Books  |    |  February 20, 2019

AI shakai no arukikata (A traveler’s guide to the AI society)

Book by Arisa Ema.
Published by Kagaku-Dojin Publishing.
Language: Japanese.
272 pages.

As of 2019, not a single day passes without us coming across the term Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI is used in a variety of contexts, including research, marketing, philosophy, and science fiction. What is AI? How should we deal with AI?
In the Introduction, I stated that I would not uniquely define AI. The concept and existence of AI extends beyond the fields of medicine, agriculture, finance, and services. In addition, the knowledge of various stakeholders, including engineers, policymakers, NPOs, industries, and researchers of the social sciences and humanities, is required to consider its utilization. Concepts and objects used across a vast array of stakeholders connect people from different disciplines. Everyone can talk about AI in their own words. Talking about AI is talking about societies. Utopia, which is expected, and dystopia, which might be too real, reveal the aspirations and concerns of these talking individuals and communities.
The research field of STS (there are two abbreviations: Science and Technology Studies; and Science, Technology and Society), which I specialize in, has the aspect of “Studies,” which points out issues in science, technology, and society, as well as the aspect of “Interacting with Society,” which considers countermeasures against issues. The important thing is to avoid getting into a fine definition-related debate and sort out what each group expects by and perceives as challenges in using the term AI, creating a community and people that act as a boundary-spanner to bridge among the different groups.
This book introduces the expectations and challenges of each field and community: AI technology challenges by engineers (chap. 1), Science and technology policy on AI (chap. 2), Business and social applications and impacts of AI (chap. 3), Philosophical, ethical and legal perspectives (chap. 4). Each community is not fragmented but related. Therefore, between chapters, a short story of a group travelling through their communities is included. The last chapter concludes by mentioning the possibilities and challenges of the people themselves who act as a boundary-spanner that bridges among the various fields.
As described in the Afterword, this book can be named “AI community infiltration record: 2014-2018.” As someone who both “studies” and “bridges” the AI community, I was deeply involved in AI academic societies, industry associations, and science and technology policies in the process of “infiltration.” Researchers need to be aware that they are bound by certain values and common sense. Therefore, chapter 5 describes my position as objectively as possible, and one of the features of STS is to look back critically and reflectively on one’s position and interests.

Table of Contents


  • The book’s point of view: STS, a field of study/Introduction of key concepts/Structure of the book/About short story
  • Short Story: Prologue

1. What Can Artificial Intelligence Do?

  • The types of artificial intelligence research
    • Rules and knowledge-based AI/ Probability and statistics-based AI/ Self-learning AI/ Trial and error-based AI/AI used in combination/AI as “technology yet to be seen”
    • Short Story: If it’s not DL, it’s not AI
  • Technical challenges
    • Pre-technology challenges/Fairness and Bias/Accountability, Transparency and Trust/Malicious Attacks/Beneficial AI Research
    • Short Story: AI mind
  • “Technology yet to be seen” and the dreams of researchers
    • The Path to General Artificial Intelligence/The Feasibility of Artificial Intelligence to Compete with Humans/Intelligence Unseen by Humans/Not Too Late Discussions
    • The Age of Artificial Intelligence Winter
    • Short Story: After one night

2. The values related to AI

  • AI as a catalyst for innovation
    • Awareness of crisis in Japan/Issues related to investment strategy/Issues related to industrial structure/Issues related to human resource development/Ethical issues
    • Short Story: Start and go to the capital
  • Outline of points of dispute concerning “AI and ethics”
    • Research(ers) ethics/AI ethics/Ethical AI
    • Feasibility of AI Ethics and Ethical AI
    • Short Story: At the capital
  • Shifting discussions from WHAT to HOW
    • Academic toolkits/Industry best practices/AI governance/Japanese challenges
    • Short Story: To the West

3. AI in society

  • Users and non-users concerned with the practical application of AI technology
    • Users and non-users/Blurring of barriers between stakeholders
    • Short Story: Rabbit shop
  • Work and technology
    • Are we going to lose our jobs? / Works are not taken, it’s a creative rearrangement of tasks
    • Task Separation Workshop
    • Short Story: Mouse Tasks
  • Working styles and roles of experts
    • Efficiency through mechanization/Fear of efficiency/Creation of new value/Skillful use of time/Barriers in transition
    • Short Story: Guard

4. When AI immerse to societies

  • A glance at the basic human rights
    • Stack and challenge existing systems/ Rules to protect others and oneself/Non-users and technology/Use data while protecting it
    • AI and Inclusion Symposium in Brazil
    • Short Story: Critical Thinking
  • Ethical/Moral machines
    • Human being as black box /Reward Function and machines without common sense/ Trolley problem as Thought Experiment/Ethical Dilemma: Can AI have Emotion?
    • Welcomes AI as a member of society
    • Short Story: One must not do it
  • Prohibited, not considered as risk
    • Lethal autonomous weapons systems/AI to improve performance/Man-machine fusion
    • Short Story: Experiments

5. How to deal with AI

  • As STS researchers and practitioners
    • Insider outsiders/Bridging stakeholders/People who create a community where they can set fire with peace of mind
    • Thinking About Dystopia: Project Emerg
    • Short Story: Reveal
  • A discordant argument
    • Again, “What is AI?”/Different concepts among disciplines/Mismatch on needs and seeds/ Differences in expertise, values and context/Rhetoric told as “Risk”
    • Short Story: New Wind
  • To the next step
    • Reviewing and connecting each chapter/Discussion platform/Next steps
    • Short Story: Epilogue: End of the Beginning


About the Author

Arisa Ema is an Associate Professor at the University of Tokyo and Visiting Researcher at RIKEN Center for Advanced Intelligence Project in Japan and Research Support Advisor at AIST Department of Information Technology and Human Factors. She is a researcher in Science and Technology Studies (STS), and her primary interest is to investigate the benefits and risks of artificial intelligence by organizing an interdisciplinary research group. She is a co-founder of Acceptable Intelligence with Responsibility Study Group (AIR) established in 2014, which seeks to address emerging issues and relationships between artificial intelligence and society. She is a member of the Ethics Committee of the Japanese Society for Artificial Intelligence (JSAI), which released the JSAI Ethical Guidelines in 2017. She was also a member of the Council for Social Principles of Human-centric AI, The Cabinet Office, which released “Social Principles of Human-Centric AI” in 2019.