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The Speech of Prime Minister Abe at the “The Framework for Global Law and Accord on AI and Digital”

The full text could be read here.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude for the invitation to speak today. I made a visit to Boston in 2015 as then Prime Minister and have good memories of visiting the Kennedy Library, Harvard University and MIT. How I wish today that I could revisit Boston and make a real participation in the forum instead of a virtual one.

If we look at the world, we see drastic change in balance of power in recent years, as a result of the rise of nations with state views and values different from our own. In addition, the development of advanced technology is blurring the boundaries between “civilian and military” and “peacetime and contingency.

Cyber-attacks are a prime example of this, with malicious attacks in various forms threatening our peaceful daily lives. Moreover, in some cases, A.I. technology, which is supposed to enrich society, is misused for cyber-attacks.

The security environment surrounding us is undergoing significant changes along with the substantial progress in the “Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Let’s take cyberattacks as an example. Ransomware has become a major threat worldwide in recent years.

Here in Japan, people’s lives and safety are practically at stake, after some hospital facilities have become the target of Ransomware attacks and forced the suspend new medical consultations.

In addition, several cyber-attacks are large-scaled, shrewd, and strongly suspected of state involvement.

In recent years, critical infrastructures and software companies have been targeted, and therefore the damage tends to increase.

Japan, led by our intelligence bureau, is committed to attribution of such malicious attacks in cooperation with allied and comrade countries.  At the same time, our government is determined and collaborating together to promote a legal system that could overcome the vulnerability of critical infrastructure in light of national security.

In recent years, A.I. has been used in a variety of fields.

While sophistication of A.I. enriches and makes our daily lives increasingly convenient, it poses some risks.

There are nations that plan to spread disinformation through deep fakes and to incite and brainwash their citizens.

This is a obvious challenge to universal values of freedom and democracy that we should uphold.

Also, A.I. technology can also be used in actual weapons, and the nature of AI-based autonomous weapons has become the subject of international debate.

As I have just described, traditional approaches to realize security are not sufficient to deal with the various contemporary issues and challenges.

We need to think outside the box.