Japan Experts Warn of Generative AI Risks, Urge Preemptive Action

Reuters file photo
OpenAI and ChatGPT logos are seen in this illustration taken in February.

Experts on artificial intelligence expressed a sense of crisis over the growing risks posed by the emergence of generative AI, urging the government to take quick action against possible problems, such as leakage of confidential information and copyright infringement.

The comments are part of a draft by the government’s AI strategy council to compile points of discussion on Japan’s AI policy.

Chaired by University of Tokyo Prof. Yutaka Matsuo, who researches AI, the council was to present the draft during their meeting Friday with relevant government officials.

The draft points out the potential of generative AI, such as ChatGPT, to help solve societal problems, such as labor shortages and low productivity.

“It is very important to take steps to reduce concerns and risks at the same time,” the draft says, calling for the development of a “prudent and bold strategy.”

Specific risks envisaged are listed: leakage of confidential information and inappropriate use of personal information; sophistication and ease of accessibility of criminal activity; social instability and confusion caused by false information; sophistication of cyber-attacks; educational concerns at school; copyright infringement; and unemployment.

Regarding personal information, the draft recognizes that AI “may search, collect and analyze information on specific individuals and output inappropriate information.”

The draft points out that “anyone can create information that is indistinguishable from the real thing” by using generative AI and cautions that “AI has ‘democratized’ the use of disinformation.” It also warns of the possibility of “a large number of copyright infringement cases.”

As for positive aspects, the draft cites generative AI as being useful in areas such as medical care, nursing care, public administration, education, finance and manufacturing.

If domestic companies and organizations are not involved in AI development, the draft warns, there is the risk that the nation’s interests will be damaged, urging the government to take actions that will not become obstacles to such development.