Recent progress in artificial intelligence has been immense and has now started making its way from labs to industry. The proliferation of data, improvements in computing and drop in storage prices have led to revolution in data mining and machine learning. Artificial Intelligence has many direct and indirect influence on Sustainable Development Goals, and is therefore keenly discussed in various forums of United Nations. UN and many countries are fostering partnership and alliances, and making key changes in legal structures for promulgating AI adoption and funding.
Many countries are looking at capitalizing the Artificial Intelligence wave for optimizing economic and social benefits. South Korea has been rated for a number of years very highly on UN e-government index because of state-of-art technology infrastructure, skill base and technology innovations both in public and private sector. The country has a competitive regional landscape in AI led innovations. China & Japan are already recognized for their cutting edge innovations in large scale public service. South Korea announced National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence in 2019.
“The advancement of AI will lead humanity into a world never experienced before. AI will not only affect industrial sectors but also solve many issues facing our society” -Moon Jae, President, South Korea
The strategy calls for implementation of 100 action plans, based on nine overarching strategies in this era of Fourth Industrial revolution. Some of the obvious targets of this strategy are:
Expanded digital/ data infrastructure
- Data is key for understanding and making business decisions. The strategy aims to make public data Open across all ministries.
- Encourage participation of private enterprises on a big data platform for using public data from key sectors such as Finance, telecom, communications etc. This would also help broaden adoption of AI in tradition industries.
- Establishment an AI hub with the aim of expanding AI based R&D in areas such as:
- Building and expanding data for AI learning
- Software and high performance computing.
- Strengthen data mapping between public and private sectors. This would encourage development of common data terminology for private and public sectors.
- Government would introduce AI vouchers for new businesses that are expected to bring spill over effect. The vouchers will help businesses offer AI solutions.
Comprehensively convert or remove cumbersome regulations to create a more favorable environment for development and use of AI
- Identify burdensome regulations which are preventing organization to introduce AI solutions with the basic direction “allow first and regulate later”.
- AI era is introducing certain social changes, the existing legal system/ framework in place should accordingly be amended to appropriately reflect technological developments and social changes.
Building the best performing Digital Government
The strategy encourages all ministries to optimally employ AI. The government services are expected to transition into delivering customized and intelligent offerings. It includes realization of next generation intelligent governments and innovation in public services.
AI Use Cases in South Korea
Welfare: AI care robot ‘Dasomi’ talks to the elderly when they do not speak for 30 minutes, and automatically calls guardian if elderly person does not move for 5 hours.
Education: AI-powered English assistant teacher of Seoul Metropolitan Office of education can speak with students, and quiz them.
Manufacturing: At POSCO’s second hot rolling plant, AI reduces energy input by 2% by collecting and analyzing manufacturing environment data through dozens of sensors in factory.
Agriculture: Container farms can harvest high quality crops up to 13 times per year by controlling environment using AI.
Security: AI can quickly find out illegal pictures distributed online and deletes them (jointly developed by Ministry of Science and ICT and Ministry of Gender Equality and Family)