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Hiroshi Noji and Yohei Oseki have received the Best Paper Award, NLP2021


The research paper of "Parallelization of Recurrent neural network grammar (in Japanese)," co-authored by Hiroshi Noji (AIST) and Yohei Oseki (The University of Tokyo), was received the Best Paper Award from the 27th Annual Meeting of the Association for Natural Language Processing .

Vaccinations alone won't have major impact on fourth wave of virus in Tokyo, study shows

The Japan Times

It's hoped that COVID-19 vaccines will be the silver bullet that eventually allows society to return to normal. But even an accelerated inoculation campaign is unlikely to have a major impact on what appears to be a growing fourth wave of infections in Tokyo, according to research by a Tsukuba University professor. Setsuya Kurahashi, a professor of systems management, conducted a simulation using artificial intelligence that looked at how the vaccine rollout would help prevent the spread of the coronavirus in Tokyo if new infections rise at the same pace as during the second wave last summer. Even if 70,000 vaccinations per day, or 0.5% of the capital's 14 million people, were given to Tokyoites -- with priority given to people age 60 and over -- the capital would still see a fourth wave of infections peaking at 1,610 new cases on May 14, the study showed. The study also showed a fifth wave is expected to peak at 640 cases on Aug. 31.

AI-Powered Kaorium "Smell-O-Word" System Partners with Nose Shop - ThunderboltLaptop


Scentmatic, a Tokyo-based company delivering experiences that fully replicate scents and smells, in cooperation with Biotope Co. Ltd., plans to introduce its trademark Kaorium system to a limited number of Nose Shop's branches, a growing curator of perfumes and beauty products, nationwide in Japan. Using AI to describe perfumes in the most artificially intelligent way possible. Scentmatic is a company that aims to use the power of artificial intelligence for scent-related products and services. No, they don't exactly sell colognes and perfumes using finely-calculated smart algorithms. Instead, the AI is used to "translate" these scents into words (relevant text), providing verbal profiles for each related product with the highest descriptive accuracy possible for the language chosen.

The Pastry A.I. That Learned to Fight Cancer

The New Yorker

One morning in the spring of 2019, I entered a pastry shop in the Ueno train station, in Tokyo. After taking a tray and tongs at the front, you browsed, plucking what you liked from heaps of baked goods. What first struck me was the selection, which seemed endless: there were croissants, turnovers, Danishes, pies, cakes, and open-faced sandwiches piled up everywhere, sometimes in dozens of varieties. But I was most surprised when I got to the register. At the urging of an attendant, I slid my items onto a glowing rectangle on the counter. A nearby screen displayed an image, shot from above, of my doughnuts and Danish.

Toyota Is Using Artificial Intelligence To Build A New City


Toyota, one of the biggest automobile manufacturers is employing artificial intelligence to make a futuristic city for 2,000 staff members and families. Yes, of course, the city will be powered by robots as well. The city will be governed by an operating system and will have roads dedicated for self-driving vehicles to carry on without any hassle. Toyota has begun laying the foundation for a 175-acre smart city in Japan. The company says that artificial intelligence and futuristic technologies will act as a'living laboratory" which raises many eyebrows. Being built at the base of Mount Fuji, the "Woven City" will be situated approximately 62 miles from Tokyo. The aim of building such a city is to serve as a testing ground for modern technology that can be established across other urban environments like robotics, AI, and interconnected smart homes. Toyota announced this futuristic project at CES 2020 in January last year. The company had said that the city will have three types of roads which will be connected at the ground level – one road for pedestrians, one for pedestrians using their personal vehicles like e-scooters, and one road just for self-driving cars. While these roads will be for the public, the city will also have one conventional road underneath the city that will be used to move goods. In 2018, Toyota launches its self-driving vehicle, the e-Palette which is expected to be the Woven City project's main transport. Toyota said that their e-Palette is "scalable and customizable" for various functions like ride-sharing, delivery services, mobile offices, and even hotels. The 2,000 staff and families will live in smart homes with AI technology and various integrated robotic systems to assist everyday life and sensor-based artificial intelligence to monitor people's health and other basic needs. The project is divided into phases and the first phase will have about 360 residents of varying age groups, rising to 2,000 including a few Toyota employees and their families along with scientists and inventors who will keep checking the effectiveness of the technological solutions. Toyota has said "encouraging human connection will be an equally important aspect of this experience.

