Japan


Japan's Komatsu Selects NVIDIA as Partner for Deploying AI to Create Safer, More Efficient Construction Sites

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Komatsu, one of the world's largest manufacturers of construction and mining equipment, has selected NVIDIA as its partner to bring AI to jobsites, making them safer and more efficient, NVIDIA announced today. The partnership – described at GTC Japan by NVIDIA founder and CEO Jensen Huang – will focus on Komatsu using NVIDIA GPUs to visualize and analyze entire construction sites. The NVIDIA Jetson AI platform will serve as the brain of heavy machinery deployed on these sites, enabling improved safety and productivity. "Artificial intelligence is sweeping across industries, and its next frontier is autonomous intelligent machines," said Huang, speaking at NVIDIA's final of seven global GPU Technology Conferences this year. "Future machines will perceive their surroundings and be continuously alert, helping operators work more efficiently and safely.


Nvidia partners with Japan's Komatsu to make construction safer with AI

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Japanese construction equipment manufacturer Komatsu will work with Nvidia to use artificial intelligence to make construction sites safer. Santa Clara, California-based Nvidia announced the deal at its GTC Japan event, where CEO Jensen Huang said that Nvidia graphics processing units (GPUs, which can be used for AI processing) will power visualization and analysis of construction sites for safety issues. Nvidia's Jetson AI platform, a credit card-sized device designed to drive robots and drones, will serve as the brains of heavy machinery. "Artificial intelligence is sweeping across industries, and its next frontier is autonomous intelligent machines," Huang said in a statement. "Future machines will perceive their surroundings and be continuously alert, helping operators work more efficiently and safely.


Robots to be 'scattered' about Haneda airport to help visitors to 2020 Tokyo Olympics

The Japan Times

Visitors to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics can expect to arrive at an airport with robots "scattered" about to help them, an official said Tuesday as he unveiled seven new machines to perform tasks from helping with luggage to language assistance. Among the seven robots on show was a fluffy cat mascot that can carry out simultaneous interpretation in four different languages. Visitors speak into a furry microphone, and translations appear instantly on a smart screen. Travelers may also be approached by a small white humanoid robot, Cinnamon, asking if they need its help. The sleek white robot can converse with visitors through its AI system and give directions.


Japan turns to drones, earsplitting sound to force overtime staff to leave

ZDNet

A drone which hovers in the air will shriek and produce sounds designed to forcefully stop employees spending too much time at work has been unveiled in Japan. ZDNet and TechRepublic looks at the dramatic effect of AI, big data, cloud computing, and automation on IT jobs, and how companies can adapt. The "T-Friend" is an autonomous drone which "strengthens the security of the office space at night, but also urges departure by regular patrol," according to Taisei and Blue Innovation, the makers of the device. While blaring music and uncomfortable sounds may indeed deter sticky-fingered burglars at night, the true reason for the drone is to prevent Japanese employees from spending every waking moment at their desks. Japanese culture has long honored loyalty to bosses and companies, dedication to work, and competition is fierce to land and keep jobs in cities such as Tokyo.


SoftBank's Son remains confident over Saudi investment in Vision Fund amid crackdown

Japan Times >> News

Billionaire Masayoshi Son may be getting closer to achieving his dream of making SoftBank Group Corp. the world's biggest investor in technologies, thanks in part to the main patron of Son's $100 billion (¥11.3 The Saudi prince has been the largest investor in the SoftBank Vision Fund, contributing almost half of the money Son has been raising to accelerate his dealmaking around the world. And since November, Salman has been at the center of an unprecedented purge of officials and political rivals in the oil-rich nation, leading to a consolidation of his power. A stronger Salman could mean steady flows of Saudi money into the fund, which allows SoftBank to make investments without adding to its heavy debt load and offering the potential for those investments to generate revenues to pay down the burden. At the same time, any unforeseen reversal in the prince's fortunes may raise questions about the sustainability of his investments.


Robots Will Transform Fast Food

The Atlantic

Sawada speculates that 70 percent of the jobs at Japan's hotels will be automated in the next five years. "It takes about a year to two years to get your money back," he said. "But since you can work them 24 hours a day, and they don't need vacation, eventually it's more cost-efficient to use the robot." This may seem like a vision of the future best suited--perhaps only suited--to Japan. But according to Michael Chui, a partner at the McKinsey Global Institute, many tasks in the food-service and accommodation industry are exactly the kind that are easily automated.


Japan's robots stepping up to fill worst labor shortage in 40 years

The Japan Times

While people fret about robots taking human jobs, machines in Japan are stepping in to fill vacancies amid the worst labor shortage in more than 40 years. That is creating an opportunity for up-and-coming startups focused on automating warehouse tasks. Nitori Holdings Co., the nation's biggest furniture maker, last week deployed 79 robots to move around shelves filled with products at its Osaka distribution center. The company, which introduced the country's first automated furniture warehouse in 1980, is looking to reduce its reliance on human labor. Japan's shrinking pool of workers helped push the number of jobs for every applicant to a ratio of 1.55 in October, the highest since 1973, according to the labor ministry.


Coca-Cola Is Embracing AI and Chatbots in Preparation for a Digital-First Future

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When David Godsman joined Coca-Cola as chief digital officer nearly a year ago, his remit was to transform the traditionally brick-and-mortar business into a "consumer-centric beverage brand" for the digital era. Godsman--who spent the past several years in digital banking at Bank of America before heading up the company's payments and commerce unit--is the first person in the role for the beverage brand. Coca-Cola is just one of many brands across a variety of industries grappling with how to serve consumers through new digital platforms. Using data, artificial intelligence and connected devices, it's trying to rapidly test and enact new customer experiences and services. "This is a large digital transformation exclusive to the Coca-Cola Company," he said.


Nissan and DeNA unveil Easy Ride mobility service

@machinelearnbot

The companies also announced plans for a field test with public participation. The public field test will take place in the Minatomirai district of Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan from March 5, 2018, to March 18, 2018. Nissan and DeNA started collaborating to develop a new mobility service that uses autonomous driving technology in January 2017. The two companies aim to combine the Nissan Intelligent Mobility vision, through technological assets in autonomous driving, vehicle electrification and connected cars, with DeNA's experience in developing and operating driverless mobility services using its expertise in the internet and artificial intelligence. Nissan Global YouTube Channel: The Nissan worldwide channel is our virtual showroom, showcasing our newest models, heritage vehicles, NISMO sports news and tech advancements.


Japan looking to fuel 'productivity revolution' by doubling labor output to 2%

The Japan Times

The government will aim to double the country's labor productivity to 2 percent in the three years through 2020 from 0.9 percent, the average in the five years through 2015, informed sources said. The government is set to include the target in a package of policy measures it plans to adopt on Friday to help realize a "productivity revolution," an initiative designed to ensure sustainable wage growth and overcome deflation, the sources said. The policy package is also expected to call for increasing corporate capital spending by 10 percent in fiscal 2020 from the fiscal 2016 level and achieving wage growth of at least 3 percent every year during the three-year intensive reform period through 2020. The government is set to pledge that it will utilize all policy measures to improve productivity, including the greater use of big data and artificial intelligence technology. Also in the package, the government plans to reduce corporate tax burdens to internationally competitive levels for companies actively boosting their wages and capital expenditures.