Feb 04, 2021PRESS RELEASE

Rikkyo University and BizReach form business-academia partnership for AI deployment in society:
Aiming at establishing new joint research scheme between Japan’s 1st AI-specialized graduate school and IT firm
First joint study to focus on qualitative information on “people’s sense of values”

Keyword:RESEARCH

OBJECTIVE.

Rikkyo University’s Graduate School of Artificial Intelligence and Science and BizReach, Inc., which belongs to the Visional Group, have concluded a joint research agreement for the purpose of deployment of artificial intelligence in society. Starting April 30, 2020, the first AI-specialized graduate school in the country and BizReach will launch joint research.

Background of the business-academic partnership:

The government set a goal of annually fostering 250,000 personnel specializing in AI

To realize the government-set goal of realizing “Society 5.0,” it will be necessary to utilize AI and other state-of-the-art technologies, but it is estimated that the country will run short of about 120,000 AI-specialized human resources in 2030 (see Note 1). Therefore, the government drew up “AI Strategy 2019” in June 2019 and aims to annually foster 250,000 AI-specialized human resources through 2025 by setting new goals in all education curricula (Note 2).

Rikkyo University sets up Japan’s first AI-specialized graduate school and launches joint research with BizReach

Rikkyo University opened the Graduate School of Artificial Intelligence and Science, Japan’s first graduate school specialized in AI, in April 2020, believing that it will be important not only to reform classroom activities but also to make use of AI in the field of business. Different from the conventional AI research at universities centering on basic research, the program at the newly opened graduate school is characterized by promoting the link between AI research and business, and the joint research with BizReach is part of such efforts. The graduate school aims to deploy further advanced AI in society at an early date through the collaboration with BizReach, which has an in-company AI research body and experience of having applied AI technology in business.

Features of this partnership

Aim to establish new scheme to realize the global-standard utilization of AI technology in business

Rapidly growing IT companies in such countries as the United States, South Korea and India are making practical use of AI technology in business in various ways, resulting in achieving technological innovation. For instance, they actively conduct joint research with venture companies managed by university professors and acquisition of AI firms, among other examples. On the other hand, in not a few cases in Japan, IT firms are lagging behind in building infrastructure for data collection and accumulation. Or, lack of human resources with knowledge and expertise on advanced technology is making it difficult to sufficiently utilize advanced technology in business, hindering the promotion of innovation.

Through this joint research, Rikkyo University and BizReach will establish a new scheme to apply advanced AI technologies in the hands of a university research institution to business. Furthermore, both parties share the goal that the scheme will help promote AI application in business among Japan’s IT sector.

<Scheme to realize the joint research between Rikkyo University and BizReach>

The scheme’s features: 3 elements for realizing the early deployment of AI in society

BizReach
1)Data: Basic foundation for collecting and accumulating massive and high-quality data
2)AI-, IT-specialized engineers: Engineers knowledgeable in system construction and service development that deals with big data, and those with a doctoral degree in computer science or physics

Rikkyo University
3)Human resources in the most advanced AI research: Research institute and human resources expertly promoting the most advanced AI research

1) Basic foundation for collecting and accumulating massive and high-quality data

BizReach has built a high-quality basic foundation for handling data through anonymization of personal data and denoising in order to safely and smoothly use data from its “BIZREACH” site for job change, which the company has operated for more than 10 years. This has made it possible for the company’s AI group with specialized knowledge in the field to promptly use data and build a machine-learning model.

2) Engineers knowledgeable in system construction and service development that deals with big data, and those with a doctorfal degree in computer science and other science fields

About 30 percent of BizReach employees are engineers working on the product development of the firm’s own services. These engineers have gained experience of conducting iterative development at high speed, in which they have AI models produced for research and proof of concept undergo the learning process once again with massive data, put them to actual service, receive responses from customers and improve them. Through this process, it will become possible to steadily make use of AI models in business, instead of leaving them simply a concept or a trial production. In addition, the company’s AI group has multiple members with a doctoral degree in computer science and other science fields, and they have contributed papers to academic conferences and made presentations at international conferences. With the participation of such human resources with the practical ability to work as software engineers in the joint research, while having smooth discussions with researchers, it will become possible to maximize the effects of this research.

3) Human resources promoting the most advanced AI research

Rikkyo University’s Graduate School of Artificial Intelligence and Science has many instructors well versed in a variety of AI-related fields, making it possible to conduct the most advanced AI research. Specifically, it has human resources with scholarly understanding of machine learning, including deep learning, and mathematical models as well as knowledge of information science and statistics. Through constant acquisition of theories from the latest research papers and utilizing international human connections, it will become possible to make use of ideas and the most advanced research that have yet to become public knowledge in the form of research papers.

Overview of the joint research

First joint research focuses on the discovery of “sense of values in career”

As their first joint research, Rikkyo University’s Graduate School of Artificial Intelligence and Science and BizReach will try to discover the “sense of values in career” with the use of artificial intelligence by using data from the “BIZREACH” site, which is one of the country’s largest platforms for job change. Key indexes in the choice of career include not only quantitative ones, such as annual salary, business and job category, and working conditions, but also qualitative indexes for individual preference, which can be called “individual sense of value,” such as worthwhileness to work and company culture. The two parties’ joint research is intended to have AI analyze “sense of values in career,” whose quantitative analysis has been difficult, by making use of the advanced research on deep learning, a field the graduate school is focusing on. Through this effort, the “BIZREACH” recruitment site will aim to improve customers’ service experiences by establishing a new career change model that is different from conventional ones and broadening career options and possibilities.

