“Father of the PlayStation” Ken Kutaragi is now the Chief Executive Officer of Tokyo-based Ascent Robotics, where he works for no pay.
The 70-year old told Bloomberg that the startup wants to make affordable robots to assist humans in factories and logistics centers. He doesn’t earn a salary in order to preserve capital.
“The Covid-19 outbreak has turned the old argument about robots taking our jobs on its head,” said Kutaragi. “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.”
Ascent aims to ready a prototype within a year.
“If you are looking to combine robotics and mobility, you need someone in charge who understands technology,” Kutaragi continued. “We are thinking globally, not limiting our sights to Japan.”
Kutaragi didn’t reveal what Ascent’s plans are when it comes to financing its projects. However, he didn’t seem concerned.
“If we don’t do it, someone else out there will,” he told Bloomberg. “Management is tough, but that’s how it was with PlayStation too. It’s something I’m good at.”
Kutaragi joined Sony in the mid 70s and worked on successful projects like LCDs and digital cameras. Following the success of PlayStation, he was appointed CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment until he was promoted and Kaz Hirai was named the CEO of SCE.
Kutaragi stepped down in 2011 but remains a senior technology advisor for Sony. Hirai has also since retired from Sony, and currently serves as a senior advisor.