu’s long-term watchers may guess what Wood saw at the company. It’s not a robot maker in the traditional sense, but it’s vast with the types of communication, data collection, and data processing tools that can make current operations more efficient and ultimately lead to more people. A consistent pioneer in the business of strengthening machines, of which humans are gone. Or, in all practical senses, a robot.

As they hone their skills, Komatsu has deployed autonomous dump trucks, pre-excavation surveillance drones, and so-called “first generation” even faster than its rivals.Smart structureA site where automation ultimately ends human needs. The company hasn’t talked much about space exploration so far.

At a meeting Sponsored by Mizuho this monthWood praised Komatsu’s aggressive approach to autonomous technology and was able to get a glimpse of her thoughts. She said the Ark Space Foundation includes not only orbit, but also under-orbit space, including drones, which Komatsu is increasingly creating permanent features of domestic construction sites. “Robot engineering, energy storage, artificial intelligence. They are all accepted by Japan,” he said.

Komatsu said that CLSA analyst Edward Bourlet has also made significant tonal changes. Min Expo, held in Las Vegas last week, is the industry’s largest showcase, and Komatsu has so far taken it as an opportunity to showcase the latest mechanical colossal statues in its portfolio. This time, Komatsu was marketing its products to the mining industry under great pressure related to ESG investors, selling stories focused on the efficiency-focused software behind the mammoth.

What Son, Wood, and Komatsu all seem to know is that robots are entering a clear new phase, both conceptually and as the focus of their most valuable efforts. Success is now defined by context rather than functionality. Peppers, who wield articulated arms to store customers, aren’t really robots, but they end up being unmanned dump trucks that politely give way to self-driving excavators in unoccupied mines.

leo.lewis@ft.com

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