Generative AI will change the society

"Generative AI will change the society", says the CTO of a Silicon Valley company that built the early days of the web

Companies are increasingly moving toward generative AI. It is no exaggeration to say that the main business battleground in the technology industry has shifted to generative AI since the U.S. OpenAI released "ChatGPT" in the fall of 2022. Although it is often said that ``Japan is several years behind other countries'' in the rapidly changing IT field, Japan is still on par with other countries when it comes to generative AI.

“Generative AI is a major growth engine for the Hitachi Group, and we see it as a technology that will have an impact on solving various social issues that we have pursued since our founding.” This is Jun Yoshida, who leads the generative AI business.

Hitachi, Ltd. established the Generative AI Center in May 2023, a specialized organization to promote the use of generative AI. Mr. Yoshida, who serves as the director of the center, describes his role as follows.

“The Generative AI Center is an organization that brings together data scientists and AI researchers with knowledge of generative AI, as well as in-house specialists in various fields such as IT, information security, legal affairs, quality assurance, and intellectual property. We are promoting the thorough use of generative AI across all Hitachi Group companies, which includes 10,000 people, and are implementing a value creation cycle in which the know-how we have accumulated through this process is provided to our customers."

A powerful accelerator for the Hitachi Group, which is focusing on the use of generative AI, is GlobalLogic, which became a member of the Hitachi Group in 2021. “With the addition of a colleague who can implement generative AI into society on a global scale to the Hitachi Group, we hope to further accelerate the social innovations that the entire company is working on,” says Yoshida.

Generative AI that changes society “impact comparable to the emergence of World Wide Web”

GlobalLogic is a software development company headquartered in Santa Clara, California, the center of Silicon Valley. In addition to playing a part in the evolution of global companies such as Qualcomm in the US and BMW in Germany, it also has cooperative relationships with many well-known IT companies in Silicon Valley, although I cannot name them. GlobalLogic is a leading company in cutting-edge technology and has been researching AI in fields such as autonomous driving and medical diagnosis for more than 10 years.

Dr. Jim Walsh, Chief Technology Officer, GlobalLogic, introduced an episode that shows the progress of GlobalLogic in this field.

"I remember telling our head of AI business how excited I was when ChatGPT came out, and he said, 'Jim, that's old news. We've been using it for several years.' Masu"

Generative AI took its current form when researchers at Google in the US developed a technology called Transformer in 2017. Since then, with the advent of ChatGPT, it has become possible to interact with computers using the natural language that humans speak. As a result, the potential of generative AI became known around the world.

"Generative AI is a technology that has rapidly developed by utilizing hardware such as GPUs. I am surprised by the rapid evolution. We are working on programming using generative AI and robots in the manufacturing industry. We have successfully applied this to AI. We can also have AI write Shakespeare's poems. We are collaborating with a company trying to realize virtual reality using generative AI.'' (Dr. Walsh)

Based on his experience at GlobalLogic, Dr. Walsh expects generative AI to have a major impact on knowledge workers. It is said to change the lives of the company's approximately 30,000 engineers and designers worldwide, as well as people engaged in knowledge work such as lawyers and doctors.

Dr. Walsh supports the positive impact of generative AI, ``It will become a fundamental technology comparable to the World Wide Web, which was born in the 1990s.'' He was involved in early World Wide Web projects and built some of the earliest Web servers.

“Nowadays, almost all of people's actions, from social life to entertainment, are influenced by the Web and the Internet. However, at the time, I could only imagine applications such as e-commerce, but I couldn't even imagine that SNS would be created. The same goes for generative AI, whose impact is difficult to predict, but there is no doubt that it will completely change the way we live and work.''

6 ways to utilize generative AI seen in 75 projects

Many of the customers GlobalLogic works with are interested in generative AI. As of March 2024, there are already 75 projects underway, which can be categorized into six areas.

The first is content production such as images, music, videos, and virtual reality. Just explain what you want and the generative AI will create it for you. The second is the application to software development. This is an area that GlobalLogic is also paying attention to and is expected to be highly effective in areas such as source code generation, modernization, and optimization including energy saving. Dr. Walsh believes that he can expect to contribute not only to customers but also to GlobalLogic, which employs approximately 24,000 engineers.

The third is personalized content creation. It will be possible to propose insurance products and mobile phone rate plans suitable for customers and to design specialized plans. Previously, it was necessary to consider the customer's needs, household financial situation, family structure, etc., and a huge amount of work was required to develop the software, but this time and effort can be significantly reduced.

The fourth is chatbots. Dr. Walsh laughs at the fact that many of today's customer support centers have sketchy systems, such as automated voice response systems and low-code tools, which can be frustrating. Instead of guiding numbers or button operations, we use generative AI to guide human-like dialogue.

The fifth step is the generation of synthetic data. It is expected to be used for product testing and anomaly detection. Anomalies can be detected by giving the generation AI a certain pattern and having it predict what the next element of that pattern will be, and then comparing it with the actual measured value. Creating verification data is difficult, and the larger and more complex the system, the more difficult it becomes to prepare test data that covers all possible cases. That's where the data is generated.

