Artificial Intelligence

Fujitsu & Ochanomizu University establish AI ethics research lab

17th March 2023
Kiera Sowery

Fujitsu and Ochanomizu University has announced the establishment of the "Fujitsu-Ochanomizu University Social Collaboration Programme for AI Ethics", a new joint research laboratory to develop AI solutions contributing to the solution of gender equality issues.

The two parties established the new laboratory on March 1, 2023 as part of Fujitsu's "Fujitsu Small Research Lab" programme and Ochanomizu University's Social Collaboration Programme, one of the University's industry-academia collaboration programmes.

Ochanomizu University in April 2022 established the Institute for Gendered Innovations to promote research, innovation, and social communication based on gender perspectives, strengthening its track record in research on gender equality issues.

Based on its expertise in trustworthy and ethical AI, Fujitsu developed technology to mitigate intersectional bias to prevent AI from discriminating against different groups due to bias in learning data.

Within the new joint research program, the two parties will combine Fujitsu's AI ethics technology and Ochanomizu University's knowledge in gendered innovations to conduct pioneering R&D in AI solutions that enable quantitative and objective gender equality measures, and promote the development of talent able to contribute to the solution of societal issues through interdisciplinary expertise.

Gender equality, which also represents one of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) remains an important issue worldwide. In the Global Gender Gap Report 2022, Japan was ranked 116th out of 146 countries worldwide, revealing significant gender inequality persists in the country.

To address this issue, the Japanese Cabinet Office implemented measures including "The Fifth Basic Plan for Gender Equality" as a basic act for realising a gender equal society. However, social implementation of measures to achieve gender equality continues to be an ongoing challenge, as concerns - both in Japan and other countries worldwide - remain, that efforts to empower women might on the other hand create new, unintentional unfairness toward other parties.

To address these issues, Fujitsu and Ochanomizu University established the "Fujitsu-Ochanomizu University Social Collaboration Program for AI Ethics" to explore the possibility of utilising AI solutions to contribute to the solution of gender inequalities. However, as AI itself can cause risks including the discrimination of minority groups due to bias in the AI training data, social trustworthiness represents a central focus in the development of AI systems.

To this end, Fujitsu and Ochanomizu University aim to develop practical solutions to gender issues, while addressing the risk of bias in AI by leveraging Fujitsu's strength in R&D in ethical AI technologies and Ochanomizu University's research on gendered innovations. In addition to their R&D activities, the two parties further plan to nurture talent able to take the lead in solving societal issues by combining approaches from information science and social sciences.

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