Hiroaki Kitano

My major preoccupation has always been how to find far-reaching solutions to major problems and what frameworks must be created to accelerate progress towards those solutions. I studied particle physics in college, later moving into computer science, in particular artificial intelligence research, and then engaging in research into massively parallel artificial intelligence, voice recognition systems, and machine learning. But I felt that in order to accelerate progress in AI and robotics, it would be necessary to establish some kind of big goal and global project. This became RoboCup, a project with the target of developing a team of fully autonomous humanoid robots able to win the FIFA World Cup by 2050. At the same time, I started to realize that intelligence is a byproduct of evolution, so I would have to study life itself. And so I switched to biosciences research, where I soon recognized the need for a conceptual shift from reductionist research into genes and proteins to a systems thinking approach. In order to accelerate that shift, I advocated “systems biology” an emerging area of life science back in mid 90’s, which is well accepted discipline in life science today. At the same time, it became clear that human intelligence may fall short of handling vastness and complexity of living systems and data generated to uncrack the system. Artificial Intelligence system has to be developed that can assist human in scientific research and accelerate the speed of scientific discovery. This may imply the modality of scientific research itself may be transformed into Human-AI symbiotic activities.

Systems Biology / Artificial Intelligence / Robotics / Design / Energy






Hiroaki KITANO received his B.A. in physics from International Christian University, Tokyo, and Ph.D. in computer science from Kyoto University. From 1988 to 1994, he was a visiting researcher at Center for Machine Translation at Carnegie Mellon University. His research career includes Project Director of Kitano Symbiotic Systems Project, ERATO, Japan Science and Technology Corporation (1998-2003) followed by Project Director of Kitano Symbiotic Systems Project, ERATO-SORST, Japan Science and Technology Agency (2003-2008). He is also a Special Professor of University of Amsterdam, Sir Louis Matheson Distinguished Professor, Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute, Monash University, Australia, and a Founding President of The RoboCup Federation. He received The Computers and Thought Award from the International Joint Conferences on Artificial Intelligence in 1993, Prix Ars Electronica 2000, Design Award 2001 from Japan Inter-Design Forum, Good Design Award 2001 and Nature’s 2009 Japan Mid-career Award for Creative Mentoring in Science, as well as being an invited artist for Biennale di Venezia 2000 and Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) New York in 2001. Kitano has also been appointed a Senior Vice President of Sony Corporation as of June, 2016.

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