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AI Kara Yomitoku Shakai (Understanding AI in Society - How Technology Exerts Power)


328 pages, A5 format




March 31, 2023



Published by

University of Tokyo Press

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AI Kara Yomitoku Shakai

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This book is a collection of essays written and edited by members of the B'AI Global Forum (, a research group within the Institute for AI and Beyond, a joint research project between the University of Tokyo and Softbank. B’AI explores the social impact of artificial intelligence (AI) from a multidisciplinary perspective. Reflecting B’AI’s mission, this book discusses various aspects of AI and related technologies by considering not only at their technical aspects, but also at their political, social, and cultural dimensions.
AI is now becoming a part of every aspect of our daily lives, including search engines, online shopping, online articles, and many other aspects of our everyday lives. This book examines what kinds of problems and possibilities AI may have and how we should approach this new technology from diverse perspectives, including labor issues, reproductive medicine, and media representations.
The key theme of the book is "power," as suggested by the subtitle, "How Technology Exerts Power." It does not necessarily or only mean something dystopian, such as AI technology exerting its powerful force to conquer human society. It is also important to consider "power" that is not visible. Invisible power could create and exacerbate racial and gender discrimination and bias that people may have consciously or unconsciously. Power, visible or invisible, exists behind social norms and trends that we are so used to in our daily lives. In some cases, such power is exercised by governments and large corporations, but in other cases, it is embedded in society, and it is difficult to determine where the power resides or who actually exercises it. The prejudices and biases that persist in society are sometimes incorporated into AI technologies, including search engine algorithms. However, AI can also be used as a tool to correct such prejudices and discrimination.
The cover of this book depicts a symbol of AI technology that reveals its power in our everyday lives. We created the image by using the generative AI technology of a Canadian startup company. The image can be seen as an extension of the late-nineteenth-century mechanical reproduction discussed by Walter Benjamin, while it also raises questions about authenticity, creativity, and human agency.
By examining various forms of power, this book shows that AI technology is closely related to each one of us, while creating an environment in which many people, regardless of their research field or position, can participate in a dialogue about AI. We hope that this book will provide readers with an opportunity to think about the development and use of AI technology from various perspectives, rather than oscillating between optimism and pessimism, praising its superficial "convenience," or simply being wary or critical of it.

(Written by HISANO Ai, Associate Professor, Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies / 2023)

Related Info

B’AI-UTokyo NY Office Event “The Future of Higher Education in the AI Age”Held  (UTokyo New York Office  Dec 14, 15, 2023)
B’AI Book Club: Book Review Session  (B’AI Global Forum March 22, 2023)
Rome Call for AI Ethics: A Global University Summit  (University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, USA Oct 26, 27, 2022)
Related movie:
AI and Social Justice / Prof. Dr. Yuko Itatsu [UTokyo GUC 2022 Course Introduction] (UTokyo Global Unit Courses | YouTube  Feb 17, 2022)

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