Tuesday 29th March 2016
$3bill of Artificial Intelligence R&D Planned in South Korea
After what has been dubbed the ‘AlphaGo shock’, South Korea is getting serious about artificial intelligence
South Korea, well known for its IT infrastructure, is promising 3.5 trillion won ($3 billion) in funding from the public and private sectors to develop artificial intelligence for corporate and university AI projects.
South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye assembled leaders across the country’s tech industry and senior government officials in Seoul last week to announce plans to invest the amount over the next five years.
It appears to be largely a reaction to the phenomenal performance of Google’s algorithm AlphaGo in an historic AI-versus-human game in Seoul earlier this month, which captured the South Korean media’s imagination.
“Above all, Korean society is ironically lucky, that thanks to the ‘AlphaGo shock’ we have learned the importance of AI before it is too late,” the president told local reporters assembled for the meeting, describing the game as a watershed moment of an imminent “fourth industrial revolution”.
South Korea will establish a new high-profile, public/private research centre with participation from several Korean conglomerates, including Samsung, LG, telecom giant KT, SK Telecom, Hyundai Motor, and internet portal Naver.
The institute was reportedly already in the works, but AlphaGo’s domination quickened the process of setting up the grouping. Some Korean media reports indicate that the institute could open its doors as early as 2017.
South Korea already funds two high-profile AI projects — Exobrain, which is intended to compete with IBM’s Watson computer, and Deep View, a computer vision project. – Philip Iglauer