AI development to get government boost after AlphaGo

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AI development to get government boost after AlphaGo

In the wake of the AlphaGo hype, the Korean government unveiled a slew of plans on Monday to speed up Korea’s development and commercialization of artificial intelligence (AI).

The country’s leading experts in AI and government officials met on Monday after realizing the crucial role that artificial intelligence will play in reshaping the world after the landmark Go match between top-ranked player Lee Se-dol and Google DeepMind’s AlphaGo.

The group, led by Vice Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Lee Kwan-sup, met at COEX in Samseong-dong, southern Seoul, to discuss where Korea’s technology stands compared to other leading countries, including the United States, Japan and in Europe, and how to further expand and speed up development of the technology.

At the meeting, the government promised to expand its budget that would finance such related companies and also ease regulations to help the industry grow.

“There are huge parts of AI that still need to be developed, which is a good thing, and the government plans to support those who are investing in this area and ease related regulations drastically in order to help them,” Lee said on Monday.

“AI technology will not only be commercialized very soon, but it will also have a big impact on other industries. The government will do its best to find ways to develop new markets.”

The ministry said it will increase its budget in supporting local companies developing robots, autonomous vehicles and drones from the current 13 billion won ($11 million) to 20 billion won this year.

Lee added that the government will spend 5 billion won every year for the next five to 10 years to train individuals in AI-related fields. The government will recruit researchers from major universities in Korea.

The ministry also decided to establish an AI industrialization team under the Korea Evaluation Institute of Industrial Technology to foster the technology and provide aid worth 10 billion won to the team.

The team will work together for five years, and its members will be tasked with finding new industries or markets that can benefit from AI technology. They will also establish a close relationship with local enterprises to regularly listen to their concerns.

The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning also established a new team last week that will observe and assist in the development of the AI industry. The team will work on improving regulations and securing some of the key technologies.

The government also plans to launch an AI research and development committee that will oversee the whole industry. Details on the plan are expected to be released next month.


BY KIM YOUNG-NAM [kim.youngnam@joongang.co.kr]

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