Category Archives: SCI-TECH

Japan and AI: A Match Made in Artificial Heaven

Source: Gaijin Pot
Japan and AI: A Match Made in Artificial Heaven

Influencing every area of Japanese culture from the workplace to the dating world, the futuristic vision of Japan you see in sci-fi movies is already here. The difference is that it’s not trying to kill us — it’s a hidden part of everyday life.

So what exactly is AI?

It’s not just super intelligent robots. Weak artificial intelligence (AI) is built for a particular purpose, typically by businesses to provide a particular type of service. When Facebook automatically detects the faces of your friends in a creepy way, it’s using a branch of AI called “deep learning,” where AI is trained on previous photos of your tagged friends and general photos of people. This first identifies the presence of a face and then predicts just whose face it is. As with humans, AI isn’t perfect and sometimes it will get it wrong.

Strong AI is closer to our Bladerunner-esque imaginations. The “stronger” the AI, the more it can “think” for itself and seem sentient. We are only just scratching the surface of developing strong AI. However, some projects are getting close, such as Google’s Deep Mind, which can navigate through complex game levels and can even walk by itself… well, sort of.

Why does Japan embrace it?

Partially due to its depiction in media, the Japanese depiction of strong AI as cute, intelligent companions through famous childhood TV series such as Doraemon, or amazingly human-like and emotive characters in many anime series. In comparison, the depiction of AI in Western media (often in a cool, modern, post-apocalyptic style like Ex Machina) can paint AI in a negative light, and the concept is feared by many.

Where can you experience AI in Japan right now?

There is already an apparent integration of intelligent robots into Japanese daily life. Such as robot hotel staff and a cute …continue reading


Sony goes back to the 1990s with new aibo robotic dog toy


Continuing the trend for rebooting or revisiting classics of the 1980s and 1990s, Sony has resurrected its hit robot toy, the AIBO.

The new ERS-1000 model, now christened as the lower-case aibo, is decidedly enhanced, both in appearance — it looks much more like a puppy now — and functionality, coming with OLED screens in the eyes to display different emotions, a camera in the nose to take photos, a quad-core CPU, built-in LTE and WiF, and microphones.

aibo sony robotic dog new reboot

aibo sony robotic dog new reboot

The new aibo, which comes in a smart ivory white color, will learn from its owner and environment, adapting and developing from its experiences. Just like a real dog!

The downside, in a sense, is that the new aibo may not be able to do much if you live overseas, since you need to subscribe to the Sony cloud service and use the dedicated app to get the full features and interactivity.

The new aibo is available on preorder from Japan Trend Shop, though advance reservations on the gadget are already full so it won’t be on the market properly until next year at the earliest.

Retro is one of the key themes of the moment as the generation born in the late 1970s and early 1980s approach their forties.

Earlier this year Nintendo released the Nintendo Famicom Mini NES Classic, a replica of the original NES, which was followed the Nintendo Classic Mini Super Famicom, a re-release of the Japanese Super NES. Pokémon Go has also revived interest in Nintendo’s 1990s franchise.

Transformers toys were also recreated as Infobar mobile phone designs while Street Fighter became lingerie.

Bandai also wound the clock back to …continue reading