SEOUL, March 7 (Korea Bizwire) – At a time when artificial intelligence (AI) is no longer just a movie premise but actually realizable technology, it has been pointed out that Korean companies need to buckle down as they are lagging behind global IT giants.
According to a report issued by the Institute for Information and Communications Technology Promotion (IITP) in 2014, the U.S. is currently the leader in AI-related technology.
If the AI technology levels of the U.S. were set as a comparative baseline of 100, Korea would come in at 75, with technology lagging two years behind.
IT analysts pick Google, IBM, Microsoft and Facebook as the global IT ‘giants’ that are leading the pack in the field of AI.
Google is focusing on the development of machine learning technology, in which machines can infer from their ‘experiences’ like humans.
Google’s AI efforts are attracting attention in Korea, with a Go match between Korean player Lee Se-dol and a computer running Google’s AlphaGo software scheduled for March 9. The AI program is preparing for the man-versus-computer showdown by ‘learning’ Go through a vast data analysis, and then practicing against itself.
Google has also been identified as having the most advanced technology in the autonomous vehicle field, in which automobiles collect data using various sensors and are capable of driving themselves.
IBM, which had an early start in AI, developed its ‘Deep Blue’ supercomputer in 1997. The computer’s ability to calculate 200 million numbers per second helped it to best Garry Kasparov, the world champion at the time, in a man versus machine chess match. IBM’s supercomputer ‘Watson’ was also victorious on the popular American quiz show ‘Jeopardy’ in 2011. The computer was said to have evolved to understand human emotions by interpreting the content and tone of written material.
Facebook is using AI technology to ‘auto tag’ people in a picture, while Microsoft launched its ‘XiaoBing’ AI weather forecaster last year, a service that predicts the weather based on big data analysis.
Kakao is running its ‘Rubix’ system, which automatically suggests online content to users based on their responses to other news content. SK Telecom is developing an AI secretary called ‘EGGO Mate’, which is similar to Apple’s Siri. Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics have also established research teams for AI technology development.
AI is in the spotlight thanks to recent technology improvements, especially in the big data field. Big data can act as a ‘text book’ that computers can use to learn certain tasks, and with the improvement in the processing power and analytical capabilities of computers, AI holds significant potential for the future.
With AI in the limelight, attracting a lot of interest as well as investment, the government has decided to launch large-scale software development projects.
The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning will invest 30 billion won to push forward the development of software that can understand and summarize stories, and recognize space and emotions.
By Francine Jung (email@example.com)