Rakuten, a big company in Japan, is getting ready to create its own special artificial intelligence language model. The CEO, Hiroshi “Mickey” Mikitani, shared this plan. Rakuten wants to be part of the technology trend by developing this advanced AI model. Mikitani mentioned that they are currently working on a large language model (LLM), which is a big computer program trained with a lot of data. These programs are essential for various AI applications, similar to OpenAI’s ChatGPT.
Rakuten is involved in various businesses, including banking, e-commerce, and telecommunications. Because of this, the company has a lot of special and unique data that it can use to train its large language model (LLM), as mentioned by Mikitani. He emphasized that Rakuten possesses a dataset that is unlike any other, making it distinct and valuable for their AI training.
Rakuten’s Big Moves in AI
The company intends to utilize the AI model within its own operations, aiming to enhance operational efficiency and marketing by 20%, as stated by Mikitani. Additionally, he expressed the desire to make the model available to other businesses, similar to how Amazon and Microsoft operate.
“We can easily teach and package it for them [businesses], providing a platform for them to use it in their operations,” Mikitani explained. The CEO mentioned that Rakuten plans to have something ready within the next couple of months.
A spokesperson from Rakuten clarified that there isn’t a set schedule for the launch. Instead, there might be an announcement about its large language model in the next couple of months.
So far, prominent technology companies in the United States and China have been introducing their own large language models. Noteworthy examples from the U.S. include OpenAI, Amazon, and Google. In China, companies like Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent have also launched their own models.
Japanese companies have been somewhat lagging behind their counterparts in the U.S. and China, but they are making efforts to catch up rapidly.
NTT, a telecommunications group, recently revealed that its own large language model (LLM) will be accessible in March. Additionally, the telecommunications division of SoftBank announced in November that its generative AI computing platform is up and running.
Japanese companies have an opportunity to develop LLMs specifically tailored to the Japanese language, potentially giving them a competitive advantage over their U.S. and Chinese competitors. According to Mikitani, the expansion into AI is expected to bring “significant profitable growth” to Rakuten.
Rakuten’s bold entry into AI signifies a strategic move towards innovation and growth. With plans to develop a proprietary language model and leverage diverse business data, Rakuten aims to enhance efficiency and extend its AI model to other businesses. This proactive approach aligns with Japan’s push to bridge the technology gap.