Science Agora 2018 “Beyond Boundaries” - Annual 3-day JST Event Attracted 4,000 Visitors Updated in January 2019

Science AGORA 2018, one of the largest science forums in Japan, hosted by JST took place during November 9-11 at Miraikan (Museum of Emerging Science) and Telecom Center Building, located in Tokyo’s Odaiba bay area. In the 13th round of this forum organized under the theme “Beyond Boundaries,” about 4,000 visitors including exhibitors and speakers participated in 120 projects ranging from lectures to exhibit booths.

In the keynote address titled “ANA’s Endeavor to Connect All 7.5 Billion People on Earth,” efforts by ANA (All Nippon Airways) Holdings were introduced. The address touched upon how the group is trying to go beyond boundaries and to create new value through cooperation among diverse human network. Although being one of the national carriers to transport people and cargo, ANA Holding’s Digital Design Lab is conducting an Avatar project where people could realistically experience travel without moving. By installing an Avatar robot at a wedding reception for instance, a grandmother living in a senior citizen’s home could celebrate her grandson’s wedding as if she is really there. “How could we convert bits and pieces of technology into the Avatar? We need to pick and gather good aspects and overcome the somewhat scary impression Avatars convey,” said Akira Fukabori, Director for the Avatar Program.

In the key note session held in the afternoon of November 9, 8 speakers gathered at the venue including Kay Firth-Butterfield (Head of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Project for the World Economic Forum). “The giants in AI are the U.S. and China. In order not to follow in their footsteps completely, AI scientists around the world should share information and educate their researchers,” she pointed out. Stanford University’s Executive Director of mediaX, Martha Russell emphasized that “We, humans create society. We should not allow technologies like AI to do it for us.”

On November 10 and 11, Science AGORA programs took place at the Telecom Center Building located next to Miraikan. Exhibits prompting students to think about science and society, mini workshops and 117 other projects were showcased.

Photo 1: Chief Director Yoshiaki Tsuda at Digital Design Lab talks about avatar in his address “ANA’s Endeavor to Connect All 7.5 Billion People on Earth”

Photo 2: In the key note session, 8 speakers discussed about what they envision beyond the achievement of SDGs

Photo 3: Various events took place on the AGORA stage at the ground floor of Telecom Center Building(Photos provided by JST)