Japan: AI Systems Can Use Any Data, from Any Source – Even Illegal Ones

While other countries are mulling where to put the brakes on AI development, Japan is going full steam ahead, with the government recently announcing that no data will be off-limits for AI.

In a recent meeting, Keiko Nagaoka, Japanese Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology, confirmed that no law, including copyright law, will prevent AIs from accessing data in the country.

AIs will be allowed to use data for training, “regardless of whether it is for non-profit or commercial purposes, whether it is an act other than reproduction, or whether it is content obtained from illegal sites or otherwise,” said Nagaoka.

The decision is a blow to copyright holders who argue that AI using their intellectual property to produce new content undermines the very concept of copyright. The issue has already emerged in the west — an AI-generated song using the voice of Drake and The Weeknd went viral on streaming services in April, before being swiftly removed.

In the west, much of the discourse around AI is focused on potential harms. AI leaders recently warning governments that development of the technology carries with it a “risk of extinction,” while news companies worry about deepfakes and “misinformation.”

The Biden Administration’s leftist regulators at the FTC, meanwhile, worry that “historically biased” data (such as crime data with racial imbalances) will lead to outcomes that conflict with “civil rights.” Many leftist agitators in the west want to cut off AIs from such data.

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‘Godzilla eggs multiplying’: Japan’s ‘suspicious’ sphere conspiracy theories

Is this a product of some supersize sex on the beach?

A mysterious sphere that washed ashore in Japan is being labeled a “Godzilla egg” by social media watchdogs — with some conspiracy theorists claiming that the so-called King of the Monsters‘ offspring is “multiplying.”

The titan-size controversy surfaced yesterday after a woman reported a “suspicious” ball on Enshu Beach in Hamamatsu, a southern coastal city about 155 miles from Tokyo, Asahi News reported. The spherical object measured 4 feet around and was believed to be made of iron due to its rust coating.

Accompanying photos show the enormous orb, which evokes an alien anomaly or unexploded ordnance from a way gone by.

Fearing it was the latter, officials cordoned off an area within 655 square feet of the ball while bomb disposal crews inspected the unusual jetsam. Investigatory X-rays determined that the sphere was hollow and, therefore, not a live bomb, prompting officials to lift restrictions soon afterward, according to Fuji News Network.

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‘The Only Solution:’ Yale Prof Suggests Mass Suicide for Elderly in Japan

Yale University professor Yusuke Narita is suggesting mass suicide for elderly people in Japan, according to a report by the New York Times. The professor is now backtracking, claiming that his in-depth discussion of mass suicide is “an abstract metaphor.”

“I feel like the only solution is pretty clear,” Narita, an assistant professor of economics at Yale. “In the end, isn’t it mass suicide and mass ‘seppuku’ of the elderly?”

Seppuku refers to “an act of ritual disembowelment,” noted the New York Times, which also described the Yale professor as an individual who has “taken on the question of how to deal with the burdens of Japan’s rapidly aging society.”

Last year, after being asked to elaborate on his mass suicide ideas, Narita suggested it could be a “good thing” to “work hard toward creating a society” like the one depicted in the 2019 horror film Midsommar, in which a Swedish cult has elderly members of its community commit suicide by jumping off a cliff.

“Whether that’s a good thing or not, that’s a more difficult question to answer,” the Ivy League professor said. “So if you think that’s good, then maybe you can work hard toward creating a society like that.”

When it comes to euthanasia, Narita has suggested “the possibility of making it mandatory in the future.”

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Over 75% of Plastic in Pacific Garbage Patch Is from Chinese and Japanese Fishermen

A Dutch non-profit group called The Ocean Cleanup released a report on September 1 that found the bulk of the plastic debris in the so-called North Pacific Garbage Patch consists of discarded fishing equipment from Japan and China. 

The garbage patch is often depicted in Western media and popular culture as refuse created by heavy industry or thrown into the ocean by careless Americans and Europeans. Much of the trash heap supposedly consists of minuscule debris known as microplastics.

The North Pacific Garbage Patch (NPGP), first discovered in 1997, was created by intersecting ocean currents between the West Coast of the United States and the Hawaiian Islands. Researchers later found small debris moving through a “subtropical convergence zone” to another garbage patch on the far side of the Pacific, east of Japan. The NPGP is estimated to cover several million square kilometers, weighing in at tens of thousands of tons.

According to research by The Ocean Cleanup published in Scientific Reports, up to 86 percent of the debris in the North Pacific Garbage Patch actually consists of “items that were abandoned, lost, or discarded by fishing vessels.”

The Ocean Cleanup began its revolutionary study in 2019, a year after a surprising survey that found almost half of the debris in the garbage patch was from discarded fishing nets. The study that began in 2019 harvested over 6,000 plastic objects from the ocean by dragging huge U-shaped nets behind research vessels. To the surprise of the researchers, the bulk of the identifiable debris they collected was “fishing and aquaculture gear,” including equipment used to harvest fish, oysters, and eel.

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Was Shinzo Abe’s Killer Just Another Lone Nut? Look Closer.

In a familiar pattern following the assassination of a public figure, the worldwide media is showing little inclination to dig deeper into the recent shooting of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. 

The brazen daylight attack on Abe — captured on video during a campaign stop, in a country with virtually no gun homicides — shocked the world. Japan’s rates of gun violence are preposterously low by any standard: Just one shooting fatality was recorded in all of 2021.

