English Newspaper Advanced / Headline News

Government Plans to Develop Artificial Intelligence Technologies0“It’s going to be interesting to see how society deals with artificial intelligence, but it will definitely be cool.” – Colin Angle, the co-founder of iRobot Corporation

Many people were mesmerized when Lee Se-dol, the world’s Go grandmaster, faced off against Google’s artificial intelligence program AlphaGo in Seoul on Mar. 9-15. Lee lost the match of the century to everybody’s chagrin.

People were awestruck by the inexorable performance of the supercomputer with artificial intelligence, while sympathizing with Lee who was fighting against the artificial intelligence with all his soul and might.

The event provided a chance to think of the need to develop artificial intelligence technologies and cultivate related industries. In this regard, the government is planning to secure a budget of W1 trillion over the next five years to develop artificial intelligence.

Specifically, the government will set up a joint public-private research and development center over the next months to focus on AI technologies. With government support, six corporations – Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, Hyundai Motor, SK Telecom, KT, and Naver – will take part in the operation of the R&D center.

This plan was unveiled by Minister of Science, ICT and Future Planning Choi Yang-hee in a meeting of government officials, business leaders, and experts held under the stewardship of President Park Geun-hye at Cheong Wa Dae on Mar. 17.

According to the plan, the center will be set up with a capital fund of W18 billion, W3 billion from each of the six corporations. Initially, the center will open with a staff of about 50 researchers. The center will be run by the private corporations, with a research fund to be provided by the government.

The ministry will support AI research by pouring a total amount of W978.8 billion into the center by 2020, starting with an initial investment of W138.8 billion this year. It also hopes to raise another W2.5 trillion from the private sector during the same period.

The key to success in the development of new AI technologies lies in how to improve productivity of research and development. The productivity could be improved only through innovation.

Indeed, there exists fierce competition in intelligence information technology in the world. The United States has pumped $3 billion in the BRAIN Initiative project for 10 years since 2013. The German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) has focused on the vertical integration of automation and information technology. Japan has put forth a new AI robot strategy with the purpose of taking the initiative in a new robot revolution.

By the way, there are some concerns whether the government’s plan on such an AI research center to be built under its own initiative could be operated efficiently, given that each participating corporation has different business and research interests. It now remains to be seen how the R&D center will be run and what it will produce for the country’s development of new AI technologies.



Chung Myung-je
The World Times Editor

Comprehension Questions:

1. How did people react after the recent match of Lee Se-dol and AlphaGo?
2. What did the event provide? What actions is the government planning to do?
3. State what the different countries have done which shows the existence of fierce technological competition.

Debate Questions:

1. What do you think is the importance of developing new AI technologies?
2. Do you think AI will cause unemployment (loss of jobs) in the future or will create more jobs? Defend your answer.
3. At present, what activities are computers better at than humans and vice-versa? Give at least two.

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