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Artificial Intelligence as a Hope AI for Taking on the Challenges of an Unpredictable EraVolume 65 Number 6 July 2016

The full-scale utilization of artificial intelligence (AI) in actual society, beyond the area of computer science, has begun. Although worldwide interest has been growing rapidly, today there is still a lot of misunderstanding about the true state of AI. This feature issue provides an overall picture of the many aspects of AI, the range of its applications, the depth of the technology,and will introduce innovations that are being achieved by general-purpose AI.


    Human-friendly AI that Learns from Life

    The use of artificial intelligence (AI) is growing, with applications that range from big data analytics to marketing and self-driving vehicles. It is anticipated that new possibilities for business will open up through the combination of AI with large quantities of data acquired from real life, including human behavior and operating conditions from a variety of equipment. Anticipating such developments, Hitachi was among the first to work on the development and deployment of general-purpose AI.

    Through this work, Hitachi is seeking to revolutionize business and society using AI solutions based on proprietary technology and concepts. Today, we invited Kazuto Ataka of Yahoo Japan Corporation, a leading evangelist for new AI, and engaged in a discussion with Kazuo Yano, who directs general-purpose AI research at Hitachi, concerning the shape of the future in which AI and people will co-exist.

    From the Editor

    Kazuo Yano

    The term artificial intelligence (AI) has started to become commonplace in Japanese print media and TV. However, since many people are still largely unfamiliar with what the term actually means, my office receives questions about AI and requests for presentations about it on a daily basis.

    AI has certainly been covered in a large number of books and other media, however only certain aspects of it tend to be presented. As the term AI is currently trending, some of the coverage has started to exploit the trend by interpreting it in a broad sense, giving people the wrong impression.

    Expert Insights

    Approximate Solutions and True Solutions

    I don’t like machines very much. I don’t like riding in cars or on trains, and I chose a high school and university that I could commute to by bicycle.

    However, of all the various types of machines around today, I think I most dislike appliances with artificial intelligence (AI) functions—‘talking appliances’ in particular. People are surprised to hear this coming from the leader of an artificial intelligence project, the Todai Robot Project. Naturally there is no microwave in my house. Microwave heating ruins tasty sake and makes mochi rice cakes lose their shape. It may be more work, but sake is better when warmed in hot water, and mochi is better when cooked on a grill.


    AI for Taking on the Challenges of an Unpredictable Era

    ARTIFICIAL intelligence (AI) is a topical subject. Large investments in the technology, which is a major factor in international competitiveness, have been announced by governments and other organizations.

    Nobody as yet has an overall grasp of what impact AI will have on business and other parts of society. However, new developments that give a glimpse of the future have already begun to appear. These can be found in marketing, academic papers, investment decisions, and Internet chatter. And they already include examples of how things will play out in the future. The future is already happening.

    Featured Articles

    AI Technology
    Achieving General-Purpose AI that Can Learn and Make Decisions for Itself
    Norihiko Moriwaki, Tomoaki Akitomi, Fumiya Kudo, Ryuji Mine, Toshio Moriya, Kazuo Yano
    AI Services and Platforms
    A Practical Approach to Increasing Business Sophistication
    Yasuharu Namba, Jun Yoshida, Kazuaki Tokunaga, Takuya Haraguchi
    Utilization of AI in the Financial Sector
    Case Study and Outlook for FinTech Era
    Kiyoshi Kumagai, Satomi Tsuji, Hisanaga Omori
    Utilization of AI in the Railway Sector
    Case Study of Energy Efficiency in Railway Operations
    Ryo Furutani, Fumiya Kudo, Norihiko Moriwaki
    Use of AI in the Logistics Sector
    Case Study of Improving Productivity in Warehouse Work
    Junichi Hirayama, Tomoaki Akitomi, Fumiya Kudo, Atsushi Miyamoto, Ryuji Mine
    Utilization of AI in the Water Sector
    Case Study of Converting Operating History Data to Values
    Ichiro Embutsu, Koji Kageyama, Satomi Tsuji, Norihiko Moriwaki, Yukiko Ichige
    Utilization of AI in the Manufacturing Sector
    Case Studies and Outlook for Linked Factories
    Naohiko Irie, Hiroto Nagayoshi, Hikaru Koyama
    Advanced Research into AI
    Debating Artificial Intelligence
    Kohsuke Yanai, Yoshiyuki Kobayashi, Misa Sato, Toshihiko Yanase, Toshinori Miyoshi, Yoshiki Niwa, Hisashi Ikeda
    Advanced Research into AI
    Ising Computer
    Masanao Yamaoka, Chihiro Yoshimura, Masato Hayashi, Takuya Okuyama, Hidetaka Aoki, Hiroyuki Mizuno