Sam Altman, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of OpenAI, recently met with President Yoon Suk Yeol to discuss the future of artificial intelligence (AI) in South Korea. Altman, a prominent figure in the AI industry, has been on a world tour, meeting with national leaders and legislators in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia to promote a discussion on AI’s potential benefits and risks. His most recent stop was South Korea, a country with great potential in the swiftly developing field of AI.
During his visit, Altman exhorted South Korea to lead in establishing global AI standards and prioritizing producing AI-critical chips. He emphasized the significance of system semiconductors and memory processors, integral AI system components. In addition, he suggested that alleviating corporate regulations could encourage the development of innovative AI projects in the country and contribute to establishing international standards.
Additionally, Altman met with approximately one hundred South Korean startup representatives. He underscored the significance of ensuring that regulatory frameworks do not impede innovation and stated that the benefits of AI technology should be accessible worldwide.
The rapid development and prevalence of generative AI, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, have prompted legislators worldwide to consider new safety regulations to address the technology’s inherent risks. President Yoon acknowledged in his conversation with Altman that, as the rate of technological advancement quickens, there is a pressing need for the rapid development of international standards to mitigate potential adverse effects.
South Korea is awaiting parliamentary approval for new artificial intelligence regulations, which analysts in Seoul view as less restrictive than EU regulations. The proposed law guarantees the freedom to launch AI products and services, with restrictions imposed only if a product is regarded to endanger individuals’ lives, safety, or rights.
Local tech titans such as Naver, Kakao, and LG have developed AI foundation models, contributing significantly to the country’s AI development. These accomplishments distinguish South Korea from the United States and China in a field dominated by them. In addition, these companies are investigating niche or specialized markets that their larger competitors in the United States and China have overlooked to secure specialized technology for vertical AI applications, as suggested by the head of LG AI Research, Kyungwon Bae.
For example, Naver is eager to develop AI applications localized for non-English speaking countries and regions, such as Japan and Southeast Asia, as well as politically sensitive nations in the Middle East.
OpenAI’s CEO’s visit to South Korea emphasizes the country’s potential in artificial intelligence. It highlights the need for international cooperation, thoughtful regulation, and localized innovation in the global AI landscape.