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Japan PM Kishida faces questions from AI bot ChatGPT in Diet

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida responds to a question from Kazuma Nakatani of the opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan in the Diet on March 29, 2023. (Mainichi/Kan Takeuchi)

TOKYO -- An opposition legislator posed questions prepared by artificial intelligence chatbot ChatGPT to Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during a lower house committee session on March 29 in an apparent first for Japan's Diet.

    The questions, relating to a draft amendment, were conveyed by Kazuma Nakatani of the opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan during a House of Representatives Cabinet Committee session. Nakatani also introduced the "prime minister's response" created by ChatGPT. Kishida maintained that his response "reflects the actual situation better" than the answer created by the AI bot.

    According to Nakatani, it is the first time that AI has been used to question the prime minister during Diet deliberations. Regarding a proposed amendment to a bill to revise the law on special measures against new types of influenza and other illnesses, Nakatani reportedly asked ChatGPT, "If you were a lower house Diet member, what kind of questions would you ask the prime minister?" The questions prepared by ChatGPT read: "Are the opinions of local government and healthcare professionals being sufficiently reflected? And could you please tell me about the reactions of those involved in regards to the revised bill?"

    Nakatani then asked these questions directly to the prime minister and Kishida responded, "This bill has been amended to sufficiently respond to the opinions and requests (of involved parties)," among other comments.

    Nakatani then unveiled the prime minister's answer proposed by ChatGPT, which partially stated, "(The proposed amendment bill) is working to sufficiently reflect the opinions of local government and healthcare professionals." Nakatani praised the response as being "possibly sincerer and more focused than the prime minister's."

    Kishida responded that his own answer was "more specific in naming the people involved," among other information, drawing laughter in the committee chamber.

    The prime minister went on to note that conversational AI "has the potential to help administrative officials efficiently utilize more information if used appropriately," and said that he would like to "consider how to proceed with its application."

    (Japanese original by Hiroshi Odanaka, Political News Department)

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