Sony CSL Open House 2018

On October 23-24, Sony CSL held its Open House 2018 to celebrate the 30th anniversary since its founding. Approximately 2,000 visitors from within the company and externally made the trip to catch a glimpse of this groundbreaking research that is seeing global attention. This report brings you inside the Open House event, which was brimming with visitors' enthusiasm.

Many visitors had their photos taken with this poster as a backdrop. After checking in, visitors were greeted by a message from Hiroaki Kitano, President & CEO, Director of Research, Sony CSL.



A Look at the 3F Exhibits

Hideki Takayasu
Under the theme of “Strategy Analysis of Dealers in Financial Markets”, this exhibit explained, in layman's terms, the effectiveness and future applications of using artificial intelligence (AI) to determine financial market strategies through the principles of physics. Examples given were how trends in buy-sell orders placed by exchange rate dealers resembled the movements of molecules.


Michael Spranger
An exhibit on the theme of “Symbolic Machine Learning for Developmental AI and Natural Language Processing”. Just as how newborn babies spontaneously learn languages in order to explain the new phenomena and experiences they encounter, Spranger introduced a developmental AI robot that also spontaneously learns languages. This project attempts to unravel and understand the way in which language comes about and develop.

Shinichi Furuya
At the “Center for Music Excellence” exhibit, Furuya explained how by conducting research into practice methods and guidance of the proper ways of using the body based on the movement principles of the brain and body, it is possible to prevent injury to musicians, and even possible to evolve and sustain what is possible with performative expressions. He also held a piano demonstration alongside Taranori Oku.


Masatoshi Funabashi
In “Synecoculture – Human Augmentation of Ecosystems”, Masatoshi Funabashi explained that in order to return the planet to a more sustainable track, we need a fundamental transformation of the current agricultural practices by which we acquire our food. To do so, it will be increasingly crucial to adopt formulas from the studies of ecosystems and agriculture, analyze practical trial and laboratory trials conducted on farmlands using technology, and attempt to feed them back into each other through technology. In an exhibition space that was teeming with the smell of herbs, he carried out an augmented reality (AR) demo alongside Tomoyuki Minami and answered specific questions from visitors regarding this agricultural method. Visitors' interest was palpable.

Takahiro Sasaki
This exhibit's theme was “Applying AI to Large-Scale Long-Term Asset Management - Analysis of Funds' Behavior by Deep Learning toward Realizing Robust Manager Structure”. He introduced a joint project carried out with the Japanese Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF) which uses AI to support the management of citizens' pension assets, and discussed methods of making this sort of advanced management a reality through fundamental policies.

On the first day of the Open House, the “IC Card Based Cryptocurrency Wallet” was announced to the press. Here, Hiroshige Fukuhara explained the methods behind this, going over the way keys are generated, secure encryption, signature processing, and more using a demonstration.

Kaoru Yoshida spoke on the theme of “Exploring the interface between food and medicine”. Based on the results of research approached from multiple angles including molecular biology, she asserted the importance of considering nutrition from the perspective of traditional Chinese nutritional medicine philosophies.



Kenichiro Mogi 's exhibit was “Information Processing in the brain: intelligence, consciousness and personality” He fielded questions from a large number of visitors.



2F Exhibits

(left) voiceless interaction demo and (right) visual experience expansion system demo

Jun Rekimoto
The “Human-AI Integration” booth featured two demos: “voiceless interaction” demonstrated how orders could be given to existing smart speakers through lip-synched movements, while a “visual experience expansion system” used deep learning to recognize images on one TV, and automatically generate those same images and display them on neighboring televisions. As usual, this booth was quite packed with visitors.

Alexis André
This exhibit's theme was “Music Decorats Space”. This provided a new way of enjoying music wherein listeners can experience a journey through not only time, but also space. The exhibit demonstrated the possibilities of next-gen entertainment.


Shunichi Kasahara
"Superception" (super + perception) creates interactive systems based on engineering research that can expand and modify perception and awareness. Through this, it attempts to enhance sensory capabilities and generate sympathy towards other people. The demo on display allowed visitors to experience the borders of perception, as a computer generated movement was perceived by users to have occurred of their own volition. This experience was highly praised.

Takashi Isozaki(Third from the left)
The “Advanced Technologies for CALC” exhibit proved very popular according to visitor surveys. CALC, a unique AI technology developed by Sony CSL, has been commercialized by three companies: Information Services International-Dentsu, Ltd., Koozyt, Inc., and Sony CSL. This business is being developed as a large-scale data analysis service.


Other exhibits

(left)Ken Endo using his own prosthetic leg to conduct a demonstration during the “Attack on Prosthesis” exhibit.
(right) An exhibit on the theme of “Selling the results and technology from Sony CSL's research.” (From left: Ikuko Matsusaka, Tetsu Natsume, and Kojiro Kashiwa of Sony CSL Technology Promotion & Deployment Office)

Aside from the above, the Open Energy System project explained its efforts to develop and commercialize a stable electrical system that used sustainable energy as its primary energy source, while the Data Science Lab introduced the content it offers for data analysis education within Sony Group. Furthermore, the Cybernetic Factory Project, which is a joint project between Sony CSL and Sony Network Communications Inc., introduced its efforts to develop and provide a unique Sony manufacturing solutions service that uses AI and big data analysis. Such projects that tied directly into our business drew lots of attention from visitors.

