Women in Tech: Japanese & International Trailblazers

February 24, 2021
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Online Panel Discussion

Wednesday, February 24, 6:30 PM EST   Calculate your local time

Join us for the program: https://youtu.be/inmpFgZCXMs

From virtual reality to artificial intelligence, much of today’s hot technology is being pioneered by outstanding women. Dr. Noriko Arai is the director of the Todai Robot Project, which created an AI that scored in the top 20% on Japanese university entrance exams, exceeding the cutoff score for several well-known colleges. Yuka Kojima co-founded FOVE Inc., inventing the world’s first virtual-reality headset that can track eye movements to allow for unprecedented realism. And Sara Hooker is at the forefront of artificial intelligence research at Google Brain, focusing on deep learning, a subfield of machine learning inspired by brain mechanics. At this panel discussion, Arai, Kojima and Hooker share their career stories and experience working in various tech roles, and offer advice for how women can excel in the tech workplace. Moderated by NHK World’s Catherine Kobayashi.

Program Details:
This is a free event, with advance registration required. The program will be live-streamed through YouTube, and registrants will receive the viewing link by email on the event day. Participants can submit questions through YouTube during the livestream. Partly in Japanese, with English interpretation provided.

Program Handout:
Women in Tech: Japanese & International Trailblazers (PDF)

Noriko Arai received her doctoral degree in science from Tokyo Institute of Technology in 1998. Her research interests are quite interdisciplinary: mathematical logic, artificial intelligence, cognitive science, math education, computer supported collaborative learning, science of science policy (SoSP) etc. She has been serving as invited speakers and program committee members in many international conferences in these research areas. As the director of the center of Research Center for Community Knowledge at National Institute of Informatics (Japan), she is leading several projects. Netcommons Project, Researchmap Project, Todai Robot Project, Reading Skill Test Project etc. NetCommons is the most popular content management system used in Japanese schools. More than 5,000 schools are now using NetCommons as their websites. Researchmap, Japanese Science of Science Policy (SoSP) platform, started in 2009, and more than 0.3 million researchers are now using it to manage their research inputs and outputs. It covers most of active researchers and their activities in Japan. She is directing an AI project "Can an AI pass the entrance exams of the University of Tokyo (Todai Robot Project)" since 2011, which was covered by not only major national media but also by international media including The New York Times. Her talk at TED, "Can an AI pass the entrance exams of the University of Tokyo?", has been translated to 23 languages and watched by 1.6 million people. Her recent interest has shifted to design "Reading Skill Test" to measure one’s literacy. She was awarded many prizes including Prizes for Science and Technology, the Commendation for Science and Technology by Ministry of Education and Technology in 2010, Nexplo Awards in 2016.

Sara Hooker is a research scholar at Google Brain doing deep learning research on reliable explanations of model predictions for black-box models. Her main research interests gravitate towards interpretability, model compression and security. In 2014, she founded Delta Analytics, a non-profit dedicated to bringing technical capacity to help non-profits across the world use machine learning for good. She grew up in Africa, in Mozambique, Lesotho, Swaziland, South Africa, and Kenya. Her family now lives in Monrovia, Liberia.

Yuka Kojima is the CEO & Co-Founder of the eyesight-tracking VR headset company FOVE Inc. Kojima previously worked at Sony Interactive Entertainment and Gree as a game producer, and raised a cumulative $20 million from Foxconn, Samsung, NIKON and other companies. Approximately 8000 units of the VR headset have been sold. Kojima has been recognized as one of Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia and Nikkei’s Woman of the Year, and received an award from the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, among other honors.

Catherine Kobayashi is a news anchor/reporter for NHK WORLD-JAPAN based in New York City. Before moving to New York in 2017, she worked in Tokyo as one of the lead anchors for NHK NEWSLINE, NHK WORLD-JAPAN’s flagship program. In March 2011, Catherine and her team worked tirelessly to report on the Great East Japan Earthquake and the nuclear emergency in Fukushima. In February 2009, Catherine launched NHK WORLD’s 24-hour international broadcasting service, a first for any Japanese network.

Business & Policy Programs at Japan Society are generously sponsored by the following corporations:



Talks+ Programs at Japan Society are generously sponsored by MUFG (Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group).

Additional support is provided by an anonymous donor and the Sandy Heck Lecture Fund.

  • Wednesday, February 24, 2021
  • 6:30 pm