KG NEWS  &  EVENTS

"How Will AI Change Society?" Symposium Hosted by the KG Graduate School of Policy Studies

Public Relations Office        May 31, 2017

Looking to AI to help support a graying Japanese society

Mr. Mori talking about AI deep learning

Mr. Mori talking about AI deep learning

Japan’s rapidly shrinking and aging workforce is one of the country’s foremost concerns. In 2016, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stated that this actually incentivizes Japan to boost productivity through advances in the fields of robotics and artificial intelligence, but what are the potential ramifications of an increased reliance on robots and AI-supported labor, and what does Japan need to do to prepare its workforce for this future? To address these questions, the Kwansei Gakuin University Graduate School of Policy Studies Research Consortium hosted its 19th General Anniversary Project symposium, titled “How Will AI Change Society?” on 26 May 2017.

The symposium gave KGU graduate students a platform to present their own research on a variety of topics, such as potential ways to revitalize Japan’s rural communities. Presentations were also given by the representatives of companies with membership in the Research Consortium. Special guest speaker Masaya Mori, global head of the Rakuten Institute of Technology—the dedicated research arm of Rakuten Inc., one of the world’s leading Internet service companies—approached the issue of AI from an industry standpoint, and spoke about how businesses are now using AI deep learning to understand and adapt to the preferences of an globalized user base. As more and more jobs are rendered unnecessary by technological advances, Mr. Mori noted, it will be necessary to forge new relationships with AI and look for ways to combine irreplaceable human knowledge and creativity with the processing power of machines.

Graduate students displaying their research results

Graduate students displaying their research results

To close the event, there was a panel discussion led by faculty members at the KGU Graduate School of Policy Studies. The panel examined AI advances from the perspectives of social psychology and environmental economics, and reframed the symposium’s central question as “How should people live in an AI society?” The panel discussed how society might change as AI continues to become increasingly ingrained in everyday life, as well as potential policies that could be enacted to counteract jobs becoming obsolete.

For almost two decades, the Research Consortium at KGU has served as a platform for collaborative policy research between Kwansei Gakuin University and its domestic and international partners in industry, government and academia. Previous symposium themes include urban planning and disaster response, energy sustainability and the coming global water crisis. As the Research Consortium approaches its 20th anniversary, it will continue to pursue solutions to the pressing social issues that will confront future generations in Japan and the world at large.