Investment & Finance

Vietnam stands being left behind in global AI platform

(ĐTTCO) - Artificial Intelligence (AI) is fast emerging as a vital technology in the 4.0 era. Many countries have been quick to adopt and apply AI technology in various stages of production, working life and administration. 

Illustrative photo.

Illustrative photo.

However, Vietnam has been slow in introducing AI technology, despite the urgent need to implement this core future technology in many fields. Though some efforts have been made in recent years, the strategies to introduce AI technology have not been vigorous enough in relation to what its importance will be in the near future.

Future potential

AI is being seen as playing a key role in the future development of world economy. In a recently published report by the US consulting firm, Kearney, in coordination with EDBI Investment Fund of Singapore, AI can bring an additional USD 110 bn to Singapore's economy or 18% of GDP by 2030. Similarly, Malaysia can have an additional USD 115 bn or 14% of GDP, Thailand can have additional USD 117 bn or 13% of GDP, Indonesia can have an additional USD 336 bn, Vietnam can have an additional USD 109 bn, and the Philippines can have an additional USD 92 bn. Thus it is seen that most of the major economies in ASEAN will see increased GDP of almost USD 100 bn.

According to a report titled "AI Landscape 2020" published by IT Job Recruitment Network (TopDev), in 2018 the AI market had a growth rate of 70% and revenue of USD 200 bn. It is now forecast that the AI market in 2020, and in coming years, will see larger investments of upto tens of billion dollars. By 2022, AI technology will have impacted many economic industries, optimized efficiency and use of time, increased productivity, and helped analyse data for information and scientific use, with higher accuracy.

In early 2020, the NextTech Group and the Start-up Fund announced a USD 500,000 investment in Computer Vision Vietnam (CVS eKYC), a young startup specializing in providing AI solutions and computer vision for fintech companies. The investment will help optimize utility for partners in identifying customers, and thereby promote digital transformation in the finance and banking industries. CVS eKYC applies AI technologies on machine learning, deep learning techniques such as facial recognition, character recognition, paper detection and invalid face detection, to provide a complete, automated solution.

CVS eKYC solution is based on intelligent image processing technology from AI, providing identity solutions and customer identification for fintech companies and banks. CVS eKYC owns a feature of extracting information from photographs and images, and helps fintech companies to automatically process customer records quickly and systematically. This is probably the most significant investment that has been made so far in the AI technology field in Vietnam.

AI technology in Vietnam is also increasing within communities in the country, such as the Vietnam Union of AI Communities, whose members include the Vietnam Club of Faculties-Institutes-School & Universities of ICT (FISU); AI4Life research, a deployment and application community; the digital transformation community; the Basic Machine Learning communities; Google Developer Community; Business Intelligence community; and the VietAI community.

The role of AI is also being considered as a core technology tool to create a breakthrough in economic development and in modern applications. For example, during the current Covid-19 pandemic phase, many AI technology applications are being used to support the need for information, reporting of cases, and disease prevention, such as with the Bluezone application.

No breakthrough policy

Over the last few years, Vietnam has had many policies focused on AI technology development, such as applying AI to converting speech into text. AI has also been included in the Government list of priority development investments for the 4.0 revolution. Technology giants like FPT and Viettel are also applying AI in some vital fields such as healthcare, transportation, and e-commerce. AI has been now included as a major subject in the Hanoi University of Technology, to train future human resources. However, these efforts are still not enough to create the much needed breakthrough and momentum in Vietnam that will be required in this technology field in the future.

A concerted and methodical strategy is needed in applying the right policies to develop AI technology for the future. Vietnam is seriously lagging behind and stands being left behind globally in the vitally important field of AI technology.
Presently, Vietnam is facing a brain drain of high quality human resources for the development of AI in the country. Policies to retain high-quality human resources have not been effective, and competent human resource is the key factor in building the AI industry. In the European Union (EU), to avoid brain drain, a "EU Horizon 2020" Fund has been created in the European Commission with investment of USD 24 bn for AI research and development.

In early 2018, the French government had invested USD 1.8 bn in AI development with the goal of becoming an AI hub within the European Union. Since 2016, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has sent to the US government almost 23 recommendations for the development of AI. The US National Science and Technology Council also devised specific strategies to help the United States get on the right track in the development of AI technology, such as with long-term investments in AI market research, deployment and development of effective methods to bring about harmony between humans and AI, and grasp the needs of humans to merge in AI research and development.

All these efforts by various countries show that a concerted and methodical strategy is needed in applying the right policies to develop AI technology for the future. Vietnam is still seriously lagging behind and stands being left far behind globally in the vitally important field of AI technology.

Luu Thuy

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