Supporting Relocation to Itoshima City, Fukuoka's Most Desirable City to Relocate to, with AI Matching

Itoshima City's Struggle Attracting an Increasing Number of People Who May Relocate There

Recently, in Japan there has been increasing interest in relocating from urban areas to the countryside. Amidst such a backdrop, Fukuoka Prefecture's Itoshima City is attracting greater attention as a potential place to live, and it ranked No. 1 * in the "Best Cities to Live" poll featured in Fukuoka Walker magazine. Itoshima, which is blessed with natural beauty, great scenery, and easy access to Fukuoka City, is receiving an increasing number of inquiries each year about relocating to the area.

Itoshima is a quite large city with numerous, diverse local characteristics, such as the seaside, mountains, fields, town area, and isolated islands. Therefore, people seeking to relocate there have a variety of different needs; however, it has thus far been difficult to provide appropriate information to meet these needs, which at times has led to low satisfaction among those who relocated.

In order to provide the reliable information on local characteristics desired by potential new residents, Kyushu University, Itoshima City, and Fujitsu started a joint field trial using AI (artificial intelligence) to increase potential residents' degrees of satisfaction (scheduled period: September 2016 - March 2017).

*: Source: "Best Cities to Live in Fukuoka Rankings," March 2013 issue

AI Learns from Data to Present the Optimal Relocations Sites

In using AI technology that learns based on data, we may encounter issues such as "a small amount of data," "people seeking to relocate cannot accurately convey what they find desirable about the relocation destination," and "psychological resistance to using AI systems." These issues can be resolved by employing an automatically evolving AI system that can learn gradually with even a limited amount of data. We can start with a small-scale data. Such an AI system not only presents the optimal locations to those seeking to relocate but also conveys the preferences of potential residents it has gathered to city officials, thereby encouraging conversations between potential residents and city officials with the aim of using AI in a manner broadly accepted by society. **

Figure: Overview of the Field Trial with Itoshima City

Using AI matching, which is a mathematical AI technique, the relationships between the characteristics of people seeking to relocate and their preferences are developed into a model. Then, appropriate locations are presented based on the model. Users seeking to relocate evaluate the presented locations, and the AI system learns more about the preferences of those users based on these evaluations. Thus, the AI evolves autonomously while improving the mathematical model automatically.

In this field trial, focus is not placed on the AI system mechanically matching potential residents with candidate locations but rather on promoting effective conversations with city officials. By eliminating psychological barriers to using AI and promoting conversations among people using AI, this field trial aims to improve the satisfaction of those seeking to relocate with the goal of building an AI system acceptable to society that operates collaboratively with people.

**: Itoshima City will provide a venue for interviews with local residents and people seeking to relocate as well as its experience in recommending candidate locations. The Fujitsu Social Mathematics Joint Research Unit within the Institute of Mathematics for Industry at Kyushu University and Fujitsu Laboratories will handle the development and evaluation of the AI technology using their expertise in the social sciences.

Providing Detailed Information to Eliminate Uncertainty and Improve the Satisfaction of People Who Relocate

By providing detailed and day-to-day information, which enables potential residents to come to know the target area sufficiently to decide whether or not to move, Itoshima hopes to prevent problems among neighbors, improve the satisfaction of people who relocate, make the local community more dynamic, and encourage people to remain in the community.

By combining AI technology with mathematical models related to aspects of human psychology, such as preferences and specific needs, in the fields of employment, business, medicine, and education, Kyushu University and Fujitsu Laboratories aim to bring solutions to a variety of social issues beyond simply helping people with relocation matching. Moreover, Fujitsu Laboratories seeks to use the results of this field trial to further improve its automatically evolving AI and to achieve practical implementation in fiscal 2017 as a new technology of Human Centric AI Zinrai, Fujitsu Limited's AI technology.