Korea Lacks AI Experts

  • By Ryu Jung

    November 21, 2023 13:19

    Korea is lacking in artificial intelligence as global competition over the much-hyped technology heats up.
    Nearly 40 percent of AI experts worldwide are in the U.S., over 15 percent in India, and just over seven percent in the U.K., but Korea accounts for a mere 0.5 percent, according to a survey. Even China has more than nine times the AI talent as Korea.
    According to a report Monday by the Korea Research Institute for Vocational Education and Training, there were a total of 477,956 AI professionals in 30 major countries. But Korea was home to only 2,551 or 0.5 percent, ranking 22nd globally.
    The U.S. led with 183,300, followed by India's 76,213, the U.K.'s 35,401 and China's 22,191.
    By AI "talent" the study's authors mean people who have written papers on the AI research site arXiv as well as professionals in related industries.
    The U.S. actively woos foreign talent in collaboration with the private sector. Private tech companies like Amazon, Apple, Google and Tesla offer high salaries and research and development funding, while the government entices talent by allowing international students in the field to work there for up to 36 months after completing their degrees.
    India is already incorporating AI into elementary education in English, Hindi, science, math and social science. India's largest software company, Infosys, employs over 300 professionals with doctorates or equivalent degrees.
    The U.K., home to leading AI companies like DeepMind, the developer of AlphaGo, declared a 1 billion pound investment in the AI field in 2018.
    Since 2009, China has been aggressively attracting experts from abroad through its "Thousand Talents Plan," offering substantial incentives, and made IT education compulsory in schools in 2001.
    Korea too has a grand plan to nurture 1 million AI professionals, but the responsibility is fragmented across various departments -- the ministries of education, science and ICT, or trade, industry, and energy -- without a central control tower.
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