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Interview Series: Gen Z Meets AI #1

Nice to meet you! I’m Mei, a seminar student of Prof. Toshie Takahashi, Faculty of Culture, Media and Society, Waseda University. Our seminar group is now launching a series of AI interviews with members of  Generation Z. Please have a look and let’s think about AI together!

~ The world you want to create with AI x music ~

Sho-kun (pseudonym) majors in audio signal processing at the Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Informatics, at a famous university. I interviewed him, a specialist in AI technology, about his vision of an AI society in 2050. I would like to introduce his way of thinking about AI and its potential uses, as was revealed during the interview. We asked him to imagine how he would live with AI and how he would like to live so as to enjoy life to the full.

“The world you want to create using AI”

When I asked him about his ideal society in 2050 and how he saw himself living in such an environment, he told me that there was a world he wanted to create using AI technology. “I want to create a world where people can easily enjoy music!” Sho-kun loves the piano and says that it is his number one hobby. He says: “I feel that obstacles preventing people from playing and composing are becoming more difficult to overcome, so I want to lower those hurdles and create a world where everyone can become the creators and performers. My dream for the future is to build my own home and create a soundproof room where the piano can be played 24 hours a day. I want to create a world where I can enjoy my favorite piano more! That’s why I started studying speech processing.”

By the year 2050, his proposed invention may create such a world. People would be able to enjoy a light performance whilst listening to a song, and players would be able to play the piano wearing AR goggles which you could program to produce beautiful effects. He hopes that an interesting world of piano performance and various enhancements will be possible in the future.

“What is the difference between AI and robots?”

I think everyone has asked themselves this question at some point. This is what Sho-kun had to say about this intriguing subject. He defined the difference between AI and robots as follows: “AI = something that can be differentiated, robot = something else that cannot be differentiated”. It is an answer unique to those who are learning about AI from a technical point of view, but it was a little difficult for me to understand because I do not have specialized knowledge!

Sho-kun explains his idea as follows: “AI = When you open the lid, it is differentiated inside. If you get something different from the ideal answer that you are expecting, there is an error, and that error can be written as a function. The error is minimized. The theory of differentiating and searching for a certain point is the origin of AI. “On the contrary, things that look like AI but take the form of robots = things that do not use differentiation. Things that do not use differentiation to minimize errors are not AI.” Let’s clarify this a little further. For example, a bread machine robot will bake when the temperature reaches X degrees. If the temperature reaches Y degrees, that means it is time to cool down! The technology functions in response to simple instructions. It is equivalent to a robot because there is no error in the existing operation instructions and no differentiation is required.” This is how Sho-kun sees the difference between AI and robots.

The above diagram is the ideal robot as envisaged by Sho-kun! It is a practical design which can be easily recognized as a robot because it has a certain form. He wanted it to exist as something that would be definitely perceived as a machine. After all, he maintains that it is a little creepy to make machines that resemble humans or animals. It’s an image of something that could exist peaceably alongside a family. This robot does not give the impression of being too brash or intrusive. It seems to exist as an acceptable part of daily life, ideal for our society.

“Living with AI”

Sho-kun expects to see a deeper integration of AI and robots into our society by the year 2050. I put it to him that the area most affected by this would be labor. He replied: “I think it’s okay to replace all the simplified labor. Depending on the idea, AI × ○○ (combining AI and something) will open up new possibilities, right?” 

Many people predict that AI will affect the number of jobs available to people. However, he said that this loss of employment would be mitigated by the creation of new jobs which would require new employees. He envisages that there will be a new job market catering to a new demand that does not currently exist, and the range of available career options will be expanded. However, a concern related to the emergence of such new occupations is a potential increase in the disparity between rich and poor depending on whether or not individuals have access to technology, and sufficient expertise to use it. We may find ourselves in a society where AI and robots are naturally integrated into everyday life, but there will be a division in how much we can utilize it and whether we can get a job involving the use of that technology. This may lead to social disparities, and it is highly likely that this issue will need to be resolved at that time.

This article ends here! How was it? I hope I can imagine how I would like to be involved with AI in the coming AI society. We look forward to welcoming you back to our next issue! ^ ^