Results from this joint research are expected to be utilized for providing information and developing functions for the purpose of offering improved services for individual members of the “BIZREACH” recruitment site. In this joint research, personal information obtained from site users will not be provided to Rikkyo University. The use of data from the “BIZREACH” site for this research will be limited completely within the range of members’ approval, by giving prior notifications of “terms of service and handling of personal information” at the time of their publication and change as well as calling for attention at the time of users’ service registration. In the stage of data analysis, attention will be paid to security by using anonymized data.

In-company AI research institute enables the joint research while protecting personal information

In this joint research, personal information obtained through the “BIZREACH” site users will never be provided to Rikkyo University.


1. Devising hypothesis, production of dataset (by BizReach, Rikkyo University)
Both parties will devise a hypothesis for solving problems through discussions. They will also produce dataset (a set of data used to produce a learning model by machine-learning algorithms and to evaluate its accuracy) necessary for their experiments based on dummy data that is statistically produced from public information and service data.
2. Drafting theory outline (Rikkyo University)
The university will conduct experiments to draw the “sense of values in career” through deep learning and other methods and draft the theory outline.
3. Experiments with anonymized data, visualization of research outcome (BizReach)
Based on the theory and experiment methods proposed by Rikkyo University, BizReach’s AI team will conduct experiments using anonymized behavior records (history of browsing or application to employment offers) of “BIZREACH” recruitment site members, and visualize the research outcome.
4. Re-discussion (BizReach, Rikkyo University)
Based on the outcome in No. 3, BizReach and Rikkyo University will have another discussion. By repeating the processes from Nos. 1 to 4, the two parties will aim to establish a theory and put it into practical use on an earliest possible date.

Outline of the joint research agreement

1. Name of this agreement: Agreement on the comprehensive educational and research cooperation concerning artificial intelligence and other fields
2. Date of execution of the agreement: April 30, 2020
3. Purpose of the agreement: This agreement aims at promoting the business-academic partnership in such fields as human resource exchange, students’ career development and joint research in order to promote AI utilization in business and its deployment in society, as well as both parties’ development and contribution to society.
4. Content of this agreement:
(1) Joint research of AI technology
(2) Students’ career development
(3) Human resource exchange in the joint research
(4) Other items the two parties recognize necessary for the business-academia partnership

(Note 1) Prime Minister’s Office: “Future Investment Strategy 2018 – Innovations toward ‘Society 5.0’ ‘Data-driven Society’”; Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry: “Research on the supply and demand of IT human resources (outline)”
(Note 2) Cabinet Office: “AI Strategy 2019 – AI for Everyone: People, Industries, Regions and Governments”

Comment By Yasunobu Uchiyama, dean of Graduate School of Artificial Intelligence and Science, Rikkyo University

Newly established at Rikkyo University, the Graduate School of Artificial Intelligence and Science will actively promote the business-academia partnership, with the wish to link the world of basic research with the world of business as one of its goals. As part of the effort, we will launch joint research with BizReach, Inc. to find out what sense of values businesspeople have in their jobs through the use of the deep-learning technique in the big data the company has accumulated. If the AI technology developed through this joint research can detect the sense of values the businesspeople themselves have yet to recognize, it could be tantamount to discovering a wonderful acquaintance in the digital space and will become a profit returned by the basic study to society.

Comment By Ken Edahiro, chief strategy officer of BizReach, Inc.

A member firm in the Visional Group, BizReach, Inc. founded a research body specialized in AI in 2016, where members with high technical capabilities, including those with a doctoral degree, engage in cross-field research and development, and advance the link between the AI research and business by utilizing data accumulated through our business activities. In addition, through the business-academia partnership with Rikkyo University, which undertakes thorough studies of advanced technology, we would like to further promote the link between most advanced technology and business, and provide new possibilities in the choice of career. It will be our pleasure if utilization of advanced AI technology in business will become active and will help promote innovations in Japan as a result that this scheme is widely known to other universities and businesses.

About Rikkyo University’s Graduate School of Artificial Intelligence and Science

The school is Japan’s first graduate school specialized in AI. It not only focuses on knowledge and technology on AI and data science but also on practical expertise to realize the solution of various social problems through the application of advanced technology. By offering classes mainly on weekday evenings and Saturdays, the school provides an environment for adult, working students to attend the school.

About BizReach, Inc.

BizReach, Inc. has been offering a variety of online services to support the future workstyle since April 2009. In addition to its Tokyo headquarters, the company has bases in Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka. It operates “BIZREACH (the founding business),” the premier career networking platform for professionals, recruiters and talent seeking employer in Japan. The platform has pioneered the concept of directing sourcing in the recruitment industry and due to its impact, is often referred to as the “Japanese Linkedin”; “HRMOS,” a HR platform; “Careertrek,” a career matching platform for those in their 20s; and “BizReach CAMPUS,” a networking service site to link students with alumni. The company mainly engages in businesses in human resource technology and cloud services in the Visional Group, which was established in February 2020, when the company shifted to a group management system.

About Visional

The Visional Group was established in February 2020 as a result of BizReach changing its operation to the group management system. The group aims to change “challenges” into “new possibilities” and contribute to creating the future. The group is undertaking various businesses that help improve corporate productivity through its group companies, including BizReach, Inc., which operates human resource technology and cloud service businesses; Visional Incubation, which undertakes new business development; and Trabox, which offers logistics technology services.

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