How Coronavirus Contributes to Catalysing South Korea’s AI Aspirations?

by April 15, 2020

South Korea

When we talk about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its leading nations, two names often emerge in the conversation and rightfully so – the United States of America (USA) and China. Their one-on-one battle for AI supremacy is known to all. But the lesser-known and less recognized fact is that there are certain other countries as well whose AI ambition may give an uphill battle challenge to both the nations. The land of companies like Samsung, Hyundai and LG Electronics, South Korea is heating up the race against all to lead the world with its AI innovations.

In 2018, the country released an ambitious plan to kickstart its AI conqueror journey. In its National AI roadmap, South Korea plans to invest US$ 2 billion by 2022 to support its AI Research and Development capabilities. According to the Joong Ang Ilbo report, the program included the establishment of six new AI research institutes.

Moreover, in January 2020, South Korea announced that it will spend US$21 billion of the state budget in an effort to foster the capabilities of its science and technology and AI sectors. The country is all set to launch its first space rocket in 2021 which will subsequently earn it the place with those few countries who possess such capability. Furthermore, South Korea has decided to allocate 2.8 trillion in Korean currency in drug development from 2021 through 2030.

However, as the circumstances are turning out to be more hazardous across the world due to coronavirus pandemic, South Korea is showcasing all of its capabilities and progressing on its AI roadmap to provide better healthcare facilities and lead the tech-innovations industry. So far, the country has witnessed 10,591 total COVID-19 confirmed cases with more than 200 causalities. In order to tackle the alarming situation, the South Korean government has mobilized the private sector to commence the development of coronavirus testing kits. To foster this action, Seoul-based Seegene which is a molecular biotech company, used artificial intelligence to quick-pace their development of testing kits. The AI-powered innovation enabled the company to submit its solution to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) in less than a month. According to the company officials, if it wasn’t for AI, the development would have taken two to three months.

South Korea has also launched a smartphone app to monitor citizens during the lockdown. The app has been developed by the Ministry of the Interior and Safety. It allows people who have been ordered not to leave home to stay in touch with caseworkers and further report their progress to them. To keep a check on the quarantine rules violation, the app uses GPS trackers to track citizens’ locations.

Moreover, a medical AI software firm named Lunit has developed an AI-powered analysis of lung diseases via chest x-ray images. The company says that it will release the software online and free of cost in an effort to provide selfless help to healthcare professionals to manage pandemic affect across the world.

So far as we observe the innovative approaches of South Korea in response to coronavirus, the country is highlighting a strong public health method to contain the contagious virus and providing something to rest of the world to learn from. Furthermore, the widespread of COVID-19 virus is somehow satisfying South Korea’s AI ambition with great tech-enabled healthcare facilities and innovations emerging in this crisis circumstances.