ITU Telecom World got off to a roaring start Monday here in Busan, Republic of Korea with a powerful opening ceremony and a series of sessions on how artificial intelligence (AI) and 5G can help drive the “fourth industrial revolution.”
Leaders of government and industry are joined here by small and medium enterprises – the tech SMEs at the forefront of disruption and growth in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector.
“ICTs have become indispensable in our digital era. ICTs drive the transformation of our economies and our society,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao at the opening ceremony, which included presentations showcasing Korea’s rich culture as well as its ICT leadership.
“Korea has become an ICT powerhouse,” said Korean President Moon Jae-in during his video message, noting that Korea is ranked at the top in ITU’s ICT Development Index (IDI), but also cautioning that the 4th industrial revolution should “put people first” and ensure job creation, not job replacement.
“AI is the next big wave.” — Victor Na, Intel
Korea’s Minister of Science and ICT, Young-Min You echoed those sentiments, adding that “businesses and governments must join forces” to ensure inclusive socioeconomic growth from ICTs.
And come together they did in compelling discussions Monday, beginning with some of the first sessions focused on how best to leverage AI to drive digital transformations for telcos and smart cities.
“AI is the next big wave,” said Victor Na, Chief Architecture Officer of Intel’s Korea Data Center Group, at a partner session focused on AI with speakers and panelists from KT, Intel, Samsung, Ericsson, and IBM Watson.
Mr. Na presented how Intel is working with partners like Google to integrate AI into its new products and services and how AI is transforming all industries – from consumer to health to finance to energy.
“If you’re not using AI, you’re actually two years behind the curve,” said Neil Sahota of IBM Watson Group. The good news, he said, is that there is so much potential to tap into AI that you can leapfrog and make up for lost time.
“5G can be a baseline technology to support the 4th industrial revolution.” — Wonil Roh, Samsung
Jan Färjh, VP and Head of Standardization and Industry for Ericsson pointed out that machine learning and AI are needed to make networks better, not just to benefit end users.
“We are seeing on the application and service layer that we can really benefit from AI,” he said, explaining that there is data produced everywhere in our networks and machine learning can help handle the growing complexity and volume. “We’ve only seen the beginning.”
The group also discussed the importance of 5G networks.
“5G can be a baseline technology to support the 4th industrial revolution,” said Wonil Roh, VP & Head of Advanced Communications Lab at Samsung, adding the 5G is critical to enable the new Internet of Things (IoT) era in which AI will crunch all of the Big Data, IoT needed for companies to build and refine sales and vision strategies.
In a panel discussion called ‘AI for Smart Cities: power, potential, ethics and education’ participants discussed which public-private cooperation models can work best.
“A data driven approach to public service in not a new approach. But AI allows us to connect to a scale that is more accurate than ever before,” said Allan Phua, Director of the Data Innovation Programme Office, InfoComm Media Development Authority, Singapore.
“The grand vison of smart cities – is interconnectivity. For example automatous cars, smart parking… share the grand vision of saving lives, energy and time,” said Ms. Winnie Tang, Founder and Honorary President of Smart City Consortium, SCC Smart City Consortium Limited, China, Hong Kong SAR. “AI is the great enabling technology to achieve this goal. We are not just using [AI] because is the latest technology and its trendy. It’s for problem solving.”
The panel also discussed the regulatory and security implications of a greater AI presence in our daily lives and whether we need standardized ethics on public services.
AI and 5G will continue to feature prominently throughout the event running until September 28, with forum sessions and exhibitions dedicated to different aspects and different industry verticals.
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