Guidelines  |  ,   |  June 15, 2019

Japan’s Social Principles of Human-Centric AI

Guidelines released by the Japanese Council for Social Principles of Human-centric AI, The Cabinet Office. 15 pages.


Our modern society faces many challenges that endanger the survival of humankind such as global environmental problems, growing economic disparity, and the depletion of resources. Japan is the first country to tackle many social issues confronting a mature society, such as the declining birthrate and aging population, labor shortage, rural depopulation, and increased fiscal spending. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is considered a key technology to rescue society from these problems, to address the goals set forth in the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and to build a sustainable world.

Japan, with the establishment of Society 5.01, whose purpose is to address social issues and economic development using AI, aims to revitalize its society and economy, to be an internationally attractive society, and to contribute to the SDGs on a global scale. Similar to many other types of science and technology, AI will bring many great benefits to society, but its large impact on society calls for appropriate development and implementation. In order to avoid or reduce the negative aspects in advance while making effective use of AI to benefit society, we should promote, together with the continued research and development (R&D) of technologies related to AI, a transformation into an “AI-Ready Society” where AI can be used effectively and safely. We need to redesign society in every way including Japan’s human potential, social systems, industrial structures, innovation systems, and governance. [ . . . ]

Basic Philosophy

AI is expected to contribute significantly to the realization of Society 5.0. We consider AI important not only to return the benefits obtained from the efficiency and convenience of using AI to people and society, but also to use AI for the public good of humanity as a whole, and to ensure global sustainability outlined in the SDGs through qualitative changes in social conditions and true innovation.

We believe we should respect the following three values as our philosophy and build a society that pursues their realization.

  1. Dignity: A society that has respect for human dignity
    • We should not build a society where humans are overly dependent on AI or where AI is used to control human behavior through the excessive pursuit of efficiency and convenience. We need to construct a society where human dignity is respected and, by using AI as a tool, a society where people can better demonstrate their various human abilities, show greater creativity, engage in challenging work, and live richer lives both physically and mentally.
  2. Diversity & Inclusion: A society where people with diverse backgrounds can pursue
    their own well-being
    • It is both an ideal in the modern world and a major challenge to create a society in which people with diverse backgrounds, values and ways of thinking can pursue their own well-being while society creates new value by flexibly embracing them. AI is a technology powerful enough to bring us closer to this ideal. We need to change the nature of society in this way through the appropriate development and deployment of AI.
  3. Sustainability: A sustainable society
    • We need to use AI to create a succession of new businesses and solutions, resolve social disparities, and develop a sustainable society that can deal with issues such as global environmental problems and climate change. Japan, as a leading science and technology oriented country, has an obligation to strengthen its accumulated scientific and technological resources by utilizing AI and thereby contributing to the creation of such a sustainable society.

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1Society 5.0 is the future society that Japan aims for, following the Information Society (Society 4.0). A society that realizes Society 5.0 is a sustainable human-centric society that implements AI, IoT (Internet of Things), robotics and other cutting-edge technologies to create unprecedented value, and a wide range of people can realize their own well-being while respecting the well-being of others.