Outlook 2020: Teaching AI to Be More Like Us

Outlook 2020: Teaching AI to Be More Like Us

Artificial intelligence is altering the way we live and work. Ubiquitous computing has engendered countless conveniences and economic efficiencies, but it is also seen as a threat that could eventually supplant many white-collar jobs—raising the specter of a dystopian future in which the riches created by an economy are concentrated in just a handful of people who control and utilize digital technology. Populist politicians might even launch an anti-AI campaign by playing on such fears.

The transformation of our society and economy will no doubt result in an expanded role for the state, since, in a globalized, market economy, only the state can intervene to prevent a disproportionate overconcentration of wealth. We will need to strengthen the foundations of our tax and social security systems and enhance the digital literacy of workers so they can stave off being replaced by robots. Such efforts are already underway in Japan, but they lag far behind the advances being achieved in the field of AI.

CES 2020, the world’s largest consumer electronics show, held in Las Vegas in January. ©Kyodo News

What, then, can we do? Instead of just teaching AI new skills, we should also have it undertake deep learning to generate conclusions that maximize benefits for human society; people must continue to be allowed to grow through their chosen vocations and to live with dignity. AI needs to understand its proper role and be utilized in ways that are sustainable for both humans and the environment.

This will require giving AI access to big data concerning our daily habits and preferences. In a sense, the future of AI will hinge on the ways we live our lives. The Reiwa era’s biggest challenge could be to imbue AI with an “ethical, human-friendly mindset” enabling both individuals and society to continue enjoying current levels of prosperity in the face of the sweeping changes that our “100-year lives” are henceforth likely to render.

Outlook 2020

Research on Market Size and Patterns of Innovation, Kiminori Matsuyama
Testing the Limits of Abe’s “Political Business Model,” Sota Kato
Repair the Fiscal Roof While the Sun Is Shining, Keiichiro Kobayashi
Teaching AI to Be More Like Us, Shigeki Morinobu
China’s Difficult Choices and Regional Repercussions, Ke Long 

森信 茂樹/Shigeki Morinobu

Shigeki Morinobu

  • RESEARCH DIRECTOR

Areas of Expertise

Tax and financial policies, local finance

Research Unit

Tax & Social Security Reform