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

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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 .


Brain organoids could spark a 'Planet of the Apes' scenario, scientists warn

Daily Mail - Science & tech

As research involving transplanting lab-grown human'mini-brains' into animals to study neurological diseases continues to expand, experts warn the work with these brain organoids could result in a'Planet of the Apes' scenario. The concern is animals could develop humanized traits and start to behave similar to the intelligent apes of the popular science fiction story. The warning comes from a team at Kyoto University who released a paper highlighting a number of ethical implications that could arise with brain organoid research. Although many see brain organoids as a way to quickly develop disease treatments, others fear that because they are designed to mimic the real thing, they too may attain some form of consciousness. Experts warn the work with these brain organoids could result in a'Planet of the Apes' (pictured) scenario.


Automated COVID-19 PCR-testing system launched

The Japan Times

The system uses robots to conduct polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, tests, significantly reducing infection risks for technicians. "The system will reduce the burden on medical workers, who are becoming exhausted from measures aimed at preventing infections," especially as Japan braces for a fourth wave of COVID-19 cases, Hiroyasu Ito, a professor at the university, said. The system, developed by Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd., is housed in a container 2.5 meters wide and 12.2 meters long, and has 13 robotic arms. It conducts all the steps required to test samples for coronavirus infections without human intervention. The university is aiming to make it possible for the system to produce test results in just 80 minutes.


Why Hitachi Is Spending $9.6 Billion to Dive Into the Software Business

WSJ.com: WSJD - Technology

That's where Hitachi hopes to employ GlobalLogic's engineering know-how in manufacturing, energy and other sectors to expand further outside Japan, said Gajen Kandiah, chief executive of Hitachi Vantara, the firm's digital infrastructure segment. "Unfortunately, you only hear about a small group of companies that are maximizing data," he said. "You don't hear about the 99% that isn't." The Morning Download delivers daily insights and news on business technology from the CIO Journal team. Digital services and the data analytics that power them have been a competitive advantage for many companies during the pandemic, with global supply chains upended and employees and customers interacting virtually.


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.


"Godzilla vs. Kong," Reviewed: A Monster Mush of Two Venerable Franchises

The New Yorker

The enduring appeal of both Kong and Godzilla has to do with their simplicity. "King Kong," made in Hollywood, débuted in 1933; "Godzilla," produced in Japan, came out in 1954. Both films relied on a stark and clarified premise: fantastic monsters let loose in ordinary human reality, which, in the light of their presence, is revealed to be even more hideous than the monsters themselves. That symbolic power, rather than their physical power, is the source of their enduring appeal, and it's the fundamental element that "Godzilla vs. Kong," the new mashup, directed by Adam Wingard, stomps into oblivion. The film is garishly overloaded with splices and grafts from other movies, other genres, and other premises, including a mythical setting and an evil corporation.


'Level 4' self-driving transit cars in Japan won't require licensed passengers: expert panel - The Mainichi

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Highly automated "Level 4" self-driving vehicles should be held responsible for following traffic rules and be operable without the need for a human with a driving license, according to recommendations from a report by a National Police Agency (NPA) expert panel dated April 1. The panel's report on traffic rules for transportation services in limited areas such as on buses and electric-powered carts with level 4 autonomous driving technology recommends that while conventional laws require drivers to follow traffic rules, the responsibility to follow the rules in automatic vehicles falls on the driving system. In autonomous driving, the system chooses the best operation from information collected by the vehicle's cameras and sensors detecting its surrounding. The technology is split into levels 0 to 5 reflecting how much control the system has over a vehicle. Levels 0 through 3 have already been implemented with rules set, including revisions to laws such as the Road Traffic Act. The Japanese government divides autonomous vehicles into three forms -- mobile services like public transportation, private cars, and logistics services -- and has set differing implementation goals for each type.


With Iceland event nearing, Riot thinking about 'Valorant' co-streaming, regional slots, match-fixing inquiry

Washington Post - Technology News

"In Europe, you have a lot more third party local language production companies that are producing those broadcasts. You also have a lot more languages in general," said Jafroodi. "I think we really want to make sure that as we take steps to expand co-streaming, we are doing it carefully and in a way that allows each region the agency to develop the systems that best suit their region. Because ultimately what works in North America isn't necessarily what's going to work in Europe, and isn't necessarily always going to work in Japan and Korea."


'Monster Hunter Rise' is a grand Japanese homecoming, made by a more confident team

Washington Post - Technology News

It's not widely known that 2017′s "Monster Hunter World" became the best-selling game in publisher Capcom's history, no small feat with an oeuvre that includes the Resident Evil, Street Fighter and Mega Man brands. But that game came with a lot of aesthetic changes that enabled its success. It was the first game to release with high-budget graphics and effects, releasing on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One before a later PC release that pushed sales and broke Capcom records. And while the series always featured out-of-the-box, eclectic monster designs, the ones in "World" centered around dinosaurs, globally recognized but creatively a bit stale.


Peaceful life with BuddhaBot, the new collaboration of Buddhism and AI by Japan Unboxed • A podcast on Anchor

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In recent years, religions seem to be facing an issue to become a thing of the past globally. On the other hand, there is a huge demand for mindfulness in the stressful society as well. There is one team in Kyoto city that has announced that they have developed an artificial intelligence (AI) that can learn Buddhist scriptures and might be able to solve people's problems.   The aim is to make the teachings of Buddhism more accessible. The team is planning to improve the bot and make it available to the public. Let’s see if Mr. Kumagai, who is an associate professor of Buddhist studies at Kyoto University, and his team can unbox Japan.  https://www.kyoto-u.ac.jp/sites/default/files/2021-03/210312_kumagai-8e4a29008aeb6ca72bd64b2d244bbedd.pdf  #sake #Sushi #Japan #Japanese #JapanUnboxed #nihongo #にほんご #learnJapanese #studyJapanese #madeinjapan #DiscoverJapan #Tokyo #Kyoto #日本語能力試験 #JLPT #日本語勉強 #kanji #AdvancedJapanese