Toshie Takahashi, Professor, Institute of AI and Robotics, Waseda University, Tokyo

Toshie Takahashi is a Professor in the School of Culture, Media and Society as well as the Institute for AI and Robotics, Waseda University, Tokyo.  

Podcast

Overview

Technology has made it possible for us to connect with the whole world in a matter of seconds. What was unthinkable a few generations ago is now very much reality all thanks to the new technology. One of the latest technologies that are undergoing intense study and research in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. Many scholars have predicted that robots will take over the world in the not-so-distant future. While these are just conjectures, The Brand Called You looks into the bright side of this new technology with our guest Toshie Takahashi in this episode. 

Toshie is a professor in the School of Culture, Media, and Society as well as the Institute for AI and Robotics, Waseda University, Tokyo. She is also a Faculty Associate at Harvard as well as an Associate Fellow at the University of Cambridge. She talks to us about the good AI can bring for humanity. She combines her experience of cultural studies with technology and helps transform the technology according to a human-first approach in spite of the technology-first approach.

Future of Robots and AI 

Toshie talks about the future of AI and robots in the near future. A few possible uses of AI according to her are the help of older humans in walking, doing dishes, taking the trash out, etc. She talks about how robots can also be used in the place of a salesperson. She researches and works in the field of making AI more appropriate for human beings, keeping in mind the humans first. She opines that the future is uncertain when it comes to AI but she wishes to use it for the good of humanity. 

How can this technology be misused? 

“We must have human wisdom to live in the digital age.”

Toshie talks to us about the use of Artificial Intelligence in fields like diversity and inclusion. She wishes to train AI in such a way that it is embracing all human beings equally and is not discriminating against any human being. She talks about how a biased data input can lead to the machine making a biased decision which is dangerous for humankind. She gives us a classic example of what could go wrong if the AI is biased-

“Especially like a minority, they don’t have so much data from minority, or women, or maybe the global south. If most data came from caucasian and maybe rich people then if they don’t have data from like colored or you know Asian then if we want to apply some job, then maybe AI suggests, oh you know, Toshie is not good, you know because they don’t have enough data. Maybe she’s uh Asian and woman and she’s not good.”

Tune in and find out if terminator movies can be our reality in the near future where machines become the rulers of our world.

Profile

Toshie Takahashi is a Professor in the School of Culture, Media and Society as well as the Institute for AI and Robotics, Waseda University, Tokyo.   She has been appointed as a Faculty Associate of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University as well as an Associate Fellow of the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence, the University of Cambridge.

She has held visiting appointments at the University of Oxford and Columbia University.  

She conducts cross-cultural and trans-disciplinary research on the social impact of robots as well as the potential of AI for Good.  She is currently involved in “Moonshot R&D projects” (PD: Toshio Fukuda, President of IEEE) by leading the Gen ZAI project, engaging youths now for a global AI future.  In this project, she will conduct cross-cultural research with 10000 young people in terms of AI in collaboration with Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center, both CSER (the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk) and CFI (Leverhulme Center for the Future of Intelligence) at the University of Cambridge, and the Stanford Social Media Lab.

Her book, entitled “Towards the age of Digital Wisdom” (2016, Shinnyosha, in Japanese), which is based on the collaborative project on “Young People and Digital Media” with the University of Oxford and Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center, won the first prize for the Telecommunication social science award.  

Finally, Takahashi is a member of the Information and Communication Council, Ministry of the Internal Affairs and Communications, Japan and sits on the technology advisory committee of The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games 2020.

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