Implications: South Korea uses public spaces to provide industries with an opportunity to refine technologies with growth potential. The incorporation of robots and AI into the military and the police force is yet another example of the Korean state allowing companies to experiment and expand their technologies in the public before moving to wider commercialization. After the Minister of Employment and Labor emphasized in April 2021 that adopting AI in workplaces would be critical to thriving in a post-pandemic world, the government moved to create potential areas of collaboration with industry leaders in the security space. The Korean state is similarly using the National Museum of Korea to pilot developments in the “metaverse” and demonstrate use cases for products developed by domestic platform industries. Another example is the Korean government’s willingness to loosen regulations around the use of hydrogen fuel in parts of Seoul to allow developers of hydrogen cars to pilot their products in an urban setting.
Context: The coronavirus pandemic showed the potential for AI’s incorporation in the market. With public health measures demanding people not engage in face-to-face communication, the service industry was first to recognize the need for automated systems to engage with clients. Delivery service companies have established partnerships with major industry players to explore the possibility of introducing an automated delivery robot. In other sectors, carmaker Hyundai continues to chase the autonomous vehicle market through their recent acquisition of stakes in the U.S. robotics company Boston Dynamics.
This briefing comes from Korea View, a weekly newsletter published by the Korea Economic Institute. Korea View aims to cover developments that reveal trends on the Korean Peninsula but receive little attention in the United States. If you would like to sign up, please find the online form here.
Korea View was edited by Yong Kwon with the help of Janet Hong and Yubin Huh. Picture from the flickr account of Luka Zou