Recently, the ministry of science and ICT in South Korea unveiled a 2.2 trillion won ( $2.5 Billion) budget for research and development in AI as well as the expansion of AI-based infrastructure as part of the country’s effort to turn the nation into an artificial intelligence (AI) leader by 2022. This announcement was made at a time when South Korea is seeking to offer assistance to local technological development not only to be at par with regional counterparts but also to minimize foreign dependence.
Based on a memorandum released by the country’s ministry of science and ICT on 15th May 2018, AI creates part of the Data-Network-AI (DNA) framework for her approach to the 4th industrial revolution. The allocation of 2.2 trillion won to AI research and development, as well as infrastructure, aims to create both talent and skill in the field in a bid to provide South Korea with a considerable head-start, especially against global competition.
The 2.2 trillion won budget is expected to be allocated to several large-scale projects, especially in public safety, medicine and national defense. Also, it will be used in creating six artificial intelligence (AI) graduate schools aimed at cultivating 5,000 AI experts as well as reinforcing public-private collaborations in AI research and development. The proposed specialists will include 3600 data management experts and 1400 AI researchers, who will offer the much-needed backbone that South Korea will depend on to spearhead its AI development.
By nurturing the growth of artificial intelligence, South Korea intends to catch up eventually with other countries such as Japan and China in an attempt to emerge as an AI powerhouse globally by 2022. The allocation of 2.2 trillion won by the country’s ministry of science and ICT to place the nation as a foremost player in international AI R&D serves as a response to the uneven amount of investment that international and regional competitors are receiving.
Recently, one of China’s cities, Tianjin, unveiled plans to set aside funds estimated about 100 billion yuan to boost the growth the local artificial intelligence (AI) industry. In comparison, the 2.2 trillion won budget announced by South Korea is slightly over an eighth of the budget that was revealed by the City of Tianjin. Additionally, South Korea’s ministry for science and ICT admits that the nation’s progress, particularly in artificial intelligence, trails considerably behind that of both the United States and China. However, it boasts suitable conditions for AI development because of the accumulation of large volumes of data.
You Young-min, the minister for science and ICT, said that the fourth industrial revolution serves as both an opportunity and crisis for South Korea, which depends on its citizens as its main resource. He also noted that the fourth industrial revolution era is a smart world in which there is a high degree of both digital and human connectedness. By setting aside finances for AI search and development, the country hopes to build a better foundation to take advantage of technological developments, mainly for socio-economic development.
Aside from financing AI research R&D and expansion of artificial intelligence (AI)-based infrastructure, a portion of the budget will be used to fund the development of South Korea’s Supercomputer No.5. In turn, small and medium as well as startups will be in a position to use it, once it is fully operational.