Mizuho to allow 45k employees to test OpenAI.

On Tuesday, June 27, Mizuho, Japan’s third-largest banking institution, announced that it will allow all of its 45,000 employees in Japan to use Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI from this week.

This makes Mizuho Group the first financial company in Japan to use generative AI. Niu Dujungang, head of the company’s digitalization, stated that access to Azure OpenAI services will first be available to the loan business department.

He also added that several employees already have hands-on experience using OpenAI’s ChatGPT application in their daily lives. Additionally, employees at Mizuho Bank have been quite optimistic about the application and believe that it would bring disruptive innovation.

One of the proposed uses of the AI tool will be to serve as a “one-stop reference point for the bank’s vast trove of internal rules, processes, and other manuals”.

Mizuho Bank’s current stance on AI is quite different from what banks in North America have been doing. Several banks in America have been seeking to impose restrictions on the use of AI tools. Mizuho Bank stated that they are aware of the risks of using AI, however, they believe that the guidelines will help mitigate these potential issues.

According to Bloomberg, Wall Street banks, including Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and Wells Fargo, are imposing restrictions on the use of ChatGPT. This move is aimed at proactively safeguarding against any potential unintended effects. However, Mizuho, a bank in Japan, is embracing OpenAI’s tool, although Japan’s privacy watchdog has issued a warning regarding its use.

Mizuho Bank to Make Employees Aware of AI

Niu Dujungang stated that the bank will hold an idea marathon in July to encourage employees to try the new technology. Currently, Mizuho Bank is using generative AI to provide references and suggestions for employees to review complex internal rules, procedures, and more.

Toshitake Ushiwatari, general manager of Mizuho Bank’s digital planning department, said:

“It’s like poking a beehive. They think it will completely reset the world, triggering disruptive innovation.”

He acknowledged the potential risks associated with generative AI and mentioned that the bank will provide guidelines to employees regarding information management, intellectual property, and ethics when implementing this technology. However, Ushiwatari emphasized that despite the risks, generative AI has the power to benefit society, and the bank cannot ignore its potential. He stated, “This is a necessary step for us; otherwise, we will fall behind.”