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Business News/ Technology / Japan embraces softened AI regulations to drive economic growth and chip leadership: Report

Japan embraces softened AI regulations to drive economic growth and chip leadership: Report

Japan is reportedly considering adopting more lenient regulations on artificial intelligence (AI) compared to the European Union, aiming to enhance economic growth and establish itself as a frontrunner in advanced chips.

Artificial Intelligence (For representation purposes) (REUTERS)Premium
Artificial Intelligence (For representation purposes) (REUTERS)

Japan is considering adopting more lenient regulations regarding the utilization of artificial intelligence (AI) compared to the European Union, according to Reuters. The country aims to leverage this technology to enhance economic growth and establish itself as a frontrunner in advanced chips.

By the end of the year, Japan intends to develop an AI strategy that is expected to align more closely with the approach adopted by the United States, rather than adhering to the strict regulations advocated by the European Union, reported Reuters.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to lack of authorization, revealed this information. Japan's more relaxed stance may undermine the EU's efforts to establish its regulations as the global standard, particularly regarding the disclosure of copyrighted materials employed to train AI systems responsible for generating content such as text and graphics.

Reportedly, Thierry Breton, the European Union's industry chief, is currently in Tokyo to advocate the EU's approach to AI regulations and enhance collaboration in the field of semiconductors.

The specific areas where Japan's regulations may diverge from those of the EU were not disclosed by the government official.

Professor Yutaka Matsuo, the chair of Japan's AI strategy council at The University of Tokyo, expressed his view that the regulations imposed by the European Union are excessively stringent. He stated that it is exceedingly challenging to accurately identify copyrighted content utilized in deep learning processes.

"With the EU, the issue is less about how to promote innovation and more about making already large 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.

The progress made in generative AI, exemplified by companies like OpenAI (supported by Microsoft), is generating a mix of anticipation and apprehension due to its capacity to revolutionize various aspects of business and society.

The potential of AI, alongside other technologies like advanced semiconductors and quantum computers, has prompted the United States and its allied industrial democracies to engage in a competitive race with China for their development.

"There are things that really are a concern and I think these things probably should be a concern for any democracy," Breton said.

"With likeminded partners and friends like Japan or the U.S., I think it's important to explain what we did," Breton said of the EU's regulatory approach.

In Japan, the utilization of AI holds the potential to address the challenges posed by a declining population, which has resulted in a shortage of labor.

Furthermore, AI adoption has the potential to boost the demand for advanced chips, which the government-supported venture Rapidus intends to produce as part of an industrial policy aimed at reclaiming Japan's former technological dominance, as per the report from Reuters.

According to experts, Japan lags significantly behind the United States in terms of computing power, specifically in the availability of graphics processing units (GPUs) used for AI training.

"If you increased the GPUs in Japan by 10 times, it would probably still be less than what OpenAI has available," said Prof. Matsuo.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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Published: 03 Jul 2023, 02:45 PM IST
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