Overview


Outline of JSAI

Contents


Inaugural Address of President

 

Artificial Intelligence expanding its scope and impact in our society

Naohiko URAMOTO
(Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation)

It is my great pleasure to have been appointed the 17th president of the Japanese Society for Artificial Intelligence. Past JSAI presidents have all come from academia, but I’m the first to be appointed from the corporate world. I will do everything in my power to shoulder the heavy responsibility that the position entails.

When I first got involved in the research and development of artificial intelligence at university and on the job, it was just as the last AI boom and the subsequent stagnation period were taking place. Thinking back on that time, my research at the university was on knowledge acquisition and creating logical expressions from natural language sentences. I was writing program code with Prolog and Lisp. When I joined a company and was assigned to the research department, my first project was R&D for a machine translation system. It was a time when numerous companies and universities were releasing their translation systems. It partially overlapped with the economic boom years in Japan. Ambitious national projects were started, and consumer products like “neuro” washing machines and “fuzzy” electric fans were even coming out on the market. The boom eventually ended and artificial intelligence dropped off the radar for a while, but these days it’s again become a hot topic of conversation in the news and other media.

Having experienced the last two booms, I’ve noticed several differences between the current one and the one we had back then. First, we are actually using various AI technologies in our business and life. AI technology is becoming pervasive. It’s related to the fact that society is now in a wave of innovation and is shifting with digital technologies. Productivity is improving thanks to automation and globalization, while the digital revolution is disrupting conventional business models and new platforms is emerging. These changes are not being brought about by AI technology alone, but AI technology is widely spreading in our society and playing a critical role.

The value of data is increasing, and data-driven research, development, and business management are now in the spotlight. It looks that the balance is shifting between technology providers and users (individuals) who own large amount of data. We’ve entered an era where those with the data have the competitive advantage. I currently work in a traditional manufacturing industry (primary materials production). My team integrates the data generated in the company with outside data, then analyze it and put it to use in our R&D, manufacturing, and business operations to boost productivity and support data-driven decision-making. In some sense, the fact that I have been granted the opportunity to serve as president of the JSAI may be a symbolic event of the shift of gravity.

It also seems to me that very few individuals or user organizations were utilizing or developing AI technologies under the last boom. Today, however, people are coming out with all kinds of free tools for machine learning or data processing and visualization—so now anyone can easily run tests and get their own results as long as they have data to work with.

Meanwhile, it seems that it will still take time for artificial intelligence technologies to become so interwoven with various daily business operations. At manufacturing sites, for example, it is relatively easy to use the sensor data collected from multiple devices to run traditional statistical analyses or deep-learning algorithms, but not so easy to take the resulting insights and actually build them into manufacturing processes for long-term daily operation. Also, depending on the problem, there is no guarantee that the latest deep-learning algorithm is the ideal one. Since development lifecycle of data-driven software may not be the same as the one conventional software, a new framework will be required.

Still, when we look at these trends in society and technology, it does appear that AI technologies and the new business services that incorporate them will steadily continue to become more widely used—though the current boom will be slow down at some point. Given this situation, I am carefully considering how JSAI is growing and giving impacts in technical and social communities.

The JSAI is an academic society with frontline researchers and engineers—so to start, I think we need to create an environment for them to produce cutting-edge research and development results. We need to be on the lookout for fresh topics, set up research communities, and create opportunities for researchers both in Japan and abroad (particularly younger ones) to participate in lively discussions while deepening their experience and knowledge.

Many companies and organizations that have registered as supporting members of the JSAI and participate in our conferences and workshops are also more diverse than ever before. We will be collaborating across various industrial sectors to build frameworks to accelerate the penetration of artificial intelligence technologies throughout society.

Finally, with AI technologies having such a significant impact on the world, it’s becoming more common to talk about artificial intelligence not simply as a technology, but as an element of society itself. Academic societies are also public institutions, and as such we need to promote open, healthy discussion. Given the revolutionary changes that are taking place, I want our members to come together and discuss on AI. I look forward to serving you and thank you for your support.

 

Address of Editor-in-Chief

Inaugural address from the new JSAI editor-in-chief

Ryutaro ICHISE
(National Institute of Informatics)

It is my pleasure to have been appointed as the Editor-in-Chief for the Japanese Society for Artificial Intelligence. It is incredibly sobering to have been appointed to such an important role. I was first appointed as a member of the JSAI Editorial Committee in 2006. Looking back, then, it has been well over ten years that I have been involved in JSAI editorial work, including my time as a member of the senior editorial committee. During that time, the JSAI editorial style has gradually evolved under its successive editors-in-chief—Toyoaki Nishida, Takahira Yamaguchi, Hitoshi Matsubara, Yutaka Matsuo, Satoshi Kurihara, and Hiroshi Yamakawa. As I follow in their footsteps, I want to continue on with the positives that my predecessors brought while bringing in a fresh willingness to try new things so that we can publish even better scientific and academic journals.

