News  |  ,   |  February 25, 2020

Advancing AI Ethics in Japan: A Q&A with Dr. Arisa Ema, Professor at University of Tokyo

News article by Dongwoo Kim. Published by the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada.


Dr. Arisa Ema is a Project Assistant Professor at the University of Tokyo and a Visiting Researcher at RIKEN Center for Advanced Intelligence Project in Japan. She is an academic in the field of Science and Technology Studies (STS) with a focus on artificial intelligence (AI) ethics and governance. She leads and participates in various initiatives in Japan and abroad, working to ensure responsible use of AI that is inclusive and beneficial for all.

Q1. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

Besides my academic work, I am involved in various AI ethics and policy initiatives. I am a board member of the Japan Deep Learning Association (JDLA), chairing the JDLA Public Affairs Committee, and also a member of the Ethics Committee of the Japanese Society for Artificial Intelligence (JSAI), which released the JSAI Ethical Guidelines in 2017.

The ethics committee was established after JSAI’s journal cover design evoked controversy on gender issues in 2014. Prompted by this incident, my colleagues and I established an interdisciplinary group called Acceptable Intelligence with Responsibility (AIR) to discuss emerging issues on AI and society. As an international group, AIR wrote a technology assessment report for the National Diet (Japan’s Parliament) Library, providing research on AI for legislative affairs. Currently, I’m organizing a medical AI seminar with my colleagues and promoting international collaborations on AI governance and ethics. And there are many other initiatives in which I am participating. Also, my recent book introduces how various stakeholders talk about AI in their own words.