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South Korea ramps up AI investment for public services

As private entities continue to pledge investments in artificial intelligence (AI), South Korea’s government has confirmed plans to allocate 710.2 billion won (US$526 million) to improve public services.

South Korea will focus on injecting funds into ambitious AI-backed projects across key sectors of the economy. The country’s Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) confirmed the development during the launch of an AI Strategy High-Level Consultative Council, designed to operate as a panel to steer the country’s AI policies.

The country’s administrators have previously earmarked 75.5 billion won (US$55.6 million) for AI-themed projects revolving around daily life. While details are unclear, experts forecast that the projects will focus on education, entertainment, and health use cases with 18 projects making the cut for funding.

Startups in prime position to receive funds include AI-based services offering support for mental health disorders, pediatric diseases, and other debilitating medical conditions. South Korea’s government is keen on funding projects promoting public health while hinting at plans to leverage AI to provide aid delivery for residents in welfare blindspots.

The MSIT disclosed that a staggering 230 billion won (US$170 million) will be deployed toward ensuring safe AI innovation while a portion of the sum will be dedicated toward
deepening the talent pool.

The AI funding spree will involve applications in disaster response for black swan events in an attempt to improve public services. In the coming months, the government notes that AI offerings will be a mainstay in South Korea’s finance, healthcare, and justice systems.

Although the report did not mention support for chip manufacturing plants, South Korea’s government is leaning toward bolstering indigenous firms dabbling in AI hardware. The change in stance follows a global shortage of AI chips amid soaring interest, with South Korea poised to compete with the United States and Taiwan in the ecosystem.

Local enterprises lead the charge

Several local technology companies in South Korea are pivoting toward AI, eyeing lucrative opportunities in the emerging sector. In mid-2023, Telecom giant KT Corporation (NASDAQ: KTannounced a $5.3 billion investment in AI research and development with use cases spanning robotics and health care.

“KT, as Korea’s leading AI company, will apply its accumulated experience, capabilities, infrastructure, and know-how to the AI business as it aims to establish itself as a customer-oriented AI service provider,” said KT Corporation vice president Song Jae-ho.

Still reeling from the implosions that rocked the digital currency ecosystem, South Korean authorities are pulling strings to bring AI under control with watertight regulations in line with global standards.

In order for artificial intelligence (AI) to work right within the law and thrive in the face of growing challenges, it needs to integrate an enterprise blockchain system that ensures data input quality and ownership—allowing it to keep data safe while also guaranteeing the immutability of data. Check out CoinGeek’s coverage on this emerging tech to learn more why Enterprise blockchain will be the backbone of AI.

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