The Japan News Daisuke Ichikawa reports, "Artificial intelligence, which has often been called the technology of
the future, has become something we use in our daily lives."
With the spread of the Internet, it has become easy to collect electronic information about many things such as people's opinions and behaviour, and corporations' performance. This is commonly referred to as "big data," and the technology to apply such data to various fields is being developed.
Many electronics manufacturers see this as an opportunity, but some point out that overseas manufacturers, particularly in the West, are leading the field. Therefore, Japanese electronics manufacturers will have to play catch-up.
At a conference held in Tokyo on Nov. 18, NTT Comware Corp. demonstrated a piece of AI voice-control technology in a cell phone that automatically coordinates schedules based on what the user says. Next summer, NTT Communications Corp. will release technology that understands spoken language, with plans to sell it for use at places including call centres.
Both the West and Japan have heavily invested in AI since the 1950s, but the technology long struggled to move beyond its status as the "technology of the future" due to computational limitations.
Today, the troves of information created through widespread use of the Internet as well as massive improvements in computational capability have allowed for practical applications of AI in various areas.
Ernst & Young Institute Co. has estimated that the Japanese market for AI business will grow from JPY 3.7 trillion (about $30.1 billion or roughly Rs. 2,00,332 crores) in 2015 to JPY 23 trillion or more in 2020.
Businesses hope this technology will allow them to cut costs and determine optimal sales strategies using massive amounts of customer data. For consumers, it is believed the technology will be used in household robots that can express emotions and self-driving cars with high safety standards.