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Moon vows more support for AI

The government will push for deregulation and expand subsidies to support the development of the country’s artificial intelligence-related industries, and a national AI strategy will be drawn up within the year, President Moon Jae-in said Monday. 

President Moon Jae-in tests a robot in Seoul on Monday. Yonhap
President Moon Jae-in tests a robot in Seoul on Monday. Yonhap

Speaking at Developers View 2019 -- the largest AI-related industry event held in Korea -- at the Coex exhibition center in Seoul, Moon pledged increased support for the industry, saying that the “era of AI” has arrived.

“We are not the country that opened the era of AI, nor is (the country’s AI industry) at the top of the world, but we have the ability to transform imagination into reality, and a people who take on new challenges,” Moon said.

Highlighting that the country has accumulated experience and know-how in information and communication technologies and other related fields, Moon said the country could develop the “most human-like and intelligent” AI by focusing on applying AI to fields in which Korea has an edge, such as manufacturing and semiconductors.

Moon then went on to list four ways in which the government will aid the private sector.

“To allow developers to turn their creativity into reality, (regulations) will be converted to comprehensive regulation, and divisions between fields will be brought down,” Moon said, adding that such measures will enable the country’s AI field to develop at a rapid pace.

He added that the government will contribute to the development of a “new global cooperation model” and roll out measures to attract talented individuals from around the world to Korea.

Such measures include establishing AI-related higher education institutes, expanding related departments at universities, and allowing university professors to hold positions in corporations.

The second part of the government measures Moon listed are aimed at aiding corporations to generate profit from AI-related businesses.

“The government has allocated 1.7 trillion won ($1.45 billion), up 50 percent from this year, to data, network and AI fields. An environment in which corporations can confidently invest in competitive fields and quickly generate profit will be established.”

As part of the measures, Moon also said that state funds will be focused on pioneering startups and that the government will invest in AI fields where local firms are making headway.

Moon added that public data will be made more accessible and more government investment will be made in cloud computing-related areas.

For the third part of the plan, Moon said the government will work to increase the use of AI by the public by making training programs available for all ages.

For the final part of the plan, Moon said his administration will create an “AI government” -- one that uses AI technology in government processes.

“The government will utilize and support AI most proactively,” Moon said.

“(The government) will go beyond having (a) world-class electronic government (system) to transform into an AI-based digital government, and provide high-standard services in environment, disasters, security, defense and other areas that are close to the people’s lives.”

By Choi He-suk (