Barking mad? AI chatbot dog for Osaka Pref. seniors retooled over … – The Mainichi

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The Mainichi Japan’s National Daily Since 1922
(Mainichi Japan)
Japanese version
OSAKA — An AI-powered program introduced by the Osaka Prefectural Government to tackle seniors’ social isolation has undergone revisions after complaints on social media about its political bias, it was learned on Sept. 13.
The “Chat with Dai-chan” program released earlier this month by the prefecture utilizes the generative AI ChatGPT. Complaints soon surfaced on X, the platform formerly called Twitter, that the program’s answers included extreme praise for the ruling Osaka Ishin (Osaka Innovation Party). While the prefecture claims the chat program also expressed positive opinions about other political parties, it was reportedly decided to revise the program so as not to comment on any specific parties.
The program was made with engineering support from Microsoft Japan Co. and others, and has been available through the prefecture’s official “Osaka Rakunavi” Line account since Sept. 7. Touted as the country’s first AI-based effort to address the social isolation of seniors, the program’s main feature is the ability to chat in the Kansai dialect of Japanese with a Shiba Inu dog named Dai-chan.
A user of the program posted an image of exchanges with Dai-chan on X, and it soon found its way across the platform, attracting comments pointing out that the AI dog lavishes high praise on Osaka Ishin. In the image, when asked, “What do you think of the Osaka Innovation Party?” Dai-chan responded in the Kansai dialect, “They seem to be thinking about Osaka’s future. They’re doing good work.”
According to the prefecture, Dai-chan was designed to offer positive responses, and could be confirmed to praise other parties, not arbitrarily favoring one. An official stated, “We’d like to make it so that its political neutrality is not called into question.” The program has reportedly been updated to say things such as, “I don’t know,” in response to prompts for opinions on political parties.
(Japanese original by Itsuo Tokubo, Osaka City News Department)
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