Korea is not fully prepared for the looming Fourth Industrial Revolution as its patent application for core technologies of the industrial trend is well behind major countries, according to recent data.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and information and communication technology (ICT) are seen as key technologies to lead the industrial movement.
Japanese research firm Astamuse and Nikkei Asian Review released data, February, of 10 major countries’ applications for AI-related patents from 2010 through 2014 and the number of submissions from Korea was 1,533.
While the United States was the runaway leader with 15,317 submissions, Korea came up short of its neighboring countries China and Japan.
China’s total applications were 8,410 -- a huge increase from 2,934 between 2005 and 2009 -- and Japan’s applications were 2,071, down 3 percent from 2,134 during the cited period.
The U.S. drive for AI was led by the White House, while the Chinese government looks to create a native AI market that will be worth 100 billion yuan by 2018.
According to a recent poll by multinational professional services firm EY, 10 percent of Korean companies are said to be investing in AI for the next two years, compared with the average rate of 16 percent in other countries.
“While major countries are going all out in developing AI technologies, Korea needs to feel the urgency to invest in AI,” said an official of an IT company. “Taking the long-term view, we need to make efforts to nurture startups and small- and mid-sized firms to lead AI development.”
In ICT, Korea also falls behind its rival countries.
According to the Institute for Information and Communications Technology Promotion in April, Korea’s ICT-related patents totaled 213,000 in 2015, compared with China’s 1.1 million and the U.S.’ 589,000. Japan had 319,000 ICT patents.