Research & Development Group, Hitachi webinar " Innovation Starting with a Question — Social Transition and AI," was streamed on November 29, 2021. In this feature, we bring you the dialogue between Mr. Kentaro Fujimoto, the President and CEO of D4DR inc. and Hiromitsu Kato from Research & Development Group, Hitachi. Mr. Fujimoto points out that a "Semi-public Area" is an essential factor in the future data utilization space. For Kato, "S3 Architecture" is effective in building a trustworthy social system. In this part, we looked into the meanings of each concept.


[Part 1] What are the real-life examples of data utilization in social systems?
[Part 2] What is a new data utilization space that should be established between the public and the private area?
[Part 3] How should social systems deal with AI and diverse data?

Data utilization space that resembles a traditional Japanese "engawa" porch

Is it really okay for personal data to be used in social systems? This is a controversial issue. As an approach to tackle this issue, I think a new type of data utilization space that can mediate public and private interests will be necessary. Mr. Fujimoto, what do you think?

Mr. Fujimoto
I've been thinking about a data utilization space that is based on the model of an "engawa" (a strip of flooring that represents a filter between the inside and the outside, a typical element of a traditional Japanese house). When someone is sitting on an engawa, they are wearing shoes and their shoes are on the ground. It's a rather gray situation where you can't clearly tell whether the person is inside or outside the house. Due to this, it can generate "unofficial interactions." If you enter from the front door, it becomes an official visit. So you'll need to welcome the visitor. However, as engawa are semi-public spaces, they can generate casual and relaxed interactions.

My hypothesis is that when you apply this concept to the world of data, you can generate an architecture of communication where you can utilize the data in a more flexible manner, by creating a semi-public space between an area of public data utilization and a private one.

画像: Data utilization space that resembles a traditional Japanese "engawa" porch

I think this concept is also effective in the promotion of interactions between companies. With a system that resembles an engawa, different companies can share ideas and data in a casual manner, making it easier to generate open innovation.

Digitally secured "trust and security" of future parks

How can we define an "engawa" from a public point of view?

Mr. Fujimoto
Let's imagine a park in the future. The park is aimed to be used by the local people. What can we do to make it into a safe space for them? For example, we can register all the inhabitants of the community as users in advance. In the park, we can install cameras that recognize them. By doing so, you can feel secure and let small children play there.

Creating a sense of security is the key. We can take measures such as making an alarm go off whenever someone who hasn't registered comes into the park, or set up a gate so only the registered people can enter. But you don't need to go that far, because being able to identify the people in the park will create a sense of security.

I believe we can create a similar digital version of such semi-public spaces.

In other words, various companies come to the "engawa" with their data. And such interactions are visible to the outside world, ensuring secure data utilization. Can there be a real-life example of this in business?

At Kashiwa-no-ha Smart City in Chiba, a project which Hitachi is involved in, AI cameras (*) are being implemented to ensure the safety and security of the local people. If a suspicious person with a knife is roaming around the city for example, the AI cameras detect and report it.

* Cameras with functions including object recognition and motion recognition by image analysis using AI algorithms.

画像: Digitally secured "trust and security" of future parks

There is an initiative to utilize this system in not only crime prevention but also business, by visualizing the bustle of the town from the data based on the flow of people. However, with such data comes privacy concerns. Depending on how it is used, it could be abused. In order to prevent this, there is a study going on at the H-UTokyo Lab. (*1) on how to set the utilization policy of the data collected from the city called the "Habitat Innovation Project (*2)."

* 1 A joint-research project between Hitachi, Ltd. and the University of Tokyo, which was launched in 2016 as a collaborative research space to achieve "Society 5.0," a concept proposed by the Japanese government.
* 2 A citizen-led initiative proposed by H-UTokyo Lab. in order to achieve Society 5.0 within familiar issues.

Mr. Fujimoto
In the future park that I previously mentioned, I think you can achieve recognition with higher accuracy by scoring individuals with a so-called "Trust Score" and enhancing the quality of the data. Needless to say, the Trust Score itself is a controversial issue, so there will be need for thorough discussions. Other than the data that can tell whether the person entering the park is "an inhabitant or not," if it could tell whether that person is "an adult or a minor" for example, the level of authentication accuracy will be higher and the sense of security in using the park will be enhanced too.

