SoftBank and The University of Tokyo teamed on a project to boost development of AI in Japan, establishing a research institute in the nation’s capital city to study the impact of the technology on industry and society.
Under a partnership agreement, the pair will establish the Beyond AI Institute. In a statement, SoftBank explained this would bring “top-level researchers from the University of Tokyo and leading universities abroad” together, to “conduct fundamental research for key AI technology” while also tapping relevant research from other academic fields.
The institute will predominantly focus on areas including healthcare, manufacturing, and public works and social infrastructure.
SoftBank stated the partnership was made possible by a Japanese initiative designed to accelerate collaborations between academia and businesses: “Using this system will create an ecosystem where it will be possible to quickly envision commercialisation through joint ventures at the research stage and invest returns from business ventures into future research activities”.
The conglomerate explained the collaboration would contribute to research which would “lead Japan’s AI revolution”.
Fundamental research will be undertaken in the university’s Hongo Campus, while the facility for applied research will be established at the future SoftBank headquarters in Takeshiba, expected to open during the fiscal year ending 31 March 2021.
To set up the AI research institute, SoftBank will spend JPY20 billion ($184 million) over ten years, South China Morning Post reported.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back