Japan


Free Japanese-language medical app offers advice about coronavirus

The Japan Times

A Japanese medical advice app provider is making a limited time offer of a free app that allows users to seek advice from doctors about the coronavirus. The free service, in Japanese only, is provided by Agree, a company based in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture. It also operates a medical advice app called Leber. Users are asked to send information such as whether they have traveled to any places where COVID-19 has been confirmed or whether they have developed a fever. With about 120 doctors registered for the service, users receive advice in about 30 minutes about the urgency of their condition, such as if they are suspected of having pneumonia and if they should seek advice from a public health center.


Will AI change our industry? Read what the delegates of the UFI chapter in Tokyo think.

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This question was discussed at the recent high-profile UFI Asia-Pacific Conference in Tokyo by Stephan Forseilles, Gunner Heinrich, myself and many other delegates. One thing became quite clear right from the start of the discussion. AI is a topic that's high on the agenda for nearly everybody in the industry. Overall the proportion of delegates who believe AI will change our industry was a clear majority at nearly 70%, however, the sceptics also presented a strong counter-argument. Those who didn't believe that AI would bring about change claimed that we are first and foremost a "face-to-face industry".


How can AI reinvent couture?

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With headlines everywhere focusing on disposable plastics and air travel emissions, it's clear that our individual, everyday purchasing choices--from what we eat to how we get around--impact the world around us. But how about what we wear? According to the UN Alliance for Sustainable Fashion, apparel manufacturing produces 20% of the world's water waste and up to 10% of its carbon output and sends more than 21 billion tons of textiles to landfills each year. But it's also a $2.4 trillion dollar industry that employs more than 60 million people worldwide. Considering this scale and impact, the industry is at a crossroads, devising disruptive technologies, rethinking business models, and searching for innovation at every step -- design, production, distribution, and reuse.


Health ministry struggles to provide COVID-19 updates in foreign languages

The Japan Times

The health ministry, which is at the heart of the nation's ongoing battle with the coronavirus outbreak, is struggling to keep non-Japanese updated on the rapidly escalating situation in a timely manner, hampered by a dearth of staff proficient in foreign languages. As of Tuesday afternoon, the English version of the ministry's website made no mention of the COVID-19 infection anywhere prominent on its top page, relegating any coronavirus-related links to midpage or lower, with those all directing viewers to original press releases written exclusively in Japanese. "Since our main job has been to update our Japanese website, it has inevitably led to difficulties in providing English-language information in a timely way, so one option is to use machine translation for now," ministry official Takuma Kato said. The official said a future redesign of the English website to better highlight updates pertaining to the new virus is not guaranteed, citing the need to overcome technical difficulties. "Our ministry doesn't have a dedicated team of staff specializing in English-language communication in the first place, so the situation at the moment is that our Japanese staff has been utilizing what little resources they can find to deal with any English update," Kato said.


Japan approves bill to help firms to develop 5G and drone technologies

The Japan Times

The Cabinet on Tuesday approved a bill to support companies to develop secure 5G mobile networks and drone technologies amid growing alarm among Tokyo policy-makers over the increasing influence of China's 5G technology. The bill will give companies which develop such technologies access to low-interest rate loans from government-affiliated financial institutions if their plans fulfill standards on cyber security. Companies that adopt 5G technologies can also get tax incentives if they meet standards set by the government, according to the bill. The government will submit the bill to the parliament and aims to bring it to effect around summer. The United States has been waging a campaign against Huawei Technologies Co, which Washington has warned could spy on customers for Beijing.


Coronavirus update: Artificial Intelligence warned of the killer epidemic week before WHO

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According to the Polish Economics Institute (PIE), the first coronavirus warnings were issued on December 31 by a Canada-based health monitoring startup. The Canadian company, BlueDot, even correctly predicted the cities outside of China coronavirus would next appear: Tokyo, Seoul, Taipei and Bangkok. PIE said: "Algorithms using artificial intelligence solutions identified the onset of the coronavirus epidemic a few days earlier than reported in the official information from international organisations such as the WHO or the CDC." BlueDot's AI predicted the spread of coronavirus by analysing airline data, international news stories and reports of coronavirus animal infections.


Use AI Ethically To Build Relationships, Not Data Warehouses

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As technology evolves at a rapid rate – especially technology that incorporates artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities – so too does the potential for bias, disconnect, misuse of data, and the automation of impersonal actions or decisions. With the vast amounts of data collected, stored, and exchanged, capitalist societies risk the commoditization of personal data at the expense of the individual, instead of using personal data to foster valuable individual and societal relationships. In business, AI and machine learning are increasingly used as part of smart systems that analyze large amounts of data to identify trends that will benefit the business, like capturing more consumers and increasing profits, as opposed to building long-lasting relationships. AI shouldn't only be focused on the business' bottom line. In fact, a recent AI and empathy survey by our company of 6,000 consumers from North America, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, Germany, and France found that 69% of consumers think businesses have a moral obligation to do what's right for the consumer, beyond what is legally required.


South Sudan's Olympians in love with Japanese language -- as well as real track in Gunma

The Japan Times

They are trying to get a head start, and unlike most of the 11,000 athletes who will be in Tokyo for the games, and thousands more for the Paralympics, they will be able to speak Japanese. "Just the language itself, I love it," said Abraham Majok, a runner who arrived in Japan in November with three other South Sudanese athletes and a coach. "And it's nice and since we started learning it. But, you know, we are moving well with it and we just love it." They are training northwest of Tokyo in Maebashi, Gunma Prefecture, supported mainly by donations from the public.


Using Transfer Learning to Overcome the Barriers Facing Machine Learning in Materials Science - News

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Machine learning's ability to perform intellectually demanding tasks across various fields, materials science included, has caused it to receive considerable attention. Many believe that it could be used to unlock major time and cost savings in the development of new materials. The growing demand for the use of machine learning to derive fast-to-evaluate surrogate models of material properties has prompted scientists at the National Institute for Materials Science in Tsukuba, Japan, to demonstrate that it could be the key driver of the "next frontier" of materials science in recently published research. To learn, machines rely on processing data using both supervised and unsupervised learning. With no data, however, there is nothing to learn from.


Oracle Supercharges Cloud Infrastructure With Data Science Platform - SDxCentral

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Oracle supercharged its efforts to take on cloud giants Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and today launched a data science platform that runs as a native service on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. The announcement marks the company's second cloud push of the new year. Last week Oracle announced its Generation 2 Cloud was available in five new regions including Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; Melbourne, Australia; Osaka, Japan; Montreal; and Amsterdam. The new Oracle's Cloud Infrastructure Data Science Platform uses elements of DataScience.com, The vendor claims the new offering can bring data scientists together and aid analysis with capabilities like shared projects, model catalogs, team security policies, reproducibility, and auditability.