Tag Archives: AI

NEST2017 – part 2


Below are mentioned some notes that I took during the second day following the first day.

Ride-sharing, car-sharing and autonomous cars related session:

  • 85% of cars are not used

  • Middle east GDP: 3 trillions USD

  • Getaround: rent your car to people

    • 6 billions unused cars everyday in the world

    • Their mission: solve the car overpopulation issue

    • San francisco: plenty of cars at every block

    • Smartphone: key to your car

    • Available in 12 cities

    • 3 problems:   hardware device, insurance, new behavior


    • The AI computing company

    • Tesla says a full self-driving car will show up very soon

    • Prediction: 150 millions autonomous cars by 2025

    • They are making cars that learn human driving behavior

    • There is a lack of AI engineers in Japan

  • Cabify and Careem

    • Different markets: different labor cost

    • 70% of taxi cost is driver salary: in the middle east it is only 20%

    • Dubai is quite advanced and quite eager: by 2025 Dubai wants to get to a point where 25% of cars are autonomous

  • Questions from the audience

    • What happens to the car industry when self-driving cars appear? → coexistence and retrofitting from non AI to AI


Koizumi Junichiro’s speech:

  • On nuclear power and nuclear waste processing and neutralization

  • “Genpatsu Zero!” (Zero nuclear plants!)

  • Now Japan has only 3 nuclear plants

  • Natural energy such as wind and solar provide more than 30% of the whole electricity consumption in Japan and nuclear energy is only below 2%

  • Over the past few years “Genpatsu Zero” has been proven right

  • 100% security is not possible

  • He really respects Ozaki Yukio


Yoshiki’s session:

  • Art of life

  • Life is ephemere: his father died suddenly where he was only a child

  • Any dream can come true if you set the corresponding goal

  • He learns English 5h per day

  • Cool japan: being Japanese has become cool

  • You do not ride the waves, you create them

  • You just need to remove the negative thoughts

  • There are songs creation patterns

  • AI cannot create recklessness


Tom Kelley’s session:

  • Design thinking

  • Empathy

  • Ideo

  • Start with the need

  • Treat life as an experiment

  • Do more experiments to be a successful entrepreneur

  • Leverage the power of storytelling, put it short:

    • Ex: Steve Jobs on the first ipod: a thousand songs in your pocket

Drones’ session:

  • Airmap

    • Airmap is making drones part of everyday life

    • Partnership with Rakuten (Rakuten Sora)

  • Rapyuta Robotics:

    • Accelerate the accessibility of drones for users

    • Create a drones data management platform

  • Yuneec: aviation technology

  • Geofencing, drone air traffic control

  • The Japanese government is actually very helpful in building regulations for drones

  • The sky is the limit: let us work together

  • Autonomous flying is the future

  • There will be  2 drone licenses: autonomic and non automatic drones respective licenses


AI panel:

  • Jay Bellissimo of IBM’s Watson

    • Data is doubled every 3 years

    • Unstructured data is massive

    • Leverage data to make decision

    • IBM: 300,000 employees in the world

    • The best tool for recruiting: to have a great mission

  • Yutaka Matsuo of Tokyo University

    • Deep learning

      • 5.2%: human error rate

      • 3.1%: machine erro rate

      • Deep learning + reinforcement learning

    • Machines Cambrian explosion

    • Japan is in a very good position because they are very good at building physical robots and machines

    • At the same time the population is shrinking: AI can play a crucial role to solve the problem

    • Deep learning is becoming a commodity

    • Life is different from intelligence. Intelligence is just a tool

    • Monozukuri has a lot of potential combined with deep learning. Japanese people should learn a lot about deep learning.

    • AI should be a great opportunity for Japan to regain traction after those lost 20 years

  • Masaya Mori of Rakuten Institute of Technology

    • Delivery drones with AI

    • Using AI to find hidden human needs and interesting correlations for marketing

    • Separation: collaboration between AI and humans: humans are great at creating new frameworks

    • The role of Humans is to create startups


Closing session:

  • Mikitani: transportation is undergoing an IT revolution: from ownership to services

  • Very soon around 30% of all houses will be vacant

We attended the New Context Conference 2016


I recently attended the New Context Conference 2016 organized by Digital Garage on July 5th and July 6th.

The official Web site is: http://ncc.garage.co.jp/en/

It was divided in 2 parts. The first day was about “Blockchain” and the second day about “AI”.

As you may already know, my company, Descartes Search, LLC, has 2 specific recruitment services dedicated specifically to “Blockchain” and “AI”.

The former is named Satoshi’s collar™, the latter Turing’s collar™ .

This was the first time for us to attend the conference but this year’s themes were, I have to say, perfectly matching our fields of expertise :)

I decided to attend only the second day but I had the opportunity to attend the dinner party on the first day.

