AI Brainstorming Workshops for Discovering Ways to Use AI

After the AI boom began with the news of AI defeating professional go or shogi (Japanese chess) players, a wide variety of AI-enabled/enhanced businesses were generated. While the use of AI continues to expand, we will take this opportunity to explore the meaning of AI and introduce what the AI Brainstorming Workshop can offer those who are looking for ways to use AI. On these topics, we interviewed Fumiyuki Hashimoto, who develops Fujitsu AI business strategies.

From Artificial Intelligence (AI) to Intelligence Amplifier (IA)

The term AI has a history of more than 60 years; it was coined at the Dartmouth Conference in 1956. During what is known as the second AI boom in the 1980s, Fujitsu announced FACOMα, Japan's first computer equipped with AI, and KSA Intelligent Information System, an AI system. Fujitsu filed over 200 AI-related patent applications, making it the leader among Japanese IT vendors.

Fujitsu has always developed state-of-the-art AI. However, the AI envisioned by Fujitsu differs slightly from the commonly held notion of AI. Hashimoto explained that, “Many people think of science fiction movies, in which humans develop 'brain computing' or replace parts of the human body with machines. However, the AI envisioned by Fujitsu is something that supports human decision making by enabling machines to think on behalf of humans.”

Fumiyuki Hashimoto
Head of
Advanced Technologies Strategy Division.
Marketing Strategy Unit
AI Service Business Unit
Fujitsu Limited

He then pointed out that “Although people may think of AI as hostile to humans and depriving them of employment, as seen in science fiction movies, such concerns are unwarranted” and went on to say that “Thinking of AI as an Intelligence Amplifier (IA) rather than as Artificial Intelligence (AI) will show that it is something that amplifies human intelligence and supports our work and lives.”

The AI envisioned by Fujitsu is a human centric technology that assists and supports humans.

Thinking from Scratch--AI Workshops Focusing on Generating Ideas

Where exactly should we begin if we want to use AI? Despite their interest in AI, many feel they don't know which business field they can use AI in, don't know what to do first, or can't imagine what kind of benefits they can expect.

The Fujitsu Digital Transformation Center (DTC) holds workshops to give participants an opportunity to design AI utilization from scratch. Each workshop is a full six-hour session designed for a group of 20 to 30 participants.

Hashimoto described the targets of the workshop saying “This workshop does not target customers who intend to use AI for specific purposes, but rather those who want to tap their imaginations to consider using AI creatively. We recommend this workshop to those who have frequently come across topics on AI lately or were told by their companies to consider using AI but do not know how to get started.”

A scene from an actual session. People from various industries or departments participate in the workshop to join discussions.

Moving Past Stereotypes and Misunderstandings about AI and Designing a Future Goal

The AI workshop avoids the core question of “how should AI be used?” at the beginning. Instead, the currently popular design approach is used. Participants use Photo Cards to reflect on the present, think about the future and imagine what they want to achieve.

Brainstorming begins after the participants move past their stereotypes and misunderstandings about AI and are introduced to Fujitsu's concept of human-centric AI. Using the Inspiration Cards uniquely designed for the workshop, the participants select a theme and work on it.

Hashimoto described the aim of the workshop as follows: “Thinking of AI as technology may give you an image of something very demanding and even scary, making it difficult to generate fresh ideas. Thus, it is important to set AI aside for the moment and focus on what you wish to achieve.”

Also, participants' ideas can sometimes be achieved without using AI. Still, Hashimoto shared the following about the workshop's aim: “Even if it becomes clear that customers' goals can be achieved without using IT, we believe that participation in the workshop is meaningful so long as we can help customers properly understand their goals and achieve the best possible results.”

Fujitsu generates innovation with AI through co-creation with customers. Let's work together in the DTC workshop to imagine a future in which AI supports our work and lives.