Japan wants softer AI, the official involved in the talks said that Japan is moving toward artificial intelligence (AI) rules that are less strict than those in the European Union. Japan hopes that AI will help its economy grow and make it a leader in advanced chips.
The goal is to come up with a plan for AI by the end of the year that is more like the U.S. method than the strict rules pushed by the EU, said the official, who did not want to be named because they were not allowed to talk to the media.
Japan wants softer AI that could make it harder for the EU to make its rules a global standard. For example, companies would have to reveal copyrighted materials used to train AI systems that create content like text and images.
This week, Thierry Breton, the head of industry for the EU, is going to Tokyo to support the bloc’s way of making rules for AI and to deepen cooperation in semiconductors.
The official from the government didn’t say in what ways Japan’s rules might be different from those of the EU.
Prof. Yutaka Matsuo of The University of Tokyo, who is in charge of the government’s AI strategy council, said that the EU’s rules are “a little too strict” and that it is “almost impossible” to list protected materials used for deep learning.
“With the EU, the problem is less about how to encourage innovation and more about making big companies take responsibility,” said Matsuo, who also chairs the Japan Deep Learning Association and is an independent director on the board of Masayoshi Son’s SoftBank Group (9984.T).
Firms like Microsoft-backed company OpenAI are making progress in generative AI, which is both exciting and scary because it could change business and society in general.
AI has so much potential that the U.S. and its allies are in a race with China to create it along with other technologies like advanced semiconductors and quantum computers.
“There are things that really worry me, and I think that any democracy should worry about these things,” Breton said.
Breton said of the EU’s regulatory method, “With like-minded partners and friends like Japan or the U.S., I think it’s important to explain what we did.”
AI could help Japan deal with its falling population, which is making it hard to find people to work.
A source said that it could also boost demand for high-tech chips that the government-backed company Rapidus plans to make as part of a plan to help Japan regain its technological lead.
Experts say that Japan’s computing power, which is measured by the number of graphics processing units (GPUs) that can be used to teach AI, is a long way behind that of the U.S.
Prof. Matsuo said, “Even if you doubled the number of GPUs in Japan, it would still be less than what OpenAI has.”