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    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.

    Table of contents

    Attendee introduction

    Kazuto Ataka, Ph.D.

    • Chief Strategy Officer, Yahoo Japan Corporation
    • Joined McKinsey & Company after completing the Master’s program at the University of Tokyo in Biophysics & Biochemistry. After working there for four and half years, he entered the Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program at Yale, where he earned a Ph.D. in Spring 2001. After postdoctoral studies, he came back to Japan to re-join McKinsey at the end of 2001. As a core member of its Marketing and Sales Practice for the Asia-Pacific region, he was involved with brand rebuilding and product and business development for a wide range of sectors. In September of 2008, he moved to Yahoo. Following positions as Director of COO office and Head of Data, Research and Strategy, he took up his current appointment in July of 2012. In addition to resolving business strategy issues and promoting large-scale partnership projects, he is in charge of the Marketing Insight and Intelligence Department, the Yahoo! Big Data Report, and company-wide strategy including data utilization. Director of the Japan DataScientist Society. Director of the Japanese Society of Applied Statistics. Among his literary works is “Issue Driven – A Simple Essence of Intellectual Works” (Eiji Press).

    Kazuo Yano, Dr. Eng.

    • Corporate Chief Scientist, Research & Development Group, Hitachi, Ltd.
    • Joined Hitachi, Ltd. in 1984. In 1993, he achieved the world’s first successful operation of single-electron memory at room temperature. Since 2004, he has taken the lead in the collection and utilization of big data. His papers have been cited 2500 times, and he has 350 patent applications. The wearable sensor he developed has been described by the Harvard Business Review as a “historic wearable device.” His literary work, “Invisible Hand of Data: The Rule for People, Organizations, and Society Uncovered by Wearable Sensors” (Soshisha Publishing), was elected one of BookVinegar’s 2014 10 Best Business Books. Dr. Yano has a doctorate in engineering, he is an IEEE Fellow, a visiting professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, and a member of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology’s Information Science and Technology Committee. He has been awarded many international awards, including the 2007 MBE Erice Prize, and Best Paper at the 2012 International Conference on Social Informatics.
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