DNP and Nihon Unisys Propose an Augmented Creative Work Style of the Future to be applied in Japan

Joint research project will begin with AI-based brainstorming support system

Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd.
Nihon Unisys, Ltd.

Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd. (DNP) and Nihon Unisys, Ltd. (Nihon Unisys) are pleased to announce the launch of a joint research project in Japan with the objective of supporting human creative activities.

And as the first offering in this project, our companies have developed a support system that supports the generating variety of ideas. This support system uses Artificial Intelligence (AI), equipped with a common sense similar to that of human beings, in brainstorming-type meetings, where people contribute ideas in a group. Operational tests will be conducted from autumn, 2014.

[Joint Research Project]

This project is a collaborative1 effort with DNP and Nihon Unisys that fuses the key technologies of the two companies, including AI and natural language processing technology for extracting words associated with text information, and interaction technologies, to realize a new service that supports creative activities, such as new businesses and the development of new products.  

[Background to First R&D Effort]

In innovative business, such as the development of new businesses, products or services, it is important to use new ideas and/or perspectives. And at meetings that are representative of the brainstorming used in generating ideas, there are numerous instances of progress stagnating at the stage where the number of ideas reaches a specific level. There is also a tendency for innovative opinions and fresh ideas to be difficult to appear when attempting to conceive new ideas alone, or of discussing ideas amongst the same set group of members.

With the new system, by inputting the keywords and text from the opinions introduced during brainstorming, it is possible to present words or similar vocabulary associated with those keywords or text. Using this as a stimulus, it is possible to offer support so that the participants are able to obtain a new awareness and create ideas.

[Overview of New System]

The brainstorming based on the new system proceeds in the following manner:

  • Brainstorming participants use computers or other smart devices to access the dedicated site.
  • While the participants brainstorm, they list up ideas (words) on the screen as though they were writing ideas on Post-it notes.
  • The AI-based brainstorming support system, recognizes words in the ideas input by the participants, interprets them, and suggests associated words or similar vocabulary.
  • Participants can then take the word presented by the system as a hint, and conceive a new idea. And by feeding this new idea back into the system, it presents them with another hints to think up further ideas.
  • The ideas conceived at meetings can be stored on the server on a brainstorming topic basis, with restricting the data to the participating parties only.
  • It is also possible to use the system on an individual basis in order to brainstorm ideas individually ahead of such meetings.

Feature 1. AI equipped with a common sense similar to human beings provides hints

The system presents numerous hints likely to lead to a variety of ideas during brainstorming. The system applies the common-sense reasoning technology utilizing more than 860,000 common sense knowledge as the research efforts2 of Nihon Unisys, along with a jointly developed proprietary algorithm. By providing hints from a variety of standpoints, including word association, synonyms and antonyms, it is possible to improve both the quality and the quantity of idea generation.

Feature 2. Supporting idea conception in meeting rooms, when alone, or even remotely.

It is possible to use this system with users not only at meeting venues, but also to provide hints for idea conception on an individual basis, such as in preparing for meetings, or in the preparation of post-meeting summaries. Even in cases where it is not feasible to attend meetings by accessing the dedicated site from a remote location, the screen can be shared with those attending the meeting venue, making it possible to participate in brainstorming.

[Looking Ahead]

1. Wide range of service formats

In addition to marketing this system as software, it is also planned to provide a service using cloud computing, and make joint presentations with meeting venue operating companies and OA equipment makers.

2. Rich user interface

In the upcoming operational test phase, the input of ideas (words) will be performed by participants themselves using their own computers, or tablet terminals. Looking ahead, it is planned to integrate a variety of interfaces, including image recognition based handwritten character input, voice input and gesture-based operations.

From autumn 2014, DNP and Nihon Unisys will use this system at in-house meetings at both of the companies, and push ahead with R&D that pursues even higher effects. The companies will also conduct operational tests in Japan using this system, targeting companies, government offices and schools, aiming for a creative work style, including the hosting of meetings requiring creativity. The companies aim for sales and marketing at the start of fiscal year 2015.

 

1 Collaborative results from DNP and Nihon Unisys
DNP and Nihon Unisys have advance our cooperation based on the operational alliance of August 2012, and created new businesses and services on a sequential basis.
 
2 Nihon Unisys research results to date
The R&D for the present brainstorming support system uses the knowledge gained in ?Context-reading Communication Computer? project (URL: http://www.omcs.jp) --- the joint research project aims to create a computer that can understand implicit meanings and nuances of language in the same way as humans, and use the appropriate knowledge and words at the appropriate time.  The project is part of the company?s efforts related to AI with a human-like common sense.
 
* Product prices, specification and service contents mentioned in this news release are current as of the date of publication. They may be changed at any time without notice.