Outline of JSAI
- Inaugural Address of President
- Address of Editor-in-Chief
- Past presidents
- Board members (JP)
- Representatives (JP)
- Main Activities
- Congress documents (JP)
- Articles of Incorporation of the Japanese Society for Artificial Intelligence
- Information from JSAI
- The Japanese Society for Artificial Intelligence Anti-Harassment Policy
Inaugural Address of President
JSAI Operations for the Post-COVID Era
This year, I will be taking over as president from President Itsuki NODA. During President Noda’s tenure, the JSAI had to carry out all its activities online because we were in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis. Under such unprecedented conditions, I know there were many problems with JSAI operations, which had to proceed in a groping, trial-and-error fashion. Once again, I would like to thank President Noda for his hard work in smoothly steering the society through such a difficult period.
In taking over JSAI operations from President Noda, I will be continuing the effort to remake JSAI activities for the new era, and that’s a daunting prospect. Looking back, it was just two and a half years ago, during my term as vice president under President Uramoto, when the spread of COVID-19 was first reported in Japan. Everyone, including the Board of Directors, discussed how to handle the Annual Conference, and in the end, it was decided to hold the FY2020 Annual Conference online. For the general assembly, there was also the issue of administration, and although there was on-site participation, I finished my term as vice president with almost all members of the Board of Directors attending online. After that the COVID-19 pandemic continued to spread, and JSAI events were shifted completely to an online format. And it wasn’t just our society. All educational institutions moved their activities online, and I myself devoted an entire year after my term to creating instructional materials for online courses as a university faculty member. I imagine most university faculty were in almost the same situation. After being away from the JSAI for a year, I was called back to serve as the next president. I now see that, more than a year later, online activities have become routine in JSAI operations.
Now society is trying to move on from the COVID-19 pandemic. When I look back on COVID-19, certain questions come to mind: What activities have members engaged in over the past two years? What they are looking for from their JSAI activities? In terms of my own experiences and impressions, I realized some conferences can be completed online. I also discovered the convenience of creating instructional materials which students can study on their own. However, unforeseen situations can crop up at a university, and when we deal with such situations through online meetings, we often end up settling for a conservative approach. What’s really important is meeting face-to-face in small groups, and there have been many cases where information-sharing between faculty did not go smoothly. Also, we can give students instructional materials, or make them write reports, but often they don’t really understand what’s being taught, and we end up meeting in-person with students who don’t understand. Online, we can understand the specific conduct of students, without grasping the overall “feel” of each year of students, and it’s difficult to adapt lectures to the degree of progress of each cohort. In that sense, I feel our relationships with students have become weakened. On the whole, the COVID era was two years where I constantly felt frustrated about the difficulty of responding flexibly.
During COVID, we found that on-site and offsite each have their own advantages and disadvantages, and it’s important to compensate for the disadvantages of each approach. Generally speaking, online has a strong depth-first search character, while on-site is more like breadth-first search. Perhaps the best approach, where possible, is a hybrid style capitalizing on the advantages of each type of search. I also feel the traditional services and content provided by the JSAI are, if anything, closer to breadth-first search, and perhaps we need to augment our depth-first search style content and services. I’ve thought hard for the last year—and as the incoming president—about what sort of services we should provide to members who’ve joined the JSAI in pursuit of knowledge. We need to leverage the experience of the past two years in a positive way, and conceive of and put into practice new approaches to JSAI operations.
This year, we decided to finally hold a hybrid Annual Conference on a trial basis. How will all the members who participate on-site feel about the changes of the past two years when we hold the event on-site? Based on the experience of this year’s Annual Conference, we will need to consider how, going forward, to combine online and on-site (face-to-face) approaches in the JSAI’s activities. As noted above, online and on-site both have advantages and disadvantages, and we need to focus on combining the two, not just switching everything to on-site in one shot. At the Annual Conference and other key events, the core approach will be on-site, but we need to examine what services to provide to members who can only participate online, and how to provide online-only services to members on-site. Aside from this online/on-site dichotomy, we will need to focus more on depth-first search in JSAI services and content, where a breadth-first search approach has been predominant. Keeping these problems in mind, I will make experimental efforts during my two-year term. My hope is to find new directions for the JSAI, and connect with the next generation, while examining the best services for members, and new ways to contribute to society.
