It was a LinkedIn message that sent me over the edge.

An AI company was trying to recruit me to train their large language models — algorithms that can perform advanced processing tasks by “learning” from huge datasets — in Japanese. The world of AI-generated text, art and music is endlessly fascinating, but as a writer and translator from Japanese into English, the sheer audacity of the message lit a fire in me.

It just hurt. The ruthlessness of trying to get professional translators to sell off millions of future yen to be earned in their careers for a few thousand yen today — and the chilling implications that cross-cultural communication between Japan and the English-speaking world might be run by thoughtless automated systems — sparked me to respond with an incensed message that I later shared publicly.