US tech giant Google has seen great potential for artificial intelligence (AI) technologies in South Korea, as it has chosen Korean as its priority service language besides English for its AI-based chatbot, Bard, a senior company official said on Thursday.
“With Bard launched in Korean in 2023, this is one of the many opportunities that lie ahead,” Yossi Matias, vice president for engineering and research at Google, said during the AI Week conference, co-hosted by the Ministry of Science and ICT and Google, held in southern Seoul.
“I’m excited for the opportunities presented right here in Korea,” he added, reports Yonhap news agency.
When unveiling an upgraded version of Bard in May, Google said users can use the chatbot in Korean and Japanese along with English, before making Bard available in 40 more languages by the end of the year.
Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai said Korea and Japan are interesting regions with “cutting-edge IT technology.”
Led by homegrown tech companies like Naver and Kakao, South Korea is one of the leading countries that are actively developing new technologies, including AI.
Naver, the country’s top online service provider, is set to launch an upgraded version of its hyperscale AI platform, HyperCLOVA X, tailored for the Korean language, later this month.
Its rival Kakao also has plans to release its own AI chatbot in the second half.
“A lot of work can be achieved in partnership with the government, with other companies and with other developments,” said Matias, the Google vice president. “I think that the opportunity here is to partner together with the ministry and those in the ecosystem to interact.”
Google said it runs several research and development programs in collaboration with Korean companies, startups and researchers, like the Google for Startups programme, as part of its strategy to create an AI-friendly ecosystem in the country.
Earlier, Google joined hands with South Korea’s NCSOFT Corp. to develop a new language model fit for the game developer’s products.
“You can actually create value by having more companies, more entrepreneurs, more developers, more parties, to interact, find new ideas, learn from each other,” he said. “I hope that with this event, we’re going to open more opportunities for collaboration, hopefully encourage and inspire more people to actually do the work in the space.”
For the parliamentary move to regulate AI development and products in South Korea, the Google official agreed it is necessary for AI to be overseen by the law.
“We are thinking that AI is something we need to consider in a very responsible way,” he said. “As our CEO said more than once, AI is too important not to regulate and too important not to regulate well.”