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(LEAD) Moon declares S. Korea's AI-gov't vision, with 'AI national strategy' in the making

Science 11:09 October 28, 2019

(ATTN: UPDATES with details in paras 9-15; ADDS photos, byline)
By Lee Chi-dong

SEOUL, Oct. 28 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in presented South Korea's vision Monday for taking the lead in the global artificial intelligence (AI) sector, as his government is striving to foster innovative growth in response to the fourth industrial revolution.

Addressing a major tech conference in Seoul, he announced a push for the "AI-government" project based on the country's signature e-government system.

"Artificial intelligence is approaching us as a new civilization beyond the advance of science and technology," Moon said during the DEVIEW 2019 conference held at the COEX convention center in southern Seoul.

President Moon Jae-in delivers a keynote speech during the DEVIEW 2019 conference held at the COEX convention center in Seoul on Oct. 28, 2019. (Yonhap)

DEVIEW, which means developer's view, is South Korea's largest annual forum on software and AI. It provides local startups with opportunities to introduce their new technologies.

Moon said the government will put forward a brand-new "artificial intelligence national strategy" within this year in a bid to become an AI powerhouse, riding on the country's prowess in the ICT field.

Cheong Wa Dae said Moon's announcement in person of the national strategy plan reflects his consistent attention and commitment to the AI industry.

President Moon Jae-in is briefed on a four-legged "mini-cheetah" robot on a visit to the DEVIEW 2019 conference held at the COEX convention center in Seoul on Oct. 28, 2019. (Yonhap)

His administration has already earmarked a total of 1.7 trillion won (US$1.4 billion) of the budget next year for data, network and AI sectors, up 50 percent from 2019.

Moon vowed full-scale efforts to create conditions for relevant firms to make "aggressive investment" and "quick profits."

He suggested a concerted campaign to make AI work in a human-centered manner and serve as a driving force behind "social innovation."

"(I) will also pay special attention to (relevant) job (trend) changes and artificial intelligence ethics issues," he added.

Moon introduced a story of an elderly South Korean man who collapsed at his home at around 3:40 a.m. in May due to a problem with blood pressure.

"He shouted to an AI speaker 'Save me,' and it was recognized by the AI as an SOS sign and connected him to the 119 service, which ended up saving his life," Moon noted.

The government has distributed such AI equipment to elderly people nationwide who live by themselves.

Like this, he added, the development of AI will lead mankind to a world that it has not experienced before.

"Indeed, it's the time of AI," he added.

President Moon Jae-in (C) attends the DEVIEW 2019 conference held at the COEX convention center in Seoul on Oct. 28, 2019. (Yonhap)

In July, the president met with SoftBank Group Corp. CEO Masayoshi Son at Cheong Wa Dae.

Son advised South Korea to expand investment in AI businesses.

When it comes to what South Korea should focus on, "the first is AI, the second is also AI and the third is AI as well," Son told Moon, according to Cheong Wa Dae.

lcd@yna.co.kr
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