AI is already being used in all kinds of services that we use every day, such as smartphones and marketing on electronic commerce (EC) sites. There are few people who have yet to encounter AI.
As the use of AI rises throughout the world, Proof of Concept (PoC) are being carried out in social infrastructure, factories, and other parts of the industrial field. The goals of these verification tests are to explore how AI can be used in business and where it can be used most effectively. However, the deployment of AI in operation requires AI that is highly reliable and high quality -- AI which can address the unique problems of the industrial field and its mission-critical systems, such as the large size and complexity of systems and the need to ensure that systems operate continuously, without interruption.
Typical software development, we create software that works reliably based on the rules designed according to the request that customer wants such a function. Many years of research and practical implementation have gone into creating the quality assurance processes used in this kind of software development. The Toshiba Group, as well, has established its own highly reliable quality assurance processes. However, with AI development, it's not enough to simply apply this quality assurance approach as-is. AI is designed based on customer requirements and created by performing learning on actual data. The training data determines how the AI will function. This makes it difficult to determine how the AI is actually operating, leading to it being called a "black box." Developing AI, whose operation involves this kind of uncertainty, requires a new quality assurance approach that takes these characteristics into consideration.
In Japan, there are growing calls for quality assurance for AI, and there are ongoing discussions on the topic within businesses, academic groups, and governmental organizations. For example, in Japan, the Consortium of Quality Assurance for Artificial-Intelligence-based Products and Services has been created to bring together experts to deliberate regarding AI quality assurance. In the industrial field, as well, organizations such as the Task Force on Evaluating the Reliability of AI in Plants have been established. Within the International Organization for Standardization/International Electrotechnical Commission (ISO/IEC) there is also rising momentum to explore the issue of quality assurance for AI.
In response to these domestic and international AI quality assurance movements, Toshiba is leveraging the technologies and expertise it has accrued to create AI quality Management systems. These systems are based on the latest approaches to quality assurance for AI. Toshiba's goal is to produce AI that is used in actual society and which people can feel safe using (Fig. 1).