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PlayStation 'father' Ken Kutaragi becomes CEO of AI startup

Tokyo-based Ascent Robotics puts Sony veteran and board member in charge

Ken Kutaragi will apply his experience in developing Sony's PlayStation to speed up the commercialization of AI-assisted technology.(Photo by Koji Uema)

TOKYO -- Former Sony executive Ken Kutaragi, often called the "father" of the PlayStation video game system, has been named CEO of Tokyo-based startup Ascent Robotics.

Ascent develops artificial-intelligence technologies for self-driving cars and other applications.

Kutaragi said in a statement that he hopes to "drive the team forward on both the technology and business fronts." He joined the company's board in 2018.

Ascent announced Kutaragi's appointment on Friday. Kutaragi said he took the post in late August. Outgoing CEO Masayuki Ishizaki becomes chief operating officer.

The former Sony chief operating officer retired in 2007 as chairman of Sony Computer Entertainment, the Japanese group's video game arm, now known as Sony Interactive Entertainment.

Since leaving Sony, he has been active in Japan's startup scene. He sits on the boards of app developer SmartNews and Tokyo-listed GA Technologies, which operates an AI-enhanced real estate listing website.

Kutaragi has also served on the boards of e-commerce group Rakuten, publishing house Kadokawa and video game developer Marvelous.

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