Japan trials AI for parliament use

It can help officials draft responses and answer policy-making queries.

The Japanese Government is trialing artificial intelligence to help officials draft responses submitted to the parliament. The tech would help officials draft responses used in policy-making, by mining past opinions on policy issues and alternative suggestions voiced out by officials during parliament, according to the Yomiuri Shimbun. The government will first feed five years worth of parliament agenda summaries to the system before it churns out responses, it continued. Based on trial results, Tokyo will then expand the use of AI in other branches of government, it said. The government has launched a broad plan to use AI and robotics across public services. Called "Society 5.0", the government envisions using “science and technology [to] play even more key roles in tackling challenges like ageing, sluggish productivity growth and enhancing [the] wellbeing of humans”, said Shinzo Abe, Japanese Prime Minister at the Science and Technology in Society forum in October. The “technologies of sensing, robotics, communication, big data and cloud computing all merge to solve the problems previously deemed unsolvable”, he continued. Japan’s health ministry is also studying the use of AI to speed up its drug discovery process, setting aside an initial US$3.1m (¥350m) in 2017. The tech will mine local and international foreign research papers and databases on new drugs that fit for various medical conditions, which can be accessed by the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development, the Riken research institute, and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology.