Japanese city becomes country’s first to use ChatGPT to help with administrative tasks

Faced with a worker shortage and intrigued by the potential for improving efficiency, one Japanese city has made the decision to leverage the artificial intelligence bot ChatGPT across its workforce to see if it is worth all the hype.

The city of Yokosuka in Kanagawa Prefecture on Thursday began a one-month trial allowing each of its 4,000 municipal employees to use OpenAI’s ChatGPT for administrative tasks as a way to boost operations, becoming the first city in the nation to embrace the new technology, The Japan Times reported.

“With the population decreasing, the number of employees is limited. However, there are many administrative challenges,” Takayuki Samukawa, a public relations representative for Yokosuka’s digital management department, told the outlet.

“So we aim to use useful ICT [Information Communication Technology] tools, like ChatGPT, to free up human resources for things that can only be done in a person-to-person format.”

Altman met with the Japanese PM to discuss the chatbot.

In this photo illustration, ChatGPT logo of a chatbot launched by OpenAI is seen on a smartphone in a hand.
The city of Yokosuka in Kanagawa Prefecture will use OpenAI’s ChatGPT for administrative tasks.
Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Samukawa said the city plans to use ChatGPT during its trial for tasks like summarizing and drafting documents and developing copy for marketing and communications, according to the report.

While Yokosuka is the first city in Japan to give ChatGPT a chance, the federal government signaled it is open to adopting the tool across the nation following a visit from OpenAI CEO Sam Altman earlier this month.

Altman met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and other officials on April 10 to discuss the new chatbot’s benefits and risks. 

Afterward, the CEO said he is considering opening an OpenAI office in the country, and Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said once security concerns about the technology were addressed, the government would work to “use AI to reduce the workloads of national public servants.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

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