But why Abe, and why now? The first prime minister to serve multiple terms since 1948 and the longest-serving PM in Japanese history, Abe was a powerful and controversial figure in Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party, the party that has controlled the country for nearly 70 years. 

He was a nationalist reactionary, an apologist for World War II war crimes who denied the rape of Nanjing, and a supporter of rearmament and of doubling Japan’s defense budget (he also nominated Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize). But despite looming large in domestic politics, he did not wield any direct power on the day he was killed.

As paeans from conservatives around the world poured in, praising Abe’s deft diplomatic skills and vision, police settled on a puzzling motive behind confessed killer Tetsuya Yamagami’s actions: Possibly based on internet rumors, Yamagami concluded that Abe was connected to the “Moonies,” or the Unification Church, the worldwide movement founded by Sun Myung Moon (that also owns the conservative Washington Times). Yamagami allegedly believed the church defrauded his mother and bankrupted his family. 

The leader of the church’s Japanese congregation confirmed that Yamagami’s mother is a member and attends services once a month — but said there was no record of the church soliciting or receiving a donation. Neither Yamagami nor Abe were members, he added.

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Japan Wants to Bring Artificial Gravity to the Moon

Interest in the Moon has been reignited recently, and Japan is looking to get in on the fun. Researchers and engineers from Kyoto University and the Kajima Corporation have released their joint proposal for a three-pronged approach to sustainable human life on the Moon and beyond.

The future of space exploration will likely include longer stays in low gravity environments, whether in orbit or on the surface of another planet. Problem is, long stays in space can wreak havoc on our physiology; recent research shows that astronauts can suffer a decade of bone loss during months in space, and that their bones never return to normal. Thankfully, researchers from Kyoto University and the Kajima Corporation are seeking to engineer a potential solution.

The proposal, announced in a press release last week, looks like something ripped straight from the pages of a sci-fi novel. The plan consists of three distinct elements, the first of which, called “The Glass,” aims to bring simulated gravity to the Moon and Mars through centrifugal force.

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AP Fact Checks Meme Joking About Shinzo Abe Having Information That Could Lead to the Arrest of Hillary Clinton

The Associated Press ran a “fact check” on a meme joking about Shinzo Abe having information that could lead to the arrest of Hillary Clinton.

The meme has been around for ages due to the amount of mysterious and arguably convenient deaths surrounding the Clintons.

Following the tragic assassination of Shinzo Abe, comedian and podcast host Michael Malice tweeted a fake screenshot of the former Japanese prime minister saying “I have information that will lead to the arrest of Hillary Clinton.”

The tweet was “liked” by over 12,000 people who understand jokes.

The Associated Press was apparently very concerned that some people might not understand that it was a meme.

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New Japanese Law Makes ‘Online Insults’ a Jailable Offense

This week, a Japanese law went into effect making it a jailable offense to be a jerk on the Internet.

As reported by The Japan Times, the legislation, passed in June, strengthens the country’s punishment for “online insults.” According to CNN, “Under Japan’s penal code, insults are defined as publicly demeaning someone’s social standing without referring to specific facts about them or a specific action…The crime is different to defamation, defined as publicly demeaning someone while pointing to specific facts.”

Previously, the penalty for online offensiveness was either a fine of less than ¥10,000 (about $73 USD) or fewer than 30 days in prison. Under the new law, which went into effect Thursday, the penalties increased to as much as a year in prison and a fine of up to ¥300,000 (about $2,200 USD). It also extended the statute of limitations from one year to three.

push for the law came in 2020, when Japanese wrestler and reality TV star Hana Kimura committed suicide after allegedly receiving abusive messages on social media. The bill briefly stalled over concerns that it would stifle legitimate criticism of politicians. Finally, the legislature reached a compromise, inserting a provision requiring that “a review will be conducted within three years…to determine if it unfairly restricts free speech,” per The Japan Times.

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Shinzo Abe’s Murder Suspect Claims Motive Of His Attack

Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, was unemployed and had served in the Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) for three years until 2005, according to police.

He was arrested in the Japanese city of Nara where he allegedly shot Abe, who was delivering a campaign speech ahead of the July 10 upper house election.

Yamagami, when apprehended, admitted his intention to kill Abe whom he believed was connected to a religious organization that had bankrupted his family, The Asahi Shimbun reported, citing investigative sources.

My family joined that religion and our life became harder after donating money to the organization,” Yamagami was quoted as saying by the sources.

The suspect told investigators that he initially targeted the organization’s leader, “but it was difficult,” so he decided to change target.

I took aim at Abe since I believed that he was tied [to the organization]. I wanted to kill him,” he said. Yamagami also admitted that he attempted to make explosives.

An unnamed source, who was identified as Yamagami’s relative in the report, said the suspect’s family “fell apart” because of the religious group, and that he was “convinced that Yamagami suffered damage from the organization.”

The suspect used a handmade gun measuring 40 centimeters in length and 20 centimeters in height. Police also found similar guns, explosives, and cylindrical objects during searches at Yamagami’s apartment in Nara.

Yamagami had previously worked as a dispatched staff worker for multiple companies after resigning from MSDF. He started working at a manufacturing company in the Kansai region in 2020 but left in May for health reasons.

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