Address of Editor-in-Chief
Inaugural Message as Editor-in-Chief
(University of Tokyo)
They say the third AI boom started around 2006. More than 15 years have passed since then, and deep learning and other AI techniques are now at work in diverse areas of society. It seems the term “AI” has reached the Plateau of Productivity phase in the Gartner hype cycle.
People are always looking for a word to epitomize new technology, but the word “AI” is definitely past its prime in that regard. A few years ago, the bookstore had a section for books related to AI, including those produced under the editorial supervision of the JSAI. New books were published almost every month. However, when I looked at the technical books section of the bookstore this year, the space devoted to AI had shrunk considerably, to less than 10 books. The technical buzzwords that have taken over from “AI” seem to be “DX” (Digital Transformation) and “Society 5.0”. However, even a term like DX seems to be quickly losing steam, and as of 2022, the trendy technical fads are perhaps “the metaverse” and “Web 3.0”. Naturally, there’s no need to abandon something just because trends have changed. Research should continue, and the technology should percolate into society if necessary.
That said, my focus will be DX. Digital transformation is progressing at the JSAI on various fronts, and the digital waves are lapping at the Editorial Committee as well. The Transactions of the JSAI began shifting online early in 2001, and in 2015 we even began selling Kindle version of Journal of Japan Society fo Artificial Intelligence. Behind the scenes, Editorial Committee meetings were held in a hybrid format using Zoom even before the COVID-19 pandemic, and we’ve currently introduced Slack for close communication between committee members. Around 2013, when I first became a member of the Editorial Committee, we were already using Google Drive for document management.That is to say, we were ahead of the curve with digital transformation.
Unfortunately, article management—the core role of the Editorial Committee—is still stuck in the 20th century. Many academic societies have already adopted online submission and review systems for preparing journals, but at the JSAI, article submission, review requests, and review results are all done via email. More than a few times, this has astonished people submitting articles or being asked to do peer review for the first time. It pains me to see it.
I remember moves in the past by the Editorial Committee to adopt an online submission system. At the very least, I conducted a few tests as a committee member in the era when Satoshi KURIHARA was the editor-in-chief. I don’t know why the status quo was maintained after that, but we probably shouldn’t keep things as they are.
The term of an editor-in-chief is two years. I have no ambition to leave some particular legacy over those two years. However, I do have a problem with people constantly saying, “You’re the JSAI, yet you’re still using these analog methods?” Therefore, my objective for now, over the two years of my term, is to promote DX in the Editorial Committee. In particular, I’d like to adopt an online submission system, or establish a path toward that goal. I know it’s a little ridiculous to use a term like DX for something on the order of adopting an article review system. If we are so inclined, it might be interesting to hold all our meetings in the metaverse, or adopt blockchain for article review, or sell articles as NFTs, but if you blindly follow buzzwords, it’s likely to lead to trouble as the years go by. Therefore, I think it’s better not to overextend ourselves.
We are currently deepening our cooperation regarding New Generation Computing (NGC), and moves are afoot to make that an official English language journal of the JSAI. There are also plans to make major changes in the Journal and Transactions of the JSAI. There will surely be difficulties in publishing the society Journal and Transactions, while simultaneously dealing with new challenges. However, thankfully we will be shifting this year to a system with two Assistant Editors, Dr. Hitoraka OSAWA and Dr. Yoichiro MIYAKE, will be helping me with operations of the Editorial Committee. Also, the Editorial Committee has extremely capable members and student members, and that’s very reassuring.
I won’t need to write an article when I leave my position as editor-in-chief two years from now, but I do have the modest hope that “promoting digitalization…” will not be part of the inaugural message of the next editor-in-chief.