Nectec launches website with AI database
Effort to develop tech-related products
The National Electronics and Computer Technology Center (Nectec) has launched a website that allows programme developers, startups and businesses to access an artificial intelligence (AI) research database and services to develop products linked with the technology.
The website -- www.aiforthai.in.th -- is part of Nectec's efforts to push Thailand to become an AI product creator rather than merely a user. AI development could also serve as one of the country's new S-curve industries, a government priority over the next three years.
AI policy and strategy are being formulated and could be wrapped up in six months, said Chai Wutiwiwatchai, executive director of Nectec.
"Thailand needs to build its own AI-based products and services," Mr Chai said in his remarks at the agency's annual conference and exhibition on Monday. "The move would save on import costs for technologies."
Domestic development of technology would mean data can potentially be kept in the country, he said.
AI is an important technology that could be the future foundation for economic and social development, said Mr Chai.
By 2030, the AI-driven economy in Asia-Pacific excluding China could reach US$9 trillion, while in China alone value could hit $7 trillion, he said.
Thailand needs an AI platform that covers AI research and tools, specialists, content, software developers and cloud service providers, said Mr Chai.
Medical, agriculture and tourism sectors are the key areas for the country's AI development, he said.
Nectec's website provides services pertaining to AI technology, such as language, vision and conversation perspectives.
Mr Chai said this AI service platform also serves as a database for leading AI research on an open application programming interface.
The platform is being supported by CAT Telecom, Internet Thailand, pantip.com and KBTG, he said. Nectec is open to other sponsors.
This platform helps developers rely less on foreign technology while delivering greater economic impact for new AI S-curve industries, he said.
Students can use this platform to show their work or learn from others to develop their projects.
The platform's services include the JibJib chatbot that can be used by developers for customer service, featuring object recognition that can be used to identify food and tourist attractions for the tourism sector.
It also has facial recognition that can help monitor drivers in the logistics industry.
As the platform offers free AI services, developers can save costs in their operations.
Mr Chai said Nectec has 60 AI specialists from a total of 200 in Thailand.
Nectec aims to develop over 500 AI experts over the next three years, he said.
Efforts will be made to reskill and upskill existing developers through cooperation with universities and AI associations, said Mr Chai.
Thailand ranks 56th out of 194 countries in the Government AI Readiness Index 2019 according to Oxford Insight. Having this AI service platform should help raise the ranking, he said.
Soranit Siltharm, permanent secretary of higher education, science, research and innovation, said the ministry is working with the Digital Economy and Society Ministry and other stakeholders to iron out AI strategies.