These days, global IT industry leaders such as Google, IBM, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook are striving to further develop artificial intelligence.
It is IBM that pioneered the development of AI. Its Deep Blue supercomputer developed in 1997 beat the world chess champion in that same year and the Watson, another supercomputer of IBM, won the Jeopardy game show in 2011. At present, the Watson is doing its job in the financial and medical sectors, assessing people’s credit ratings and checking patients’ medical histories.
Apple’s Siri has been developed to the point of searching for desired information based on users’ voices and assisting in individual schedule management. Facebook is utilizing an AI technique for tagging based on automatic facial recognition using photos. MS, in the meantime, released Xiaobing in December last year for big data-based weather forecasts.
Google took over DeepMind Technologies in 2014 and came up with the AI program of AlphaGo, which brings out the best result each moment by analyzing a huge amount of data. Google is leading the self-driving car industry as well and came up with the Google Photo service, capable of identification of persons in pictures, in May.
On the contrary, Korean enterprises have a far way to go when it comes to R&D in AI. Naver, Kakao, SK Planet and NCSoft have presented a handful of voice recognition and deep learning techniques, products and services while Samsung Electronics invested 20 billion won in JIBO, a home service robot manufacturer, as recently as early this year.
The R&D activities led by the Korean government are even slower. Last year, 119 research institutes, college research teams and enterprises took part in the Korean government’s ICT R&D projects and only 39 out of them were engaged in R&D in AI. According to some reports, Korea has a technology gap of about two years with respect to the United States in the field of AI. Under the circumstances, the Korean government is planning to set up a dedicated research institute this year at an investment of 30 billion won before launching a series of projects for AI software development.