However, simply detecting a suspicious person in the train from their behavior, this may be possible with today's technology. In addition to this, you can generate a solid sense of security by creating a membership of railway users like the future park. I think such methodology will attract attention going forward.

"S3 Architecture" that designs social systems from three points of view

Mr. Fujimoto prop%%osed a rather bold idea, but as for the construction of a future social system, in other words architecture in the world of IT, in which direction should we be moving towards?

Hitachi's Social System Research Team proposes a concept called "S3 Architecture." It's a concept of designing social systems from three viewpoints; systems, services, and society. I think there is a similarity between this concept and the story of the engawa which Mr. Fujimoto mentioned.

画像: "S3 Architecture" that designs social systems from three points of view

The first point, "system," is about looking into a physical society or a cyber society called the "Cyber Physical System" from the viewpoint of a system operator. The second, "service," is the view from an innovator who incorporates new technologies into the system. Let's go back to the example of Kashiwa-no-ha Smart City. By installing AI cameras around the city, you can test what kind of problem will occur or what kind of innovation will emerge. It's a form of a sandbox (*). And by setting individual goals for the community that includes inhabitants, you test them in places like an engawa and evaluate them from the viewpoint of a governor. This is the third point, "society."

* A sandbox: Refers to a virtual environment created within a computer.

You set up a social system rule from these three perspectives, and evaluate them based on the data to see if the system is working in accordance with the rule. In the process, you make improvements in the system. This is the type of innovation creation that we are proposing.

Click here for "[Part 3] How should social systems deal with AI and diverse data?"

画像1: Societal Transition and AI - Vol.3: Social Systems Created by Diverse Data
[Part 2] What is a new data utilization space that should be established between the public and the private area?

Kentaro Fujimoto
President and CEO of D4DR inc.

Kentaro Fujimoto joined Nomura Research Institute in 1991. He started his internet consulting business in 1993 and has been working in the field since. Fujimoto launched Japan's first e-business innovation project, Cyber Business Park. In 2002, he took office as the president of the consulting firm, D4DR inc. He has been providing broad consulting services through IT in fields such as innovation, new business development, marketing strategy and more. He took part in the management of various startup projects including PLANTIO, which was selected by the J-Startup project, to promote innovation. He works as a part-time lecturer at the Kanto Gakuin University, College of Interhuman Symbiotic Studies. He is the author of "Business Revolution in the Age of the New Normal" (Nikkei Business Publications, Inc.).

画像2: Societal Transition and AI - Vol.3: Social Systems Created by Diverse Data
[Part 2] What is a new data utilization space that should be established between the public and the private area?

Hiromitsu Kato
Department Manager, Center for Technology Innovation – Societal Systems Engineering
Research & Development Group, Hitachi, Ltd.

Hiromitsu Kato joined Hitachi in 1995. He is being involved in the research and development of the Autonomous Decentralized Systems, Systems Science and Mathematical Optimization, Cybersecurity for Industrial Control Systems and more. Kato promotes the operation monitoring and the control of information and control for water supply systems, automotive industries, railways, etc. and the application of systems technology to new services. In 2012, he participated in the projects including rail traffic management and local energy management in the UK. After returning to Japan, he worked as a department manager of the societal infrastructure systems research. He appointed to his current position in 2019. He has won awards including the IPSJ Yamashita SIG Research Award (1999) and the SICE Technology Award (2000 & 2016). Ph.D.

画像3: Societal Transition and AI - Vol.3: Social Systems Created by Diverse Data
[Part 2] What is a new data utilization space that should be established between the public and the private area?

Yukinobu Maruyama, host
Head of Design, Global Center for Social Innovation – Tokyo, Research & Development Group, Hitachi, Ltd.

After joining Hitachi, Yukinobu Maruyama built his career as a product designer. He was involved in the foundation of Hitachi's Human Interaction Laboratory in 2001 and launched the field of vision design research in 2010 before becoming laboratory manager of the Experience Design Lab's UK Office in 2016. After returning to Japan, he worked in robotics, AI, and digital city service design before being transferred to Hitachi Global Life Solutions, Inc. to promote a vision-driven product development strategy. He is also involved in developing design methodologies and human resource education plans. He took up his current position in 2020.










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