The 2nd Special Lecture and Discussion of “The Road to Digital Transformation to Change Society” series was held on January 11, 2022. Our guest speaker, Dr. Osamu Sudo, professor of the Faculty of International Information Studies and director of the ELSI Center at Chuo University, delivered a lecture on “Why is e-Government Necessary in Japan?” followed by a discussion with the participants.

Professor Sudo is the chair of the Cabinet Office’s Council of Human-Centered AI Social Principles and a leading expert on digital transformation (DX) research in Japan. In this lecture, he explained the expected changes in the paradigm shift caused by the digital revolution. He then talked about barriers for DX in Japan by comparing it with other countries.
The Japanese government started a plan in 2021 to deliver the benefits of DX and science and technology to all people, and the realization of DX is necessary to achieve “Society 5.0,” in which AI analyzes the vast amount of accumulated big data and feeds it back to human society. This society includes concepts such as the “digital twin,” which simulates the future by recreating the real in cyberspace based on various information obtained through the IoT. The “metaverse” creates a space different from that that currently exists. These concepts have in common that they involve a Cyber-Physical System (CPS) that analyzes data from the physical world in which we live in cyberspace and uses that data again in physical space.
However, there are numerous issues and barriers to achieving this kind of society. For instance, the profitability of deploying a 5G communications network as the basis of DX in rural areas and depopulated areas is controversial. In addition, when implementing DX in government and general business, there are issues such as public opinion on the “My Number” system and the variety of data formats among local governments and institutions for AI analysis. In addition, one of the key issues in Japan compared to other countries is that ICT human resources are concentrated in IT companies, and the execution of specific tasks related to the promotion of DX is dependent on such companies.
After Prof. Sudo’s lecture, a lively discussion ensued with a wide range of questions on reducing the bias of ICT human resources, cybersecurity issues, and the handling of personalities in the metaverse.

This lecture was available on the Manaba platform from January 11, 2022, to January 23, 2022.