|Text from the ChatGPT page of the OpenAI website is shown in New York, Feb. 2. More than 150 executives are urging the European Union to rethink the world's most comprehensive rules for artificial intelligence. In an open letter to EU leaders, June 30, the executives said the upcoming regulations will make it harder for companies in Europe to compete with rivals overseas, especially when it comes to the technology behind systems like ChatGPT. AP-Yonhap|
This is the first in a three-part series of interviews with global artificial intelligence (AI) technology experts regarding South Korea's ambition to become a hub for AI innovation so that the country can reap AI's national security and economic benefits. _ ED.
Seoul plays delicate balancing act in Washington-Beijing AI rivalry: US expert
By Kim Yoo-chul
Korea has made notable strides in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), particularly in the development of large-scale AI models that have gained widespread attention for their parameters that surpass previous benchmarks.
The rising popularity of real-time speech-to-text services powered by these AI models _ OpenAI and ChatGPT _ underscores their effectiveness. Plus, Korea's commitment to substantial investments in AI also reflects the country's strong pledge to pursue further advancements in the field.
Today, the impact of AI cannot be understated as it offers a multitude of benefits that enhance efficiency, enables data-driven decision-making and revolutionizes various industries. The future of AI will be filled with massive potential, driven by advancements in robotics, natural language processing and machine learning.
Nobody doubts that AI technology will be the power driving the future Metaverse and its influence will be felt across sectors like healthcare, finance, transportation, and marketing, enabling industries to diagnose diseases, predict market trends, optimize logistics, and personalize experiences.
Speaking to The Korea Times, Lyron Bentovim, chairman and CEO of New York-based Glimpse Group, said it is extremely necessary for Korea to have a comprehensive set of regulations for the AI industry in terms advancing developments and limiting some of the outstanding risks, including political integrity.
"I believe in regulation that fosters innovation. If the AI Act becomes law in Korea, this legislation could be a game-changer, providing a solid framework to govern and regulate the rapidly growing AI industry," Bentovim said in a recent interview.
Glimpse Group offers virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) corporate software platforms to clients that include AT&T, Coca-Cola, the United States Air Force (USAF), Snapchat, Chanel and Panera Bread.
|The Glimpse Group Chairman and CEO Lyron Bentovim / Courtesy of The Glimpse Group|
"I would also say the aim of the AI Act should be to strike a balance between regulation and innovation, creating an environment that fosters AI advancements while keeping public trust intact. The devil is in the details, though, as we need to carefully consider how this Act would impact various aspects and whether it truly becomes a necessity for shaping Korea's AI landscape," Bentovim, also the co-founder of the Nasdaq-listed company and an opinion columnist for CEOWORLD magazine, said.
Highlights of the AI Act include personal data infringement by AI, recognition of intellectual property rights for AI-produced content, the credibility of AI's ability to evaluate, any medical acts by AI robots, taxation o monetary transactions in virtual space and counteracting criminal activities, according to government officials.
The EU parliament approved the EU AI Act. Amid the global frenzy over AI technology, particularly generative AI, the rules are the first set of comprehensive regulations for AI. European Parliament members also agreed to bring generative AI tools such as ChatGPT under greater restrictions. The White House wants U.S. public input to advance a national strategy on AI, including what types of standards and rules are needed and even whether the technology will help or hurt the economy.
In Korea, the AI Act would be enacted and take effect within this year, at the earliest. While regulating AI has become a huge topic globally, the bottom line is that all advanced economies do not want to offer overarching AI regulations, because they want to make sure that the private sector is adopting AI technology in a transparent and responsible way.
"Yet, as we embrace this extraordinary progress, we need to navigate the ethical considerations and ensure responsible development and deployment of AI, safeguarding against potential risks while harnessing its incredible capabilities for the betterment of society. As a CEO, I understand that transparency plays a pivotal role in building trust and fostering accountability," Bentovim said.
"By embracing transparency in AI systems, we should ensure that their inner workings are clear and accessible, allowing stakeholders to understand how decisions are made. This transparency can enable us to address any potential biases or ethical concerns that may arise. Moreover, transparency cultivates a sense of responsibility, as it holds individuals and organizations accountable for their actions and the outcomes generated by AI technologies," he added.
|A vendor stands at an artificial intelligence stall at the Collision conference in Toronto, June 28. AP-Yonhap|
Well-crafted national strategy needed
AI has a huge impact on socio-economic development and also because this technology has great potential in terms of pushing a wide range of promises from the economic, environmental, security and social standpoints, advanced economies view AI as a critical defining technology for growth.
The U.S. EU, Germany, Japan, France, China, India, Canada and others have developed AI policies and strategies to help advance technological and economic growth. Not all countries have the same strategies and initiatives for AI. However, a common focus is on how to secure better talent, education, research and development and collaborations to seek applicable regulatory frameworks for the deployment of AI.
The Glimpse Group CEO asked the Korean government to come up with a detailed national strategy for AI.
"In the current landscape of global AI investments, a well-crafted national strategy makes sense for Korea to retain a competitive edge. Such a strategy plays a pivotal role in facilitating effective coordination among stakeholders enabling collaboration between government, academia and industry, optimizing the allocation of resources and establishing a clear roadmap for AI development," he said.
Bentovim stressed Korea could leverage collective expertise and drive innovation in AI, but only if a national strategy is in place.
"Creating a supportive environment for AI startups and enterprises through favorable policies and regulations is equally crucial," he said.
Bentovim said Korea will play a "delicate balancing act of promise and risk" in the U.S.-China AI competition, because Seoul hopes to be a key player in satisfying the explosive global demand for advanced AI chips. Korea is home to Samsung Electronics and SK hynix, the world's two largest memory chipmakers. The country hopes to account for 20 percent of the global AI chip market by 2030.
"With a thriving AI industry and strategic positioning, Korea has the potential to become a major player in the global AI race. However, careful navigation is important to safeguard its own interests and maintain stability in its relationships with both superpowers (the U.S. and China). By leveraging its technological expertise and advocating for responsible AI development, Korea can make a lasting impact on the evolving AI landscape. But strategic decision-making is vital to ensure a favorable outcome in this high-stakes competition," he stressed.
A key question is what specific roles China could play in the next few years in the software and hardware sectors and even advanced technologies, which also have geopolitical implications.
Washington's like-minded allies in Asia that include Japan, Taiwan, India and Korea are exploring the best possible ways to excel in the advanced AI chip race. In Korea, the country's dominant web portal Naver is collaborating with Samsung to develop AI chips.
|AI (Artificial Intelligence) letters and robot miniature are seen in this illustration taken, June 23. Reuters-Yonhap|