Participants from Sony CSL Paris

16 members from Sony CSL Paris, which also celebrated its own 22 year anniversary, were also on hand with research exhibits of their own. Sony CSL Paris utilizes tools such as complex science systems, data science, and AI to conduct research across a wide variety of fields including musical comprehension and creation, language and communication systems, sustainability, innovation dynamics and creativity, and more.

 Matthias Demoucron
This exhibit featured “AutoMix”, a real-time audio equalizer that uses deep learning, researched alongside Emmanuel Deruty. This demo showed how even those without musical technology, experience, or equipment can become a musical producer and create new musical experiences, be they classical or pop or anything in between.

At a research exhibit by Gaëtan Hadjeres and Theis Bazin, Bazin (center) answers questions from visitors who took part in their demo, which featured songs composed using AI.


(left) Timothée Wintz explained how technology can support efficient and sustainable agriculture through the use of machine learning.(right)Remi van Trijp's (rightmost) exhibit, “Deep Semantic Processing”.


In addition, Bernardo Monechi's “Kreyon City” introduced a proof-of-concept that models societal systems through a game-like demo that uses colorful blocks to carry out city planning. On the cultural innovation front, there were many different exhibits: Pietro Gravino's “Creastoria” system generates stories, while “Rubedo” is a collaboration between CSL Paris and the University of Rome. Peter Hanappe's “Robotics for Microfarms” and David Colliaux's “Crop monitoring for microfarms” had to do with agriculture, and Stefan Lattner's “DAWGen” dealt with the theme of music.

Introducing Businesses Spun Out from Sony CSL

There were also three exhibits from businesses that had spun off and commercialized technology based on Sony CSL R&D efforts. These were: “Education Business” exhibit from Sony Global Education, Inc.; a company introduction and examples from Ghelia, Inc.; and “CALC: AI for decision support” from Koozyt, Inc., which introduced efforts to utilize CALC in business planning and technological collaborations.



This Open House was held in honor of Sony CSL's 30th anniversary. Beginning with computer science, it expanded its research approach to encompass open system science, and today features a diverse and deep array of research domains. Each exhibit on display showcased the imagination and determination of the researchers and project members involved. Open House 2018 was an opportunity for visitors to deepen their understanding of the cutting-edge research results achieved at Sony CSL and the ambitions of the researchers that lie at their heart while seeing concrete examples of steps being taken towards the future of humanity. The next open house is scheduled for three years hence.

List of Demonstrations

Third Floor

Strategy Analysis of Dealers in Financial Markets(Hideki Takayasu )
Geometric Sciences of Information (Frank Nielsen )
Exploring the interface between food and medicine(Kaoru Yoshida )
Symbolic Machine Learning for Developmental AI and Natural Language Processing (Michael Spranger )
Skin senses inner beauty.(Natalia Polouliakh )
My ten-year journey at Sony CSL — From instrumental value to intrinsic value — (Kazuhiro Sakurada )
Center for Music Excellence (Shinichi Furuya )
Synecoculture — Human Augmentation of Ecosystems —(Masatoshi Funabashi, Tomoyuki Minami )
Crop monitoring for microfarms (David Colliaux )
3D Plant scanner (Timothée Wintz )
Robotics for microfarms (Peter Hanappe )
Deep Semantic Processing (Remi van Trijp )
Creastoria (Pietro Gravino )
Rubedo (Collaboration Project between CSL-Paris and Sapienza - Università di Roma)
Citychrone (Bernardo Monechi )
Kreyon City (Bernardo Monechi)
Welcoming Aging by Investing in Health (Yuji Yamamoto )
Yeast・Food・Health (Yuki Yoshida )
Applying AI to Large-Scale Long-Term Asset Management — Analysis of Funds' Behavior by Deep Learning toward Realizing Robust Manager Structure — (Takahiro Sasaki )
IC Card Based Cryptocurrency Wallet (Hiroshige Fukuhara )
Information processing in the brain: Intelligence, consciousness, and personality. (Kenichiro Mogi )

Second Floor

Human-AI Integration (Jun Rekimoto )
Attack on Prosthesis (Ken Endo )
Wikitopia: Future Cities, Built by Citizens (Yuichiro Takeuchi )
Affordable and clean energy for all (OES Project )
Computer Graphics by Machine Learning (Shigeru Owada )
Superception (Shunichi Kasahara )
Music Decorates Space (Alexis André )
Bringing research into business (Technology Promotion & Deployment Office )
Data Analytics Education (Data Science Laboratory)
Education Business  (Sony Global Education, Inc. )
GHELIA Inc. — create a shared environment for people and AI — (Ghelia, Inc. )
Advanced Technologies for CALC  (Takashi IsozakiAtsushi Noda )
CALC:AI for decision support (Koozyt, Inc. )
Cybernetic Contact Center Project (C3PO Project)
Cybernetic Factory Project (Cybernetic Factory Project )
Flow Machines — music-making activities using Machine Learning — (Flow Machine Studio Tokyo )
Interactive Music Generation (Gaëtan Hadjeres )
AutoMix (Emmanuel Deruty )
DAWGen (Stefan Lattner )