On March 17, the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning announced its plan for establishing an intelligent information technology (IIT) research institute.
According to the plan, a total of one trillion won is scheduled to be invested for five years to come for the establishment of the institute to be led by the private sector, enrichment of the ecosystem of related industries, training programs for skilled manpower, etc. IIT, which has a wider concept than artificial intelligence (AI), can be defined as a type of technology in which big data, the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing and the like are combined with artificial intelligence (AI) software.
The research institute is to take the form of a corporation. Each of Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, Hyundai Motor Company, SK Telecom, KT and Naver is to invest three billion won in it while the South Korean government provides research expenses. Its 50 or so employees are to include researchers and engineers from those companies and the institute is scheduled to be opened in the first half of this year. Specific details of the schedules and the subsequent institute management are to be determined by the companies and the government is going to act solely as an assistant in the interest of timely decision making.
Each of those participants is already making an investment in IIT. For example, Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics are focusing on wearable devices and healthcare while Hyundai Motor Company is working on self-driving cars. Naver is increasing its investment in AI games and virtual personal assistants and SK Telecom and KT are concentrating on home-care robots, unmanned manufacturing systems, etc. Their data and techniques are expected to be freely shared in the framework of the institute.
At the same time, the South Korean government is planning to launch the Flagship Project for a leading position in the fledgling IIT industry. The idea of the project is to develop industrial and public application service models in the fields including linguistic intelligence, visual intelligence, spatial intelligence, emotional intelligence and content creation so that new sectors and markets can be created in various fields such as information and communications technology (ICT), public welfare, finance, manufacturing and disaster prevention and relief.
In addition, the government is going to continue with its support for basic technology research on supercomputers, neural chips, industrial mathematics, brain sciences and the like while launching a new service to facilitate the sharing of related data accumulated by the government, enterprises and research centers. Systematic training is to be provided as well for a smooth supply of data analysis experts, AI software developers, etc. Training programs are to be available at software colleges, ICT research centers at colleges and so on and recruiting is to be carried out abroad, too.
The investment for this year is estimated at 138.8 billion won. The government is planning to attract a private-sector investment of at least 2.5 trillion won for five years to come as well.