My overall impression can be described as follows:

- the level of the talks was quite high

-a lot of people are intrigued by “blockchain” but even after attending the first day they have generally no idea about why they should adopt it over a standard database system

- AI is being deployed to many many industries so it is quite clear it is becoming the next platform as I mentioned here based on what Andy Rubin said at NEST 2016

- Some entrepreneurs believe that the technological singularity is near, some believe it is still very far away

In any case, each speaker’s talk was very interesting.


I would like to share with you the notes I took, as follows:


- Hiroaki Kitano, President & CEO, Director of Research, Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc.

  • It is impossible to read every scientific paper that is released every day (there are 4100 papers published each day)


- Joshua Lachter, Vice President of Strategic Growth, ASAPP, Inc

  • Facebook has 7 trillions pics


- Kazutaka Yonekura, CEO, al+

  • One of the mission of our company is to create an AI that can fall in love


- Joi Ito on the differences between the US and Japan

  • Japan is very strong at creating cute AI agents that people can get attached to
  • the US is very strong at designing AI algos
  • The key is to find what context to feed into the computers in order to yield creativity
  • The future of AI is in the combination of what machines are good at with what Humans are good at


- Alex “Sandy” Pentland Professor, Director, MIT Media Lab Connection Science and Human Dynamics Labs

  • Hedge funds: Humans are still much better than AI
  • AI is good at optimization
  • Humans are good at managing other people
  • The future of AI is in networked intelligence


- Yuki Shimahara, Founder & CEO, LPixel Inc.

  • Between 2005 and 2012, the number of images used for medical examination has been multiplied by 1.7
  • Japan has the highest number of cancer images in the world
  • Organs are becoming industrial products
  • The 21st century will be the century of life science
  • The combination of AI and life science will yield a new health care industy


- Koichi Nakamura, Founder & CEO, Idein Inc.

  • Our company is about designing intelligent sensor devices using pattern recognition and active learning
  • We use low-end sensors and low-end embedded computers
  • Training requires more time than prediction
  • It is possible to do deep learning in embedded devices


- Panel discussion moderated by Hiroaki Kitano

  • Go Challenge (Google) is using deep learning, reinforcement learning and Monte Carlo
  • In the near future, the combination of active learning and deep learning will increase
  • In the near future, there will be an increase of the interaction between Humans and AI (ex: health care industry)
  • Japan can be the leader in the field of AI applied to the health care industry


- Ichiro Otobe, Director of Operation & Member of the Board, ZMP Inc.

  • “Robot of everything”
  • Our secret sauce is in the weightings
  • Our autonomous car driving on a normal country road is the first of its kind in the world


- Panel discussion whose moderator is Joi Ito

  • “Human in the loop”


- Takeshi Fukuda, Director IBM Research, IBM Japan

  • We are now in a cognitive era with the rise of cognitive computing and neuromorphic computing


- Motoaki Saito, CEO, PEZY Computing

  • “I would like to cause a pre-singularity”
  • Not so far away in the future, we will have energy and food for free. Also, we will have access to anti-aging technology and we will not need money any more
  • The next generation of AI tech is AI algorithms combined with super computers
  • We will have soon 1000 times more powerful AI than now, an AI that will be able to raise assumptions, verify assumptions and create concepts
  • We will create soon a super computer that has 100 peta flops
  • We will create soon a very powerful AI computing platform with a 1000 times more powerful AI engine and a 1000 times more powerful computing power


- Ryota Kanai, Founder & CEO, ARAYA Brain Imaging

  • Our goal is to create consciousness


- Panel discussion moderated by Joi Ito

  • “The world is going to be run by algorithms”
  • “Some countries are going to have different cultural problems regarding AI”
  • “Humans are very good at causing problems”

There will be a huge demand for AI engineers very soon

Andy rubin

I attended NEST 2016, the New Economy Summit 2016, last week on the 7th and 8th of April, 2016.

The list of speakers can be found here.

NEST stands for Next Economy Summit Tokyo/Technology .

It was a very fruitful, instructive and entertaining summit.

Here, I would like to quote the statements from the speakers that left an impression on me.

Disclaimer: it is not the exact quote but I hope I got the right meaning of each statement.


Katsujin David Chao of DCM:

  • “The combination of AI and IoT is going to be very interesting.”

  • “Japan has been the biggest investor to India.”

  • On startups: “The window of opportunity for success has been shortened. That is why you need to raise much more quickly and a lot.“


Peter Bell of Highland Capital Partners:

  • On the sharing economy 1: “Incredible experience for the consumer.

  • On the sharing economy 2: “Ownership is not that important for teenagers.”


Sumant Mandal of March Capital Partners/Clearstone Venture Partners:

  • “The VC industry needs to be disrupted.”

  • Recommendation for entrepreneurs: “Do not listen to anybody.”


Taavi Rõivas, Prime Minister of Estonia:

  • On his own government: “We have zero bureaucracy.”

  • “People are the big brothers of the government.”

