This past spring, I had the opportunity to travel to Japan for a week. From the bright lights of Akihabara to the misty and mysterious Mt. Koya, Japan was a fascinating place, and I’d definitely like to spend more time there in the future.
On a somewhat related note, AI Magazine had a “Best of AI in Japan” series in 2012, providing highlights of AI efforts and developments in the country. A few of the popular highlights included:
- RoboCup: an international robotic soccer competition originating in Nagoya
- TAKMI: an text-mining tool for unstructured text, which later became the basis of a major commercial product
- Miim: a humanoid robot that can sing and dance
And on the non-computer-science side of things, I’ll throw in Ghost in the Shell as another highlight, in the same way that Asimov’s or Vinge’s novels contribute to the imaginative possibilities of a world with Strong AI.