Nextremer’s AI-Samurai: Combining Tradition and Technology

Nextremer: The company behind AI-Samurai

Office Space of Nextremer

Nextremer is a company based in Tokyo’s Itabashi district aiming to contribute to an innovative society. Changes brought by technologies should create an inventive working atmosphere leading to innovative business opportunities.
Nextremer especially focuses on the question how artificial intelligence should be incorporated in human society. Therefore they dedicate themselves in a wide range of researches and developments in the field of conversation technology. One of their products – dialogue engine – intends to enable communication between artificial intelligence and humans. This engine would not only be applicable to robots, but also to all kinds of devices like tablets or smartphones.

What is AI-Samurai?

Close-up of AI-Samurai!
Fujiyama-san talking to Nextremer's AI Engineer Naoki Sawada
Fujiyama-san talking to Nextremer’s AI Engineer Naoki Sawada

Embodying Nextremer’s aim to incorporate artificial intelligence in human society, AI-Samurai was originally designed to provide visitors of events and conferences all around the world with information of the venue, navigation service and other recommendations. Yet, AI-Samurai does not serve as a representative of Nextremer’s service or products in general but rather serves as advertisement for the company’s conversation technology. The image of a samurai was chosen because people abroad are still fascinated by traditional culture of which samurai and their armors are an important part of.
Equipped with a dialogue engine AI-Samurai is able to engage in idle talk. Its information and guidance capabilities were already tested at counters of banks. As of November 19th AI-Samurai will be tested at highway service areas providing customers guidance and information. Currently Version 2 of AI-Samurai is not only able to converse but can also compose.
As the demand for public appearances on TV shows rises, so rises the interest of other industries in AI-Samurai. One offer for example would be its application as a multi-lingual tourist information system at airports.

Here’s a short video by Nextremer introducing AI-Samurai!

AI-Samurai’s debut

AI-Samurai’s appearance at Texa’s SXSW (South by Southwest) Interactive, an event for tech startups from all over the world, in March 2016 marked its first stop overseas. Its unique appearance and ability to communicate with visitors of SXSW made it quite popular during the event. Also, the combination of IT and samurai surely captivates people. But the impression AI-Samurai makes on people depends on the cultural background. People from the west are fascinated by the concept of combining new technology with traditional look. Japanese on the other hand are just surprised at first but then take it for normal as they are used to such displays.
As AI-Samurai was mainly constructed to be displayed at events overseas it was only able to converse in English at first. Through its conversations with visitors during events AI-Samurai gradually learned and is now able to also converse in Japanese.

A message from Nextremer

From here on out we further want to strive to present Japan’s A.I. technology at domestic events and abroad! AI-Samurai will not only serve as the ambassador of conversation technology but also as a proof, that traditional Japanese culture is still alive in today’s society.

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