Japan's AI Choice

Japan's AI Choice

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  • Masayoshi Son, the billionaire founder of SoftBank Group Corp., passionately urged a Japanese audience to embrace artificial intelligence during his first public appearance in several months. Speaking at SoftBank World, an annual event for the company's domestic corporate clients, Son stressed that Japan, which missed out on the initial internet boom, cannot afford to miss another three decades of technological advancement. He noted that over 70 percent of Japanese companies are either banning or considering banning the use of generative AI, expressing his frustration with this trend by gesturing animatedly.
  • Son had kept a low profile this year following what he described as a crisis of confidence due to mounting losses at SoftBank's flagship Vision Fund. However, the renewed interest in AI, partly fueled by the success of OpenAI's ChatGPT and the recent IPO of chip designer Arm Holdings Plc, seems to have revitalized his optimism. Despite the Vision Fund's losses of over $30 billion in the last fiscal year, SoftBank, with over $40 billion in cash reserves, is now gearing up for a more aggressive stance, according to company executives.

Why it matters

Son predicts that within ten years, AI will amass knowledge equivalent to ten times that possessed by all of humanity. Son highlighted SoftBank's commitment to AI, mentioning that SoftBank Corp., Japan's third-largest wireless carrier, has partnered with Microsoft Corp. to promote OpenAI services in Japan and is developing its own Japanese-language chatbot.


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