The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the simulation of human intelligence processes by computer systems and other machines. These processes involve the acquisition of data, rules for using such data, reasoning of such rules, and abilities to self-correct.

At present, Japan holds more AI patents than any other country. However, policymaking has yet to catch up with the rapid technological developments in robotics. For example, Japan’s existing copyright and patent law does not cover AI-produced or machine-invented creations.

There are also legal implications as to who is liable for the acts and omissions of AI and robots. AI and robots are often operating in connected environments, which result in increased cybersecurity and hacking risks. There are questions as to how liabilities of manufacturers, owners, and users should be allocated for acts and omissions by robots and AI.

A potential solution to the complexity of allocating responsibility for damage caused by increasingly autonomous robots could be an obligatory insurance scheme. If your company is procuring AI systems or consultancy from third parties—or is offering AI services—it will be important to give clarity in the agreements to the parties’ intentions regarding ownership, licensing, exploitation, and product, as well as other potential liabilities.

DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES
With the rise and advancement of AI, Millennials—those born between the early 1980s and early 2000s, called yutori-sedai in Japanese—are increasing their presence in Japanese society. This generation has grown up in an era of rapid technological advancement. As a result, a large portion of this generation is referred to as “digital natives.”

Millennials perceive new technology differently from older generations. It is common that Millennials accept new services or tools while older generations find this technological difficult to use.

If Japan could utilize its resources and technology, there is great potential for the country to reinvent itself. To achieve this objective, Japan must acknowledge the changes it is facing. Creativity and innovation will never be achieved if we close our eyes to what is in front of us.

Millennials and technology grew side by side. This generation has an inherent ability to leverage their skills and knowledge to use emerging technology to realize better outcomes for business and society. But it is widely acknowledged that Millennials are underutilized in the Japanese workplace, despite their will to engage and collaborate with other generations.

Breaking down the barriers is not easy, but if we institute mechanisms to increase collaboration, the future of Japan is bright.

The Young Professionals Forum (YPF) features peer-led programs, monthly mentor forums, training, and networking activities that provide a value-added platform for young professionals, helping them create new connections with peers and senior business leaders. The YPF aims to build professional skills, deepen understanding of the US–Japan bilateral relationship and the ACCJ, provide meaningful information exchanges, and create opportunities for young professionals to thrive inside and outside the ACCJ.

Ann Cheung and Anna Maruyama are co-chairs of the Young Professionals Forum.