An anonymous reader writes: BBC News reports that Japan, the island nation famous for robotics, 4G phones, bullet trains and corporate tech giants, is actually run by fax machines, human traffic lights, and 4.2 million small to medium-sized companies. Wary of connecting to networks for fear of data theft and hacking, Japanese office workers average just half the productivity of their American counterparts. Whether this conservativism in IT can prevent automation and robots from replacing people remains to be seen. However, the use of cassette tape recorders, hand-written data disk mailers, and 1997-era e-mail systems with near zero storage definitely hurts competitiveness in the global market.
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