My involvement with the JSAI goes back to my days as a high school student. I was waiting to go on to university and searching around for the subject I wanted to study. In the process I ran across Fumio Mizoguchi’s book Chishiki Kogaku (Knowledge Engineering). It was during the time of the second artificial intelligence boom, and the book, which provided background on artificial intelligence technologies while discussing their importance and benefits, sparked my interest in the subject. I was convinced that I wanted to study AI and tried to find a department to enroll in, but in those days it was considered a technology bound to things like aeronautical engineering. Even universities with dedicated informatics or computer science departments were rare. It was difficult to find a school that would teach me about artificial intelligence and its peripheral technologies, and in the process of my search, I learned from a JSAI book I happened to find that Masamichi Shimura was one of the key players in AI. I figured that if I went to the university where he taught, I could learn about it—so that’s where I enrolled. In short, the JSAI played a major role in determining my future—meaning where I am today.

So let’s look at the present moment. There’s now a third AI technology boom, and everyone under the sun is talking about artificial intelligence. The second AI boom had come and gone when I got to university, actually started studying artificial intelligence, and joined the JSAI. At that time, people in the corporate world kept asking us whether we had started working with this “artificial intelligence thing” yet. Thinking back on those days now, it’s clear we were in a totally different era. It goes without saying that the current AI technology boom is being driven by deep learning, and there is no doubt that thanks to this deep learning we can now do things with AI that we couldn’t have dreamed about doing before. Meanwhile, as someone who has been studying AI since the previous generation, I do see some unfortunate developments as well. Artificial intelligence is not a fundamental, standalone technology. It contains numerous underlying elements, and is able to deliver such powerful functionality because it applies carefully selected technologies towards a certain purpose. In addition, it is by combining those underlying technologies that we are able to achieve more things. But the world has gotten so caught up in this AI boom that I keep hearing stories about how people are trying to solve problems by applying deep learning as a single technology—and they’re left bewildered when things don’t end up working out. When you dig deeper into the story, you often find that non-deep learning AI technologies would have been more precise and simpler to make work. Artificial intelligence technology is not just about deep learning. It involves all kinds of other technologies—the ones that were at the heart of the first and second AI booms as well as the various technologies that were later developed through further innovation. Unfortunately, the current deep learning boom is not creating opportunities for people who have an interest in artificial intelligence to look deeper into these other associated technologies.

As Editor-in-Chief for the Japanese Society for Artificial Intelligence, there are two main goals that I want to achieve based on these past experiences. The first is to develop the people who will take the future of AI forward. I myself was drawn into the world of artificial intelligence thanks to a book on the subject that was put out during the AI boom. With the whole world developing an interest in artificial intelligence, there are many opportunities for the children and young researchers who will carry the next generation to gain an interest in it as well. I want us to come up with ways to offer them opportunities to encounter cutting-edge AI technologies and hopefully increase the number of professionals who can drive its future development. My second goal is to popularize various AI technologies—not just deep learning. There are so many other underlying technologies out there, and I think it’s a great shame that the wider world isn’t aware of them. If we can use our scientific journals to get the word out, I’m convinced that it will foster technological innovation and have great social significance as well.

The Editorial Committee set up a new system this year for collecting reader feedback. We’re interested in even the smallest things, as hearing from you inspires everyone on the committee to do better. I hope you’ll take the time to let us know how we’re doing and how we can do better.

 

Past presidents

 

  Name incumbency
The 17th Naohiko Uramoto 2018.6.27-
The 16th Seiji Yamada 2016.6.24-2018.6.27
The 15th Hitoshi Matsubara 2014.6.13-2016.6.24
The 14th Takahira Yamaguchi 2012.6.14-2014.6.13
The 13th Toyoaki Nishida 2010.6.10-2012.6.14
The 12th Koichi Hori 2008.6.12-2010.6.10
The 11th Riichiro Mizoguchi 2006.6.8-2008.6.12
The 10th Mitsuru Ishizuka 2004.6.3-2006.6.8
The 9th Hozumi Tanaka 2002.5.30-2004.6.3
The 8th Yoshiaki Shirai 2000.5.26-2002.5.30
The 7th Katsuhiko Shirai 1998.6.18-2000.5.26
The 6th Hidehiko Tanaka 1996.6.26-1998.6.18
The 5th Shuji Doshita 1994.6.22-1996.6.26
The 4th Masamichi Shimura 1992.6.25-1994.6.22
The 3rd Saburo Tsuji 1990.6.23-1992.6.25
The 2nd Setsuo Osuga 1988.6.24-1990.6.23
The 1st Akio Fukumura 1986.7.24-1998.6.24