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HCM City to use AI to build smart city

Update: March, 21/2019 - 09:00
Speakers speak at a seminar on “AI Research and Application in HCM City” held on Wednesday in the city. — VNS Photo Bồ Xuân Hiệp
Viet Nam News

HCM CITY — City authorities are planning to use artificial intelligence (AI) to further their scheme to develop a smart city, Nguyễn Thành Phong, chairman of HCM City People’s Committee, told a seminar on AI research and application on Wednesday.

“Though the city has applied AI technologies in a number of sectors, it lags behind other cities in the world in AI research and training,” he said. “It lacks AI experts, scientists and policymakers.”

Phong said the city should catch up with the global trend of AI. “Such efforts include investment in training skilled workers and building an open-source database.”

In addition, training in the field remains limited because of a lack of funding, he said, adding that both State and business investments are badly needed.

“Although HCM City has paid great attention to AI, the city lacks a staff capable of accessing AI research at the global level,” Phong noted.

Linkages between the state, enterprises, scientists and investors should also be promoted, he said.

AI is being used in many fields, including transport, public security, production, finance and e-commerce, among others. 

Prof. Hồ Tú Bảo of the Việt Nam Institute for Advanced Study in Mathematics said the city should build a digital infrastructure, issue incentive policies to encourage enterprises to apply AI, and improve human resources in AI.

It also needs to speed up e-government and build a data sharing system for the city, he added.

A survey of 500 Vietnamese firms conducted last year by Việt Nam Report found that only 13.6 per cent of the firms had invested in AI in production and business.

More than 18 per cent said they were studying the model and 18.2 per cent had plans for investment in the coming two to three years. 

However, nearly 50 per cent of the surveyed companies had not developed plans for AI investment, according to the survey. 

Speaking at the seminar, Dr Vũ Hải Quân, deputy director of the Việt Nam National University, HCM City, quoted Russian President Vladimir Putin as saying a nation that leads in AI “will be the ruler of the world”.

Quân said the city should focus on appying AI in healthcare, transport, automation, national defence and robotics. 

AI as well as big data, cloud computing and machine learning are all important. With big data, people will be able to “teach” machines to provide analyses based on AI through the cloud platform.

“The most important breakthroughs in AI technology are being made in the fields of image and speech recognition as well as natural language processing,” he said.

“Take the increasing rate of cancer deaths in Việt Nam, for example. With enough data, computers with artificial brains could help us detect cancer in the early stage,” he said.

Trần Minh Triết, vice dean of HCM City University of Technology, said that HCM City should focus on developing human resources, setting up open databases, and expanding connections between HCM City universities and international institutions to tap into the global wells of knowledge.

He said it was vital to form AI research groups in areas such as market, data, application deployment, training and basic research.

Experts have also recommended that AI scientists and experts build a strong network of AI think tanks in the city.

The meeting was organised by the People’s Committee in co-operation with the city’s Department of Information and Communications and Department of Science and Technology. 

This was the first workshop in a series of three workshops to be held this year within the framework of the project “Building an Artificial Intelligence Ecosystem in HCM City” in the 2019 - 25 period. — VNS 

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