  • “The key for the future: to enable it”


Chris Anderson of 3D Robotics :

  • “Drones are the Internet of Things.”

  • “Drones are connected to the cloud.”

  • “Drones are the best way to manage the planet.”

  • “Japan’ strengths are cars, sensors, mechatronics.”


Shigenobu Kobayashi of Rakuten SmartPay:

  • On the credit card use: “Japan 18% compared to USA 50%.”


Katsuaki Sato of Metaps:

  • “We want to be the world’s brain.”


Yosuke Tsuji of Money Forward:

  • On virtual currencies: “The means for exchanging goods and services will be diversified.”


Daisuke Sasaki of Freee:

  • “Small businesses will become strong.”


James Gutierrez of Insikt:

  • On being an entrepreneur: “Every day you get bad news and you step back and you improve things and you pivot.”

  • “Brands are going to become the new banks.”


Ernestine Fu of Alsop Louie Partners:

  • On the opportunities of a messaging platform: “Food delivery, messaging, financial transactions, transportation can be offered by a messaging platform.”

  • Advice for being an entrepreneur:”Find your passion, get a good mentor, go for it, do not be afraid of failing.”


Peter Vesterbacka of Rovio Entertainment:

  • About Angry Birds’ original goal of getting 100 million downloads: “It was impossible but in fact it is easy.”

  • Advice for being an entrepreneur:”You do not think it is impossible. You have to believe in what you do.”


Andy Rubin of Playground Global:

  • About Playground Global: “Ideo + VC”

  • About the next computing platform over the next 10~15 years: AI

  • “In the future, engineers will learn how to program and how to train neural networks.”

  • “We no longer have linear programming. We have neural networks.”

  • “In 20 years, everyone will be a teacher.” (of neural networks)


Susumu Fujita of Cyber Agent:

  • “There is a surplus of money in Tokyo.”

  • “You need experience and know-how about how to move people in order to build a startup.

  • “What prevents the increase of startups in Japan is the low number of M&A. IPOs should not be the only possible exits.”


Yasukane Matsumoto of Raksul:

  • “There are only 1000 startups in Japan per year with 100 VCs. It is 100 times easier to raise funds in Japan than in India.”

  • “Innovation should not be an operations related problem solved by big corporations but it should be a technology issue only.”


Yoshikazu Tanaka of Gree:

  • “In Japan, the body of regulations prevents things like Uber for example.”

  • “In the US, first you do and then we tell you that you cannot do certain things. In Japan, first we tell you not to do things. If it is allowed, then you can start doing.”


Logan Green of Lyft:

  • “Our mission: to connect people with better transportation.”

  • “Transportation as a service.”

  • “A lot of jobs face automation.”

  • “Taxi sharing has created 100,000 jobs in the US.”

  • “Car sharing will cause a massive reshaping of cities.”

  • “General Motors provide the cars and the AI software. We provide the network.”

  • On the upcoming Tokyo Olympics: “There is gonna be a big surge for taxi needs.”

  • “Happy drivers → happy passengers.”

  • “Future is gonna be awesome.”


Juan de Antonia of Cabify:

  • “We need to be very collaborative with the regulators.”


Hiroshi Mikitani of Rakuten:

  • “There is the first mover advantage but I think there is also what I call the developed countries disadvantage.”

  • “Engineers are lacking in Japan.”

  • “There are only 20k Computer Science graduates per year in Japan.”

  • “Japan needs to get human resources from overseas.”

  • “Japan needs to reform regulations.”

  • “Japan has money and technology.”


From these quotes that made an impression on me, the following thoughts occurred to me:

  • Recruiting is as important as raising funds for a startup.

  • A startup needs to recruit the engineers that will be creating the next standards.

  • A startup needs to recruit engineers that can write bug-free code.

  • AI engineers, machine learning engineers and data scientists will be more and more crucial in the near future.

  • Combining smartphone, cloud and AI in a secure way is going to generate a lot of innovation and productivity gain for Humanity.


Overall, I think that Descartes Search, LLC, has a big role to play in this context and will definitively contribute to the creation of the next platform, the AI platform, by basically providing high class AI engineers, data scientists, machine learning engineers, data mining engineer or any engineer that can learn fast about how to train neural networks.

Especially not only we can help bring the high class engineers that can innovate and produce value for startups in Japan because we can communicate well with the engineers and assess their level based on our background in engineering and computer science, we can also bring the foreigners to Japanese startups, the ones that will be working more cost-effectively when Japanese engineers are lacking.

Japan has money and technology.

Descartes Search, LLC brings the right engineers to the right companies to Japanese startups.Finally, Descartes Search, LLC deals already with data scientist positions or machine learning/data mining engineering related positions.

For example:


Please do not hesitate to visit our home page and our list of hot job opportunities that are centered around Tokyo and software engineering jobs if you happen to be looking for a job right now.