There's a sort of robot revolution happening in parts of Japan. Automated, computerized mechanisms replacing people in jobs.
Japan has just under 127 million people. That population is shrinking and aging. Shrinking partly because of a low birthrate, again because the life expectancy continues to go up.
Will robots be an effective solution to the challenges this creates?
ROBOT: I can finally talk now.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Here, they're everywhere. "Who?" you ask. Maybe it's more of what.
ROBOT: Today, current local will be rain.
RIPLEY: Machines of all kinds.
Moving beyond the fun and the trendy, many Japanese scientists say a robotic revolution is underway. Some experts predict within just a decade or two, nearly half of the jobs in Japan could be done by robots, a practical answer perhaps to a shrinking and aging population, with one in four Japanese over age 65.
My mission is to meet these new robot citizens and figure out exactly how they fit to an evolving Japan.
So, we begin here.
RIPLEY: Meet Churi, my personal robot in Japan's first hotel run mostly by robots.
ROBOT: Good night. Rest well. Tomorrow's morning.
RIPLEY: No, really, right from when you enter.
ROBOT: Welcome to Henn-na Hotel. I will confirm your check in information.
RIPLEY: Will Ripley.
AUTOMATED VOICE: Please input your reservation name.
RIPLEY: Got my room key, 264.
ROBOT: The process is now complete.
RIPLEY: A robot checks you in. It's your concierge.
I'm really hungry. Can you recommend a good place to get lunch?
ROBOT: There are many restaurants inside the park where you can enjoy a wide variety of dishes.
RIPLEY: There's a ridiculously slow moving porter.
We're really mossing along here.
Facial recognition technology lets me into my room. Machines even handle the dining experience.
This all may seem a bit odd to you, but this vision of the future actually seems to work in Japan. In America, I grew up with movies like "The Terminator". But here, people are used to machines, even friendly force. And while it's amusing to have Velociraptor raptor at your service, is this really what all robots will eventually look like?
ROBOT: Hello my name is Erica. May I ask your name?
RIPLEY: My name is Will.
ROBOT: It's nice to meet you, Will. Let's learn a little about each other.
To start off, where are you from?
RIPLEY: I'm from the United States.
ROBOT: Ah, the United States. I really like to try a hamburger someday, haha.
RIPLEY: From human-like robots to something a little more robotic.
Back in Tokyo, I made a stop at NGI, the company that created Tapia, a robot assistant for your home. It's kind of like a smartphone but more approachable and friendly, modeled to be companion for the elderly, especially those living alone.
Do you think robots like this will be as popular as cellphones?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In Japan, robots are very familiar to us. So, actually, in our childhood, robots are heroes. Robots are friends.
RIPLEY: Its creators are taking the first leap, innovating in a country that's continuing to test the boundaries, to push the limits between humanity and technology, and in the process of redesigning the modern city.