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Fusion of human creativity: AI tech showcased at Yokohama symposium

Nov 27. 2019
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By The Japan News/Asia News Network

A symposium on benefits brought about through the coexistence of humans and artificial intelligence technology was held at Landmark Hall in Yokohama on Monday.

Organized by major research institute Riken, “Fusion of Artificial Intelligence with Human Sensibility” featured a fashion show in which models wore dresses designed by Ema Rie in “collaboration” with AI technology.

A team led by Riken researcher Jun Seita used AI technology typically utilized in healthcare and medical data analysis to analyze about 500 works designed by Ema and images of objects such as shells and roses. The AI system used the results of the analysis to output designs that Ema then used as the basis for the 12 dresses showcased at the event.

“We’ve realized that AI is now shifting stage — from a research subject to practical use in various fields of society,” Riken Yokohama Branch Director Naoki Saito said.

As AI technology becomes more widespread, views have emerged expressing “reasonless caution” on one side of the spectrum and “excessive trust and dependence” on the other, Saito said. However, he stressed the importance of exploring the possibilities of human-AI collaboration in the pursuit of a healthy and fulfilling life in the future.

The symposium also showcased possible uses of avatars. Akira Fukabori, director of ANA Holdings Inc.’s avatar division, presented one of the airline group’s initiatives aiming to connect people in the future via avatar-enabled “transportation.”

A discussion was also held, featuring such panelists as Masayasu Ishihara of publisher Gentosha Inc. and Chubu University Prof. Ichiro Tsuda, who has published a book on mathematics and the human mind.

“I was surprised when the fashion show started as I thought I was here for a symposium about AI,” said audience member Yoshiko Kikuchi, 54. “Perhaps many people here will find inspiration by linking such technologies to their businesses.”

The symposium is part of efforts funded by the Yokohama city government to promote innovations in life science. In 2016, the Yokohama city government established Life Innovation Platform Yokohama to support innovation in the health and medical fields by facilitating collaborations among people in industry, academia, and the public sector.

As of the end of October, 270 companies and institutions had participated in the initiative.

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