AI robot artist adapts style according to how many brushstrokes it is allowed to make


Created by a team of researchers from IBM Japan, the University of Tokyo, and Yamaha Motors, this robot is the latest attempt to extend human creativity to machines. Instead of simply replicating images or photographs, this robot is given a concept that it then materializes with its paintbrush. The researchers maintain that this could open the door to a new category of art created entirely by machines.

Toyota VC invests in AI startups, firms that refine everyday processes


TOKYO (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp's first venture capital fund is investing in startups that help the Japanese automaker refine everyday processes by bringing sharper supply-chain management and robotics to the factory floor, a fund executive said. The Silicon Valley-based Toyota AI Ventures fund, with $200 million under management, has so far invested in 36 early-stage startups, including self-driving car software firm Nauto, factory video analytics company Drishti and air mobility firm Joby Aviation. Toyota, the world's largest automaker by vehicle sales, and many car companies such as Volkswagen AG are funnelling money into startups to help gain an edge in artificial intelligence as investor interest shifts to self-driving cars. For instance Toyota, which has dozens of factories around the world, wants to be able to quickly share the lessons learned at one plant across other plants so that efficiencies are maximised, Jim Adler, the founding managing director of the fund, told Reuters in an interview. "If you look at cloud computing, for example, and cloud robotics, and fleet learning, when one robot learns something, the rest of the robots automatically learn that thing," he said.

This robot artist stops to consider its brushstrokes like a real person


A team of researchers from IBM Japan, the University of Tokyo and Yamaha Motors have created a robot that uses canvas, paint and a brush to create paintings on its own. What sets this artificial intelligence apart from some of the other artistically-inclined ones we've seen in the past is that it doesn't generate the paintings it creates at random. Instead, it's programmed to work with concepts and has a set of "values" it turns to for guidance. It's possible to shape the images it creates by providing it with additional instructions. Limit it to 30 or fewer brushstrokes and it will paint a more abstract piece. Conversely, with some 300 brushstrokes at its disposal, it will create something more realistic.

Microsoft will reportedly reveal its plans for Bethesda this week


Now that Microsoft's ZeniMax acquisition has received the all clear from regulators, Xbox is reportedly gearing up to provide more details about what the deal means for its Game Pass customers. Specifically, it's going to reveal in a video presentation on Thursday that numerous Bethesda games are heading to the subscription service soon, according to sources who spoke to VentureBeat. It will also emphasize that any future and contractually eligible titles from the broader ZeniMax roster -- which also includes game studios id and Arkane -- will be available on Game Pass at launch. Together, the video game holding company's eye-watering lineup includes Bethesda's iconic series The Elder Scrolls and Fallout, id's Doom and Quake and Arkane's Dishonored and Prey. What's currently unclear is if Microsoft will put to rest the question of exclusivity. Xbox chief Phil Spencer previously told Bloomberg that it's honoring Bethesda's deal with Sony to release Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo as PlayStation 5 exclusives for a limited period.

University of Tokyo: Artificial intelligence versus the brain


Our current era is now in the so-called third artificial intelligence (AI) boom. Professor Hirokazu Takahashi has been engaged in brain research using the techniques of reverse engineering, an approach that strives to shed light on the underlying structure of products by taking them apart. According to Takahashi, there are two types of intellectual cleverness, and fundamental differences distinguish our brains from artificial intelligence. In rat experiments, "futility" or "uselessness" is a key word that frequently comes into perspective. If we understand the features of the brain, is it not "futile" to be "uselessly" fearful of AI?