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Two top Japan companies on AI: ‘Worst-case scenario social order could collapse’


Japan’s largest telecommunications company and the country’s biggest newspaper said that there is a need for speedy legislation to restrain artificial intelligence as democracy and social order could collapse if AI is left unchecked. In an AI manifesto, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) and Yomiuri Shimbun Group Holdings made the proposal as they raised concerns among American allies about AI programs which US companies are developing.

The companies said that AI tools have already begun to damage human dignity as they are sometimes designed to seize users’ attention without attention to morals or accuracy.

What the companies said on AI tools?

The companies said that AI tools have already begun to damage human dignity as they are sometimes designed to seize users’ attention without attention to morals or accuracy. The manifesto said that unless AI is restrained “in the worst-case scenario, democracy and social order could collapse, resulting in wars.”

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Japan should take measures immediately in response, including laws to protect elections and national security from AI, it said. This comes amid a global push to regulate AI as European Union’s new law calls on makers of AI models to put them through safety evaluations and notify regulators of serious incidents as well. 

The Japanese companies also said that their manifesto was motivated by concern over public discourse. The companies also emphasized that their executives have been examining the impact of generative AI since last year. The study group is guided by Keio University researchers, they said.

The Yomiuri editorial in December noted the rush of new AI products coming from US tech companies and noted, “AI models could teach people how to make weapons or spread discriminatory ideas” citing risks from sophisticated fake videos that show politicians speaking.

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