Synopsis: In this AI Leadership Insights video interview, Amanda Razani speaks with Kazuhiro Gomi, President and CEO of NTT Research, about this week's Upgrade 2024 conference in San Francisco, CA and the latest company news.

Amanda Razani: Hello, and welcome to our next Leadership Insights series. I’m Amanda Razani. And I’m so excited to be here today with Kazu Gomi. How are you doing today?

Kazuhiro Gomi: Very good. Thank you. Hi, Amanda.

Amanda Razani: Hello. So I am really enjoying the Upgrade 2024 Conference here in San Francisco this week. And we’ve had lots of announcements and some key information shared so far, so can you go into some of those key announcements?

Kazuhiro Gomi: Sure. So there are two I would like to mention, one is that IOWN that the project, that NTT, has been working on for a couple of years. So I just want to kind of remind everybody, again, what IOWN is and so on. So IOWN is, in short, an innovative optical and wireless network. We just take that as the next generation network technology, heavily using the optical technology behind it to improve the capacity, bandwidth speed, and more importantly, that the energy consumptions of the entire network services, and also that the server technologies and so on. So you will drastically change the infrastructure systems for the coming decades, once these technologies are in place, so that’s one of the announcements that we just made. And another thing is that, well, I’d like to talk a little bit about NTT’s engagement and commitment to that technology advancement from the perspective of basic research, and then what is important for the humankind, for the coming decades and years and decades. So from that perspective, I would like to mention about this new release that we have just announced, which is that we have come to an agreement with Harvard University Center of Brain Science Group. NTT has been working with this group for the last couple of years, to explore the – as you and everybody are aware – AI is such a such a big thing and a great thing. However, there’s certainly concerns about how to deal with the biased AI and so on. So to address those things, that Center of Brain Science, they have fantastic, great scientists from pretty much all over the place in the world. And we, NTT is going to basically donate some money for this program so that they can hire some researchers over there, and then investigating into that. The AI is basic research. In this case, the basic research will hopefully reveal some of the fundamental mechanisms about the learning itself, how the AI works, just to kind of simplify the situation to the audience that, again, AI is a great thing. Everybody’s talking about AI all day long nowadays.

But technically speaking, some parts of the AI – nobody knows exactly how it works. It’s like a black box; therefore, everybody has a fear that the when the AI has a biased knowledge, what do we do? We don’t know how to collect AIs. And so that kind of leads into the scary story about when the AI starts spewing, you know, fake news and and then we saw that everybody’s worrying about if this research comes together, and hopefully that’s going to be the case, but we may be able to find a way to address those issues of wrong informations, wrong learnings that the AI has done. So it’s a little bit like a kind of, you know, a disciplining your kids kind of situation and so on. Nobody knows how to do that for AI, really.

Amanda Razani: So if that information comes to light that will be very positively impactful to the world.

Kazuhiro Gomi: Yeah, I hope so. And then this is pretty important, I think, for long, long run for next generations.

Amanda Razani: Yes, definitely. So there are a lot of business leaders here at the conference. As you’re speaking with them, what are you hearing? Why did they attend? What are the key topics and issues they’re most focused on? And what are some of their big roadblocks in their company?

Kazuhiro Gomi: Yep. So a couple of things I certainly can pick up. I think people here number one, I guess, they want to see what’s out there, what’s possible for the technology front for the coming years. And which, I believe that we are able to showcase that to the people gathering here. More specifically, what type of technology I want to point out a few.

Well, AI a little bit I mentioned. But another big thing is that, obviously, the sustainability of these environmental issues. So there’s a bit of a crossroad between the two, from the perspective that, AI, again, is a great thing. But AI is also warming up the Earth, meaning that the AI uses so much energy to run its its engines. So we are showcasing some kind of early stage developments that NTT has been working on for how to reduce the energy consumption of AI without sacrificing its performance, and so on. So, that’s certainly one of the areas that, and this is part of IOWN’s initiatives it will drive us towards. But this is certainly one area that I want everybody to pay attention to. And then looks like everybody’s excited about seeing it. And another thing I would like to point out is that security, cybersecurity, obviously this is also a big concern for everyone. So how more connected we are. And in a way that convenience of everything will create, but obviously the concerns that everybody starts having and already are having is that well, how secure that your system is. And then how to protect your privacy. So those big topics, and we have some solutions to address those concerns. So I can certainly say that those are the two major parts that people visiting here are interested in hearing and then seeing and then I think we have some of those things around here.

Amanda Razani: Wonderful. So if there was one key takeaway you could give to our audience today, what would that be?

Kazuhiro Gomi: So I want you to be aware about NTT is that the company originated from Japan, but we have a pretty large footprint in the United States, from both the business practice and also R&D that we are doing. We have embarked on doing a lot of stuff over here. And if you want me to take one message that I want to send to the audiences that I want you to be aware of why we are here – we are very serious about innovations and of course, the business of taking care of our customers. But yeah, I want you to be aware of that. That thing.

Amanda Razani: Well, thank you for sharing your insights with us today and giving a little bit of information about upgrade 2024. And thank you for inviting me to participate and be a part of it.

Kazuhiro Gomi: Yeah, thank you very much for coming, Amanda and I hope you enjoy the rest of the event.

Amanda Razani: Thank you so much.