SoftBank and University of Tokyo to open business-oriented AI research centers
Japan Times -- Dec 07
SoftBank Corp. and the University of Tokyo have agreed to open artificial-intelligence centers staffed with specialists from the university and around the world, to swiftly turn research into profitable business ventures so Japan can keep up with the U.S. and China.

“If they are stuck with research … their funds and passions will drain away,” SoftBank Group CEO Masayoshi Son said at an event announcing the joint project at the prestigious university.

“By teaming with the University of Tokyo, we want to give students a chance to learn and start a business,” said Son, who has stressed the importance of AI for years.

Under the arrangement, a pair of facilities — one on the university’s Hongo campus in Bunkyo Ward and the other at a planned new SoftBank office in the Takeshiba district — will be established in spring and winter of 2020 at the earliest, respectively, under the brand Beyond AI.

The Hongo base will handle basic research on the evolution of AI and potential ways to apply the technology in physics, robotics, brain science and other fields.

The results will be sent to the Takeshiba base, which will work on advanced research and establishing new businesses.

Some of the enterprises envisioned include autonomous driving and medicine. The profits made from these ventures will be invested into new research and human resources development.

News source: Japan Times
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