“Father of PlayStation” Ken Kutaragi tied himself in robotics and voluntarily refused his salary

Ken Kutaragi, a former Sony executive who is widely referred to as the “father of the PlayStation”, has embarked on a new phase in his career, this time in the robotics industry.

Since the end of August this year, Kutaragi has been working as CEO of a startup company from Tokyo. Ascent Robotics – engaged in the field of artificial intelligence. Its main focus is on creating affordable robots that, together with humans, can safely perform physical work in factories and logistics centers.

In a new interview with Bloomberg, 70-year-old Kutaragi spoke about his confidence that he will be able to implement the same managerial skills in robotics that he used to build the PlayStation business at Sony. Ken said he gave up his salary in order to preserve precious capital for the growth of the startup.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has turned upside down the old argument that robots are taking people out of their jobs. It is now clear that we need more and more robots to achieve normalcy in our daily lives.”

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Ascent, which was founded in 2016, employs about 50 engineers. One of her first projects was a robotic arm, created in collaboration with Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. Another joint venture between the startup and an unnamed company (most likely Toyota) was the creation of software for autonomous driving.

“If we don’t do it, then someone else will. The management work is difficult, but it was so with the PlayStation. This is what I’m good at“, – added Kutaragi.

After leaving Sony in 2007, Kutaragi served on the board of e-commerce company Rakuten, worked for SmartNews (application development) and GA Technologies (AI platform with hosted listings of properties).

Kutaragi is best known as the architect of the original PlayStation, PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3. The engineer left Sony in 2007 after the difficult launch of the third console, which brought billions in losses to the Japanese company in the early years. Kutaragi remains at Sony as Senior Technology Advisor.

Think back to Kutaragi’s arrogant claims during the era of the first three PlayStation consoles. For example, he called the Xbox 360 nothing more than “just the Xbox 1.5”, and offered PlayStation fans to work harder so that they could afford to buy a PS3 for $ 599.

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