• Kyodo

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The government plans to promote the development of artificial intelligence technology in cooperation with other entities for use in medical, manufacturing and other sectors to mitigate the expected labor shortages that will result from an aging society, officials said Friday.

The public-private initiative will involve 20 firms and research institutions such as the government-backed Riken research institute, Toyota Motor Corp. and NEC Corp.

The science ministry, which oversees Riken, is planning to seek ¥10 billion ($ 99.7 million) in the fiscal 2017 budget for costs related to the project, which is expected to run for 10 years.

In the medical field, AI technology is expected to be used in diagnosing the symptoms of patients and advising doctors on optimal treatments by analyzing electronic medical records and huge amounts of data on similar cases.

In the manufacturing sector, for example, AI technologies could be used to detect signs of impending machinery glitches and failures at factories more efficiently than humans to reduce output disruptions.

The government sees the AI sector as one of the pillars of its growth strategy and set up a research and development center for innovative intelligence technologies at Riken in April.

The center will soon launch a research hub near Tokyo Station where researchers can gather and possibly work together with universities.

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