Welcome to the B’AI website.

We are a group of researchers and practitioners who think about gender and minorities along with their relationship with information technology in the AI era. We are interested in identifying problems and putting forward recommendations for solutions. This forum was launched in August 2020 as a project within the Institute for AI and Beyond at the University of Tokyo.

B’AI is about discovering the various kinds of “B” related to AI, such as Behind AI, Beneath AI, Before, and pursuing a world that respects gender equality and minorities. We welcome you to join us in thinking about how we live with information technology.

Director’s Message

The Institute for AI and Beyond has recently been established at the University of Tokyo. This is an organization that researches AI technology comprehensively from various perspectives. What does it mean to ‘research AI comprehensively’?

In order for the University to create a large cluster of research related to AI, we think that in addition to technological innovation, it is imperative that the Institute invests in a project that investigates the following from a humanity and social science perspective. What social backdrop, organization and systems enabled the AI innovation? Who are the engineers behind the development? What are the ways in which AI technology has permeated into society? What is expected from AI technology?

This is why we created the B’AI Global Forum Project. New technology is never introduced in a vacuum, nor with a clean slate or flat surface. It is embedded into a world in which established institutions extend its power from the majority to the minority. This is a society in which the powers work to protect their vested interests. In other words, the technology is embedded into our current lives and surroundings. Therefore, it is important to understand the duality of developing new technologies, which can be a driving force for social innovation, but has the potential of reproducing existing power structures.

AI technology will also be increasingly used in societies where disparities arise from abuse of power, discrimination against minorities, and unequal distribution of wealth. It has already been reported that new knowledge of AI not only creates innovation, but also exclusion and violence against women and minorities. AI also has a radical aspect of reorganizing the traditional legal system, institutional order, and ethics. Facing these realities, cultivating the ability to imagine the seriousness of the hurtfulness, and aiming for further technological and social development are the major goals of the B’AI Global Forum Project.

This project will examine the current status and future of AI in a reflective and critical manner, especially through the lens of ‘gender’ and ‘minority’. To become ‘a platform that drives social transformation into a new era’, the University of Tokyo has the responsibility ‘to help everyone exert their power’, ‘to recognize the diversity of values’, and ‘to pursue a sustainable and inclusive society that leads to the development of society’
(https://www.u-tokyo.ac.jp/focus/ja/articles/z1311_00036.html). In order to realize this kind of diversity and inclusion in our society, we will work hard on industry-government-academia collaboration and cross-disciplinary research. We would be grateful if you could join us in this endeavor.

February 2021
Kaori Hayashi