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How smart is Korea's artificial intelligence? Updated: 2019-03-25 19:03:08 KST


This smart mirror doesn't just show your reflection.

"Show me the news."

Picking up your voice and gestures,.. it displays your favorite media contents, daily schedule and even makeup tutorials as you get ready in the morning.
Skelter Labs is one of South Korea's budding start-ups in artificial intelligence, aiming to change everyday life with revolutionary technology.

"Conversational AI has been around for 2 to 3 years, but the experience hasn't been great because nobody had the technology to provide a good user experience. So, instead of going after the market we keep improving our technology so it could be useful for certain work flows."

Following the historic board game between Korean player Lee Se-dol and Google's Alpha Go three years ago, the world's AI market is expected to have more than tripled this year, and grow to almost 90 billion dollars by 2025.

"Alpha Go was one of the first cases where people directly experienced the power of AI through a game. Commercial areas have now branched out to voice assistants, health, and content personalization. AI is also being adopted in new domains like manufacturing, driverless cars, and IoT. This is just the start. "

A growing number of Korean scientists like Jang are rising to the challenge, developing deep learning -- the so-called brain of artificial intelligence -- as well as speech and image recognition for diverse areas of application.

"This isn’t just your average AI speaker. It's also a state of the art health device that records sleep patterns and diagnoses possible disorders."

But are these efforts enough?
Only 15-hundred papers on AI were published in South Korea in 2017,.. compared to thousands in Europe and the U.S.
The number of AI start-ups, while growing, stands at 154, just one-percent of the country's ventures.
China has over 4,000 AI firms.
A science ministry body said this month that South Korea's AI technology lags almost two years behind America's.

"We need to invest more in core technologies and harness quality data to improve machine learning. We need ten times more start-ups to spark creative destruction. Also, Korea leads the world in semiconductors, shipbuilding and consumer electronics. Optimizing AI in those fields could strongly boost our competence."

To nurture an ecosystem of innovation, the government plans to spend one.nine billion dollars until 2022, to bolster AI technology and produce 5-thousand professionals in the field.
Oh Soo-young, Arirang News.
Reporter : osy@arirang.com
KOGL : Korea Open Government License
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