|Japan is planning to open artificial intelligence research centers to turn basic research on AI into businesses / Credits: Gorodenkoff via Shutterstock|
When talking about leading countries of artificial intelligence adoption, most of us would immediately think of the US and China as two of the most competitive nations. Many of the AI applications and devices we are using nowadays are made from these countries. Reports show that China had the biggest growth in the number of AI patent filings between 2015 and 2016 compared to the US, Europe, and Japan.
However, many countries are also trying to keep up, including Japan. Recently, the country has announced that it is planning to open artificial intelligence centers. This project is led by SoftBank Corp. and the University of Tokyo which aims to take advantage of basic research on AI and turn it into businesses that can counter U.S. tech giants collectively known as GAFA: Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon.com.
According to the Japan Times, Japan's largest and oldest English-language daily newspaper, the AI research centers would give students a chance to learn and start a business. They will be established in the spring and winter of 2020 at the earliest under the brand Beyond AI. The AI centers would also be staffed with specialists from the University of Tokyo and across the world. They wanted to turn AI research into profitable business ventures so Japan can keep up with the US and China.
The project would be having two facilities. One would on the university’s Hongo campus in Bunkyo Ward, while the other one would be at a new SoftBank office in the Takeshiba district. The Hongo base is tasked to handle basic research on the evolution of AI and potential ways to apply the technology in physics, robotics, brain science, and other fields. Meanwhile, the results of these studies would be sent to the Takeshiba base. It would be working on advanced research and establishing new businesses.
“AI engineers in Japan are very talented by global standards, but most of them give up at the basic research level. So we want to convert (their research results) into businesses,” Junichi Miyagawa, chief technology officer at SoftBank’s domestic mobile carrier arm, said.