Gov’t to spend 2.2 trillion won on national AI program

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Gov’t to spend 2.2 trillion won on national AI program

Korea will invest 2.2 trillion won ($2 billion) in developing core artificial intelligence (AI) technology over five years with the aim of becoming a global powerhouse in the sector by 2022, the ICT Ministry said Tuesday.

Under the plan announced by the Ministry of Science and ICT, the South Korean government will spearhead a national program on AI, including research and development, to join the list of world powers.

“The government believes obtaining AI core technologies by joining hands with private corporations will not only achieve a global standard but eventually nurture talented people and quality jobs,” Chang Byung-gyu, the head of a presidential committee to spearhead the fourth industrial revolution, told reporters in Seoul. “We aim to reach the global top four by 2022.”

The government said it aims to indigenously develop technologies on par with other leading countries, led by the United States and China, and eventually reduce dependence on them.

The level of AI technology by South Korea is about 78.1 percent that of the U.S., the ministry said. However, the local environment to utilize AI technology is in good condition.

The ministry will first spearhead mega-sized AI projects in the fields of defense, medicine, and safety, officials said.

The government will conduct detailed research during the first half of this year to decide whether to conduct an R&D project on AI chips worth 1 trillion won, officials said.

AI-based processors have huge potential for use in various deep learning technologies, including neural network computations, the ministry said.

The ministry will further earmark the budget for development and research of brain science, considered a foundation of next-generation AI technologies including machine learning and neural networks.

The government said it also recognizes the need for research into cutting-edge technologies by joining hands with start-ups and corporations in the field.

The size of the global AI market is expected to reach approximately $52.2 billion in 2021, up from $7.81 billion in 2016, the ministry said.

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