Asia set to emerge as ‘epicentre’ for AI growth

Asia set to emerge as ‘epicentre’ for AI growth

Governments emerging as AI innovation drivers or leaders

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Supportive government framework and policies are expected to enable Asia Pacific to emerge as the global epicentre for the growth of artificial intelligence (AI).

Several countries across the region are focusing on leveraging AI, enhancing productivity and competitiveness. Though the key objectives of different government entities may vary from each other, all of them want to leverage their strengths to emerge either as AI innovation drivers or leaders.

Despite different priorities, countries strive to accomplish four common and prime objectives by leveraging AI - formulate policies for workforce in an automated economy; job creation across emerging sectors which leverage new technologies; build data ecosystem to be leveraged by cross-verticals to foster innovations and intelligent mitigation of impact on workers impacted by adopting AI and risk reduction.

Most countries in the region have had AI policies and initiatives in place for the past five years – be it Japan’s Artificial Intelligence Technology Strategy to promote the development of AI and priorities for industrialisation orSouth Korea’s US$21 billion budget to develop science and technology and AI sectors.

Similarly, China’s New Generation of Artificial Intelligence Development Plan proposes three development stages (2020, 2025 and 2030) as per the development situation of AI technologies in China.

India too has defined a national policy on AI in working paper National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence, focussing on five key areas - agriculture, mobility, healthcare, transportation and urban/smart-city infrastructure.

In addition, Thailand formulated AI ethics guidelines last year, undertaken by the Digital Economy and Society (DES) Ministry of Thailand, to cater to the country’s competitiveness and sustainable development.

Certainly, Asia Pacific is expected to emerge as a major market for AI-led initiatives, since most countries in the region are establishing committees or task forces for creating national AI strategies, which have either been launched or are on the course of being launched in next few years.

Indeed, other countries too are keen on launching AI bases policies and framework. Malaysia has announced forming a National Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) Policy by mid-2020, to position the country as a hub in Southeast Asia for grooming AI talent, and support its efforts in building commercial AI ecosystem.

Indonesia is expected to introduce a national strategy for supporting capabilities development in technologies related to AI. Similarly, the Philippines too is formulating an AI road map to improve its productivity and economic growth.

Application scenarios across various verticals continue to move from divided to a unified and customised methodology. The need for digital governance and collaborative approach with the technology companies would further facilitate in the scaling up of enterprises and government priorities in the AI industry chain.

Sunil Kumar Verma is lead ICT analyst at GlobalData

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