By Min Yea-Ji and Lee Jihae
Photos= Cheong Wa Dae Facebook
President Moon Jae-in on Oct. 28 emphasized his administration's resolve to make the country go beyond its status as an information and communications technology (ICT) powerhouse and make Korea a global power in artificial intelligence (AI), pledging "national-level support" for AI.
He was speaking at the AI conference De View (short for "Developer's View") 2019 in Seoul. Attended by entrepreneurs, AI developers and students, the event is a major stage for domestic tech startups and related exchanges that attracts about 1,200 AI virtuoso.
The president cited the example of a senior citizen who collapsed in May at midnight due to high blood pressure. He survived by seeking help through a government-provided AI speaker, which was part of social services for elderly who live alone.
President Moon said the world is now living in the AI era, adding, "AI transcends scientific and technological advances. It's a new civilization that is approaching us."
"Korea led the internet revolution when it went through the financial crisis of 1997. It now boasts the world's top-tier manufacturing competitiveness and No. 1 ICT infrastructure and an abundance of electronic government data."
"If we combine AI with our competitive fields, we can create the smartest and human-like AI," he added.
"The Fourth Industrial Revolution is an era in which imagination will determine the world."
President Moon pledged government support for AI developers so that "they can unfold and fulfill their limitless imagination," adding, "To aid developers, we will switch to comprehensive negative regulations and break down the barriers for each sector."
The government has earmarked KRW 1.7 trillion for next year's budget for data, network and AI, up 50% from this year's amount, he said.
"We will lay out a national AI strategy based on a completely new basic plan (for AI) by the end of this year," he added.
"We will provide educational opportunities so that anyone who wants to learn about AI can do so."
He also said the government will be based on AI and digitization and provide the people with high-quality services in fields interlinked with daily life such as the environment, disaster management, and national security and defense.