Limited generative AI usage to be allowed in Japanese schools

The Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology plans to allow schools from elementary to high school level limited usage of generative artificial intelligence (AI) in classrooms. 

According to a local news outlet, a source close to the matter said that generative AI tools, such as the popular chatbot ChatGPT, will be allowed to help facilitate in-class discussions and artistic activities, among other use cases.

Officials said blanket usage of AI tools would not be allowed and that it intends to release guidelines for schools to follow by July.

The draft guidelines state that it is important “nurture abilities to thoughtfully use generative AI” and recommend an introduction to the technology with restrictions.

It also requires teachers to instruct students that AI usage for exams or classwork will be considered cheating. The guidelines encourage teachers and students to be mindful of the data entered into AI systems.

Related: Wimbledon 2023 to feature AI-generated highlights commentary

The announcement from the Japanese Education Ministry comes as regulators in the country grapple with how to regulate and implement the technology at a national level. 

Japanese officials initially showed open support for OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot when countries like Italy banned the technology, and other uncertainties surrounding its usage began to surface.

However, shortly after, Japanese lawmaker ​Takashi Kii said he is pushing for regulations protecting copyright holders from AI infringement. A day later, OpenAI received a warning from ​​lawmakers in Japan on ​​its data collection methods and asked the company to be mindful of minimizing the sensitive data it collects.

In April, a small pool of eligible voters in Japan was surveyed on concerns over AI, from which 69.4% said they would like stricter regulations for AI development and implementation.

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