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AI, drones and 4K cameras: New tech boosts security systems in Japan

The Japan Times

An increasing variety of technologies such as artificial intelligence, drones and high-quality 4K video cameras is being introduced in the field of security amid a serious shortage of personnel in the field. A virtual "AI guard" developed by major Japanese security firm Secom Co. was tested at Ogikubo Hospital in Tokyo in late October. An animated character displayed on an electric panel at the hospital entrance takes visitors' temperatures and then welcomes those without fevers into the facility. The character has been programmed to respond verbally to basic inquiries and can tell visitors where the bathrooms are located and what time their buses will arrive. It is also able to make eye contact with visitors and lean down when approached by children or people in wheelchairs.


Playing Go with Darwin - Issue 94: Evolving

Nautilus

"I have lately been especially attending to Geograph. Distrib, & most splendid sport it is,--a grand game of chess with the world for a Board." In 1938, Yasunari Kawabata, a young journalist in Tokyo, covered the battle between master Honinbo Shusai and apprentice Minoru Kitani for ultimate authority in the board game Go. It was one of the lengthiest matches in the history of competitive gaming--six months. In his 1968 Nobel Prize-winning novel inspired by these events, The Master of Go, Kawabata wrote of the decisive moment when, "Black has greater thickness and Black territory was secure, and the time was at hand for Otake's [Kitani's pseudonym in the book] own characteristic turn to offensive, for gnawing into enemy formations at which he was so adept."


How to Build Technology that Feels Like a Friend

#artificialintelligence

Recently, I needed to book a lunch meeting. To help coordinate, I asked Amy to assist and cc'd her on the email. "Amy," I wrote, "please help us find a time to meet. Let's plan for sushi at Tokyo Express on Spear Street." Amy looked at my calendar, found an open time suitable for everyone invited, and booked the meeting.


SoftBank's Rocky Year Ends on a Winning Streak

WSJ.com: WSJD - Technology

TOKYO--For a year that started out with a share crash, a record loss and a global pandemic, 2020 is turning out to be very good for SoftBank Group Corp. The Japanese technology investor, best known for its $100 billion Vision Fund and its mercurial chief executive, Masayoshi Son, this week scored an estimated $11 billion paper gain when U.S. food-delivery company DoorDash Inc. went public. It was the latest in a series of wins as soaring tech stocks pushed up the value of many of SoftBank's holdings. Cashing in on another investment, SoftBank said Friday that it agreed to sell an 80% stake in Boston Dynamics, a company known for dog-like robots that can maneuver through rooms, to Hyundai Motor Group . The deal valued the robotics company at $1.1 billion.


'The Last of Us Part II' and 'Animal Crossing' take early wins: Winners, top moments from The Game Awards

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

This story will continue to be updated. It's a big night for video games, where the top achievements will be honored at The Game Awards, which will be broadcast live online from Los Angeles, London and Tokyo. Nominated for the top award, Game of the Year, is "The Last Of Us Part II," "Hades," "The Ghost of Tsushima," "Animal Crossing: New Horizons," "Doom Eternal," and "Final Fantasy VII Remake." Among other games that raked in multiple nominations: the Sony PlayStation 4 exclusive "The Last Of Us Part II," released in June, earned the most (10). "Hades," a PC game also released for the Nintendo Switch in September, earned eight, while "The Ghost of Tsushima," released in July, got seven.


Japan COVID-19 cases set single-day record

The Japan Times

Japan shattered the nationwide record for COVID-19 cases in a day on Wednesday, registering 2,746 cases of the deadly virus as of 6 p.m., public broadcaster NHK reported. The day saw a spate of records in several prefectures, including 245 cases in Aichi, 75 in Kyoto, 72 in Hiroshima, 49 in Gunma and 21 in Oita, and comes amid a recent surge in infections that have prompted concern among regional governments and health authorities. Tokyo, meanwhile, reported 572 new cases -- the second highest daily total ever -- while the number of serious cases dipped by one from a day earlier to 59. The news came a day after the nationwide death toll hit a single-day record of 47 and as serious cases also hit an all-time daily high of 536, according to the health ministry. The capital's daily figure on Wednesday, which was just shy of the record 584 cases recorded last Saturday, was based on 1,428 tests, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government said in a statement.


Forecasting the Olympic medal distribution during a pandemic: a socio-economic machine learning model

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Forecasting the number of Olympic medals for each nation is highly relevant for different stakeholders: Ex ante, sports betting companies can determine the odds while sponsors and media companies can allocate their resources to promising teams. Ex post, sports politicians and managers can benchmark the performance of their teams and evaluate the drivers of success. To significantly increase the Olympic medal forecasting accuracy, we apply machine learning, more specifically a two-staged Random Forest, thus outperforming more traditional na\"ive forecast for three previous Olympics held between 2008 and 2016 for the first time. Regarding the Tokyo 2020 Games in 2021, our model suggests that the United States will lead the Olympic medal table, winning 120 medals, followed by China (87) and Great Britain (74). Intriguingly, we predict that the current COVID-19 pandemic will not significantly alter the medal count as all countries suffer from the pandemic to some extent (data inherent) and limited historical data points on comparable diseases (model inherent).


AI-equipped guide panels make Tokyo area train station debuts

The Japan Times

Electronic panels equipped with artificial intelligence debuted Tuesday at major train stations in the Tokyo area to provide tourist and transfer information for a trial period, with the railway operator aiming to use them to make up for a future labor shortage. East Japan Railway Co. set up 30 panels at six stations in Tokyo and neighboring Chiba Prefecture for the demonstration, which lasts through late January. As a measure against the coronavirus, users do not have to touch the panels directly to operate them and some can automatically measure a passenger's temperature. Available in Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean, the displays can respond to voice questions and finger movements. They are installed at Shinjuku, Shinagawa, Ikebukuro and Takanawa Gateway stations in Tokyo as well as at two locations in Chiba, Kaihinmakuhari and the Airport Terminal 2 station at Narita Airport.


Amazon Transcribe streaming adds support for Japanese, Korean, and Brazilian Portuguese

#artificialintelligence

Amazon Transcribe is an automatic speech recognition (ASR) service that makes it easy to add speech-to-text capabilities to your applications. Today, we're excited to launch Japanese, Korean, and Brazilian Portuguese language support for Amazon Transcribe streaming. To deliver streaming transcriptions with low latency for these languages, we're also announcing availability of Amazon Transcribe streaming in the Asia Pacific (Seoul), Asia Pacific (Tokyo), and South America (São Paulo) Regions. Amazon Transcribe added support for Italian and German languages earlier in November 2020, and this launch continues to expand the service's streaming footprint. Now you can automatically generate live streaming transcriptions for a diverse set of use cases within your contact centers and media production workflows.


'The Last of Us Part II' leads video game nominees for next month's The Game Awards

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

"The Last Of Us Part II" leads the way in nominations for The Game Awards. The Sony PlayStation 4 exclusive game, released in June, earned 10 nominations Wednesday for the annual "Oscars" for video games. This year's ceremony will be held Dec. 10 and broadcast live from studios in Los Angeles, London and Tokyo. Collecting eight nominations: "Hades," a PC game also released for the Nintendo Switch in September. Another PlayStation game, "The Ghost of Tsushima," released in July, earned seven nominations.