By Stan Hopewell
TOKYO – For years Japan’s Giant Robot Battalion has used teenaged pilots with great success but also with great failure. After the Metatank incident of 2003, which left 83 dead and billions in property damage, the Japanese government switched over to adult pilots, and the switch has worked better than anticipated.
“It’s been remarkable,” said Lead Engineer, Toshi Akiyama. “Who knew that mature adults would make better giant robot pilots than teenagers?”
For decades, the Japanese government has been tailoring their giant robots to work for teenagers. The reasoning being that teenagers are quicker to learn new technologies than adults, and there’s the unstated reasoning that teenagers don’t expect to be paid like adults. The giant fighting robots were then programmed using several interfaces with the pilot, most notably the popular Neural Interface Computer Experience, or NICE. This interface turned out to be ironically named as it gave teenagers wild mood swings mid-battle and drove many pilots insane. Japan’s turnover rate at its highest was one new pilot every three weeks.
Then the Metatank incident made them reconsider teenagers.
“I’ve been advocating using adult pilots for years now,” said Akiyama. “Teenagers may be flexible and cheap, but they’re a double-edged sword. Highly trained, emotionally-stable adults do the same work as teenagers but without the dangers.”
“Besides, what do you expect, putting them in giant fighting robots? Teenagers are the worst.”
Thus far, the adult pilots have reduced property damage by 40%, civilian casualties by 70%, and kaiju outpourings by 35% in the decade since the switch was made. The NICE system has gone through a few tweaks and has worked out better with adults as well. Adult pilots are less prone to wild mood swings, and insanity has since only occurred in two pilots.
Japan has renewed the adult pilot program for another decade.