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Credit: Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology

Credit: Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology

Singapore and South Korea to collaborate on South Korea’s first AI Town project

Korean university Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (GIST) recently formed collaborative partnership with a Singapore group to advance the development of Korea’s first artificial intelligence (AI) cluster town project, the AI Town Project in Gwangju.

Established in 1993, GIST is a research-oriented university located in Gwangju, Korea. Since its establishment, it has been committed to fulfilling its goals of advancing the nation's science and technology and nurturing excellent talents in those fields.

On Mar 2, GIST signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Golden Equator Group. Under the MoU, the Golden Equator Group is to advise and help with the development plans of the AI Town Project. It will conduct feasibility studies to formulate development plans. Future collaborations could include joint investment funds, boot camps, and other consulting projects.

The GIST-Golden Equator will see strengthened bilateral relations and AI-related collaborations between Singapore and South Korea. The initial areas of collaboration will include feasibility studies, conceptualisation, and development of facilitation plans for GIST’s AI-oriented start-up ecosystem, knowledge, and expertise sharing as well as sharing of partners and network relationships.

“We are thrilled to partner with Golden Equator who will help in building out the AI-oriented start-up ecosystem within our AI Town Project via its businesses and partners. They have an established access to international business networks and capital as well as expansion know-how, and this is the kind of relationship we want to cultivate to accelerate the growth and expand the connections of the AI Town,” said President of GIST Seung Hyeon Moon.

The AI Town Project, also known as the AI-oriented Startup Incubator Foundation Project, is Korea’s 10-year Plan to establish a global research and development (R&D) hub with world-class AI expertise.

The project objective is to develop an AI research institute and an AI-based campus and startup ecosystem to nurture convergence experts, such as AI Scientists and engineers, with a focus on strategic R&D for the Industrial Revolution 4.0.

Gwangju Metropolitan City (GMC) plans to set aside US$920 million (1 trillion won) to support the AI Town Project, which is expected to incubate 1,000 AI-oriented startups and educate and train 5,000 for the sector within the decade, starting from 2019.

The 3 sub-projects of the AI Town Project include: (1) Establishment of AI Research Institute, (2) Development of AI-oriented Campus, and (3) Creation of AI-oriented Start-up Ecosystem.

Credit: Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology

Late last year, GIST Artificial Intelligence Center hosted the 2017 GIST AI Forum to encourage international collaboration and exchange. The Forum aimed to foster exchange on AI research and exchange opinions on the future development of AI. Among the attendees included representatives from Singapore.

The BBC also published an article on why South Korea is an ideal breeding ground for robots.

“Tech-savvy, community-minded and intensely pragmatic, Koreans might be more eager than many markets, then, to view AI as part of the solution, not the problem,” the article writes.

According to the BBC article, instead of worrying about an AI apocalypse, Koreans are figuring out how robots can make their lives better, helping to solve a vast range of social troubles from the very small to the large and looming.

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