In the world of the information technology, the race for the countries to become the leader has always been there, be it computers, space exploration, internet of things or the modern day race about which even experts say that it is just the beginning, yes we are talking about Artificial Intelligence or machine learning. According to Forbes, 80% of the enterprises are investing in AI research. In terms of numbers, the global artificial intelligence market was estimated at $127 billion last year, but it could reach as much as $165 billion this year.AI has been considered as the so-called 4th Industrial Revolution.
The USA currently being the major player in AI research with the highest investment followed by China. All other developed and technologically advanced nation are in the race to become the leader in the field of AI. Japan and Korea have always played a major role in the field of innovation and information technology but this time these two nation seems to lag behind a little as compared to other nations. Investment in the field of AI in Japan is still struggling with the government now realizing it’s importance in economic development. Mitsuru Ishizuka, a professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo who specializes in AI, says that: “Frankly speaking, the situation in Japan at the moment is very hard and we are slipping behind the research in this area that is being done in China. On the other hand, the South Korean government has realized it’s potential a little early, it announced that it will spend US$840 M by 2020 to boost artificial intelligence industry, it seems like the South Korean government realized the potential of AI only after Google’s AlphaGo soundly defeated its Go master Lee Se-dol at his own strategic board game.
South Korea hopes to catch up with the U.S., which launched the BRAIN initiative in 2013 with the goal promoting the development and application of related technologies. It calls for $3 billion investment over a decade. The government plans to support the establishment of a high-profile research center for nation’s research and development in the AI field. Samsung and LG Electronics, SKT, KT, Naver, and Hyundai Motor have decided to join the initiative. Each company plans to invest about 3 billion won. Some of the South Korean AI startups are Minds Lab, Vicarious, Skive it Inc, Selvas AI.
Minds Lab Inc.
It is an artificial intelligence company which focuses mainly on Deep learning, Big Data analysis. It was founded by Taejoon Yoo in 2014 headquartered in Seongnam City, Korea. Recently it has also developed a portable AI speaker called Ascar akin to Amazon’s Echo but can be used in cars.
Founded in 1999, headquartered in Seoul, Korea. The company aims to create innovation through artificial intelligence. The company claims to have clients such as Samsung, LG, Naver, Sony etc.The main research fields are Speech Recognition, Deep Learning.
Founded in 2010, vicarious is an artificial intelligence company based in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. They are using the theorized computational principles of the brain to build software that can think and learn like a human. Although the company is not based in Korea but is practically owned by Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics.
Skive it Inc
Is a Deep Learning startup building a hardware chip that will be the heart of the robot as opposed to the ‘brain’? The company has a tagline”HUMANS HAVE BIOMETRICS, ROBOTS NEED ROBOMETRICS”.
In the current scenario AI market in South Korea has not evolved yet as compared to USA, China, UK etc. There are not many startups that are focusing on AI research, the government has increased its focus on AI investment but still, the major player are big tech giants Samsung, NC Soft, Navar investing in companies of other nation or acquiring startups of USA or China.
Now coming to Japan the situation is quite similar to S.Korea, there are not many startups which are focusing on machine learning. With a great investor Softbank mostly investing in the startup of USA in the AI field. This is seen as a reason for Japan to lag in Robotics. But the situation is changing rapidly in Japan. Toyota, for example, is investing $1 billion into AI research, primarily for autonomous vehicles. Some of the startup companies which are leading the path of AI are Preferred Network, Ai Sing, PKSHA Technologies, Abeja Inc.
Founded in 2014 by Daisuke Okanohara, Toru Nishikawa, headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. It operates as a software development company focused on applying real-time machine-learning technologies to new applications in the emerging field of the Internet of Things. The company is also engaged in the research, development, and sales of computer software, hardware, and network aspects as well as solves problems in the areas of data analytics, edge-heavy computing, distributed intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, and computer vision activities.
This company aims to make hardware and software products for factories with the help of machine learning. It is based in Tokyo, Japan.
Founded in 2012, the company is among the AI and software startups which have been listed on Tokyo Stock Exchanges. Its businesses include licensing AI algorithms it develops for image recognition and chatbots. Toyota has recently invested in this company to help further R&D in automated driving.
Founded in 2012 this startup is based in Tokyo, Japan. It promotes efficiency and the automation of industries by utilizing deep learning. It detects real-world changes and collects data on its cloud server and then utilizes the collected high-volume data to create more valuable data using Big Data Analytics. The company claims to have investments from Toshiba, Mitsubishi etc. Yousuke Okada is the current CEO and CTO of the company.
Viewing the current scenario of market and investment in the AI sector in these two countries, it can be concluded that both the countries have a lot of potential in AI field but they require a lot to achieve in this field to catch up with the rivals such as USA and China.