The sixth is its use in knowledge management. The knowledge accumulated by companies is stored in various places, from PCs to people's heads. Expectations are high for generative AI as a way to access information in a format that can be used when needed. A major consulting company asked GlobalLogic to help new consultants have the same level of knowledge as veterans.

"When it comes to knowledge management, Hitachi has many times more knowledge than GlobalLogic. We are developing a platform globally that will allow the entire Hitachi Group to utilize that knowledge, and GlobalLogic is participating in this development project. We call this a 'Platform of Platforms' because it is a platform that combines various hyperscaler technologies and services, as well as components developed by Hitachi.'' (Dr. Walsh) 

What you can do with our unique generative AI service “Dr. Koogle”

GlobalLogic also actively utilizes generative AI within the company. A typical example is the knowledge management system known internally as "Dr. Koogle." It is a combination of OpenAI's large-scale language model (LLM) ``GPT'' and open-source LLM. It collects public information both inside and outside the company, and if you ask a question in natural language, it will answer the information you are looking for.

We have also developed an in-house system called "TechTransform" that can convert and optimize source code. You can decipher old programming languages ​​that are rarely used by engineers and convert them into modern languages. It enables faster system and application updates and is already available to customers.

Possibilities created by “Generative AI x GlobalLogic know-how x Hitachi’s business”

The convenience of generative AI also helps meet customer demands. The customer-driven software development market is expected to expand as there is a growing trend to seek solutions that match market needs. The advent of generative AI has improved the productivity of software development, making it more affordable for companies that previously had difficulty implementing advanced software. However, to make full use of generative AI, human resources with these skills are essential.

“In this time when it is becoming difficult to secure highly skilled human resources, GlobalLogic has top-class engineers in various regions such as Eastern Europe and Asia, and we can assign them to customer projects. We are actively working on a combination of training and exciting projects where these people can play an active role.'' (Dr. Walsh)

GlobalLogic's power comes from its 30,000 employees, located in 21 countries. The company reached even greater heights when it became a member of the Hitachi Group in 2021. The two companies, who are active on the world stage in separate fields of infrastructure business and software industry, have brought great benefits by joining forces.

“It has been approximately three years since GlobalLogic became a member of the Hitachi Group, and our sales have approximately doubled. We are developing new businesses while deepening our knowledge in fields such as railways, electric power, and energy, where the Hitachi Group has strengths. On the other hand, our software development skills can be applied to things like power systems. We believe that by combining Hitachi Group's physical devices with software, we can take them to an unprecedented level." (Dr. Walsh)

Initiatives using generative AI by the Hitachi Group and GlobalLogic have already begun. One example is the case in which Hitachi Energy, headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, operates a global power transmission and distribution business, in the field of customer support.

“An example of how GlobalLogic has used generative AI is Hitachi Energy's efforts to improve the quality of customer service. Using generative AI, Hitachi Energy can compile thousands of documents, and link the information. It can be provided to support personnel and customers in an easy-to-understand format. This is a general-purpose technology that can be applied not only to Hitachi Energy but also to retail industries. In this way, GlobalLogic can bring its digital expertise to various areas.

Dr. Walsh said, “By combining the Hitachi Group's vast knowledge and data with GlobalLogic's know-how, we can develop businesses that make the most of the power of generative AI - collaboration with an eye on the future is starting to take shape.” 

“It will lead to a productivity revolution in the physical industry” The prospects of generative AI seen by Hitachi Group

“Among the Hitachi Group, GlobalLogic is the most advanced in the use of generative AI. Since its birth in Silicon Valley, which is at the cutting edge of innovation, GlobalLogic has been the first to master not only generative AI but also new technologies such as Metaverse and Web3.0. Their great strength is the speed with which they can incorporate this into customers and business sites.'' (Mr. Yoshida)

Hitachi Group plans to push forward the use of generative AI by collaborating with GlobalLogic. The value of IT was to increase the productivity of office workers, but Yoshida says that generative AI will become a key technology that will lead to a productivity revolution in physical industries such as social infrastructure sites. For example, generative AI has the potential to provide major hints and answers to the growing shortage of maintenance workers in the energy sector, which is becoming increasingly serious in developed countries.

To bring out the true value of such AI and generative AI, it is necessary to properly face privacy and ethical risks. As a company responsible for social infrastructure, the Hitachi Group has deepened its insight through many years of continuous improvement of business support and governance through specialized organizations.

“By combining the strengths of the Hitachi Group, which has cultivated knowledge in mission-critical areas, and GlobalLogic, which can implement advanced technologies, we will promote the safe, secure, and effective use of generative AI, and help companies and society. We will work globally to solve various issues.'' (Mr. Yoshida)

This article is a translation from the ITmedia NEWS article. Find the original article here at ITmedia NEWS.

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