Japan AI Expo highlights solutions to labor shortage in aging society



Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions that aim to tackle labor shortage in Japan's growingly aging society are highlighted at the 2nd Artificial Intelligence Exhibition & Conference (AI EXPO) held here through Friday.

For example, SCSK Corporation, a company that provides IT services to businesses, exhibited a new type of self-service cashier which, instead of scanning the barcodes, can recognize the goods directly from their images.

Customers can put the goods they want to purchase in the identification zone of the cashier, and the cashier will give out the total price of the goods. Then, customers can finish the payment by putting near the cashier their cellphones with near-field communication technology or other electrical payment software, and the cashier can deduct the money from their accounts and give out receipts.

Akira Hashimoto, an official from SCSK, said that compared to old self-service cashiers used in many convenience stores, the new Wonder Register saves the customers time to scan the barcodes, while the stores could also save the time and costs to put labels with barcodes on the goods.

Hitachi Solutions Create, a subsidiary of Hitachi Group, exhibited its AI Plus technologies, such as diet record and nutrient analysis system, and non-fixed form bill identification technology.

According to the company, the diet record and nutrient analysis system could recognize the quantity of nutrients in the food simply through a photo and thereby largely reduce the workload of dieticians.

Bill identification technology, meanwhile, can recognize contents of bills with a higher speed and accuracy than previous Optical Character Recognition technologies through the help of AI technology, and thus reduce the workload in insurance and accounting industries.

OPTiM, a new IT company, showed its AI Call Center Service, which uses AI technology to turn voice of phone calls into texts, and by analyzing the calls, show the receivers automatically information that they might need to reply to the callers.

The three-day exhibition gathered various products from some 300 exhibitors related to artificial intelligence from elemental technologies, hardware to applications and services.

Japan has been suffering from a trend of population decrease for decades. Government estimation shows that the number of people aged 65 and above in Japan will account for a third of the nation's total population by 2030.

Due to the population aging, labor intensive industries such as food and restaurant service, retail and transportation have been suffering from increasing labor shortage, and people are expecting AI technology to help enhance work efficiency to tackle the manpower shortage.