On Tuesday, February 13, 2024, Professor Yasuhiko Tosaku of the University of California, San Diego, was invited as the guest speaker at the 48th installment of the “Future of Central Eurasia and Japan” public lecture series. Professor Tosaku’s lecture, titled “The Future of Generative AI and University Education – Ensuring Continuous Intellectual Growth,” explored the intersection of generative AI and the future of higher education.

Dr. Tosaku, typically a lecturer for “New Students Orientation,” delivered this public lecture in a hybrid format, allowing both in-person and online participation. During each session, Dr. Tosaku discussed the profound advancements in AI technology, exemplified by ChatGPT’s exponential growth to 1 billion users within two months of its November 2022 launch. Originally text-based, ChatGPT now accommodates voice, photo, and image inputs and outputs. Dr. Tosaku also discussed the impact of the latest trends on higher education.

Amid concerns over AI’s potential to displace human jobs, Dr. Tosaku emphasized the importance of nurturing human creativity, which is a quality that AI lacks.

In Japan, there have recently been a lot of discussions about an author who used ChatGPT to write and win the prestigious Akutagawa Prize, a well-known Japanese literary award. Dr. Tosaku stressed the necessity for people to embrace digital literacy and use AI as a tool in order to co-exist with AI technologies.

He concluded with a message addressed to students, faculty, and staff, advocating for a university education that cultivates human resources by taking advantage of human strengths. The lecture concluded with a lively Q&A session, receiving questions and comments from both the physical and online audiences. Remarkably, some online participants chose to attend in person to express their appreciation. The NipCA project will continue hosting such lectures, blending face-to-face and online interactions for future sessions.