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Taiwan lays out NT$16 billion development plan for AI

Taiwan's technology minister on Thursday laid out an ambitious plan to spend NT$16 billion to beef up the domestic artificial intelligence (AI) industry.

In a news conference, Minister of Science and Technology Chen Liang-gee (陳良基) said his ministry would implement five initiatives over the next four to five years, investing a total of NT$16 billion.

The ministry aims to create a constellation of AI research centers across Taiwan by the end of 2017. It will launch an AI manufacturing base in Central Taiwan Science Park this September and an AI development base in Southern Taiwan Science Park this week.

The plan has five initiatives: incubating AI-based services, "adding value" to sectors like medicine and finance using AI, helping companies incorporate AI, promoting public participation in AI development, and building up innovation capacity for smart robotics.

The smart robotics initiative aims to invest NT$2 billion to set up 50 new companies, cultivate 4,000 people, and produce 30 key technologies or product sets over the next four years.

Funding for the AI development plan will come from Taiwan's flagship infrastructure bill and the Cabinet's annual budget.

Taiwan's announcement comes amid a similar declaration of support for AI from Beijing, and as the U.S. mulls budget cuts to agencies that drive research in the technology.

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