Korea Electronics Technology Institute (KETI) has been selected to oversee a state-financed AI flagship project this year by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIT).
The project calls for investments worth a combined 70 billion won over five years until 2020 into the development of core AI technologies and application services through collaboration among Korean industry, academia and research circles as well as foreign research institutes.
The ICT development project consists of four tasks autonomous intelligence digital-activated framework; a machine learning technology for the adapting of autonomous intelligence, digital partner; an AI interaction technology for the understanding of a user’s intention and context; and an emotion recognition technology that can infer, judge, communicate and respond to the opposite side’s emotions.
To this end, KETI signed a technology development agreement in July on autonomous digital companion AI technology with the ArticuLab of the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, the United States, which is the top university in the AI field.
Unlike AIs which carry out specific jobs and tasks, digital companions mean the evolving of AIs as friends and family members. Justine Cassell, associate Dean for Technology Strategy & Impact, unveiled the socially aware robot assistant “Sara” at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2017 held in Davos, Switzerland, in January in cooperation with KETI.
Prof. Cassel and KETI are working on the development of the Korean version of Sara.
KETI President Park Chungwon said, “In an era of the 4th Industrial Revolution, it takes on significance to secure the technology of digital companion AIs that can react without interruptions by watching a users’ situation, inferring his or her intent, emotions and context, and responding autonomously.”
KETI will do its best to enhance Korean companies’ competitiveness and public conveniences by narrowing the country’s technology gap through collaboration with prestigious universities and developing Korean-type digital companion technology and application services, he added.
Negative Regulatory System Essential for Development of AI Tech
KETI President Park stressed the need for shifting regulations related to AI into a negative system, as advanced countries do.
Park made the remarks in an interview on the sideline of a discussion on how to cope with future society converging AI at the KETI in Bundang, south of Seoul, on Sept. 4. He emphasized that dramatic regulatory reform is needed for the development of the AI industry.
“A permit to test-operate self-driving cars has been introduced in Korea last year, which is five years later than the United States, and revision bills on remote medical treatment and health care have hit barriers at the National Assembly with the pending approvals.” Such positive regulations as the Act on Personal Information Protection cannot catch up with technology changes and they become a stumbling block to the creation of new industries, he noted.