The development of artificial intelligence (AI) technology should be transparent and establish accountability, so as to better society instead of dividing it, Minister Without Portfolio Audrey Tang (唐鳳) said yesterday.
Tang, who is responsible for the government’s digital policy, told a news conference on the nation’s AI development at the Ministry of Science and Technology in Taipei that many people were pessimistic about AI three years ago, but that Taiwan has shown a positive trajectory for promoting “open innovation.”
For example, the ministry’s 2018 Grand Challenge, aimed to develop voice assistants in Mandarin, even shared all of the data with those unable to sign up for the event, she said.
Photo: Chien Hui-ju, Taipei Times
AI could also be referred to as “assistive intelligence,” meaning that its tools are supposed to solve problems in industry, society or the environment, Tang said.
Privacy protection and accountability are two essential issues for AI development, while transparency is key to fostering accountability with AI so that it makes a society better, not more divided, she said.
Asked to compare AI strategies in Taiwan and China, Taiwan AI Labs founder Ethan Tu (杜奕瑾) told the news conference that “it is crucial to make the world trust your tools.”
As users become more vigilant about Facebook, privacy and information security issues, Taiwan has its edge in diversity and transparency, he said.
When he left his Microsoft job in the US to return to Taiwan three years ago, many people told him that the domestic market was too small to support the development of AI technology and application, Tu said.
Nonetheless, even Microsoft ended up establishing a research center in Taiwan, showing the appeal of Taiwanese software talent, he said.
Minister of Science and Technology Chen Liang-gee (陳良基) said that without the support of Tang and Tu, he would not have been confident enough as a minister to promote AI.
After Tu founded Taiwan AI Labs in April 2017, the ministry established AI innovative research centers at National Taiwan University, National Cheng Kung University, National Tsing Hua University and National Chiao Tung University, he said.
Cheng Kung researchers have developed AI-assisted systems for shortening the diagnosis time needed for COVID-19 tests from two-and-a-half hours to 30 minutes, just one example of smart medicine applications, he said.
While AI is being used in several areas, Taiwan is lagging behind in the development of self-driving technology, Chen said.
Taiwan does not exclude the possibility of having formal diplomatic relations with countries that also have formal ties with China, regardless of Beijing’s stance, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said on Sunday. There was speculation in 2012 that Honduras was attempting to have simultaneous diplomatic relations with Taiwan and China, an idea that then-minister of foreign affairs David Lin (林永樂) rejected. Honduras severed formal ties with Taiwan on Sunday morning after establishing diplomatic relations with Beijing. President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration has taken a more practical approach to relations with like-minded countries since assuming government in 2016. Previous administrations took the
Seven senior faculty members, including the principal, of a high school in Taichung were temporarily suspended from their jobs on Friday, pending an investigation by the Taichung Education Bureau into alleged bullying and abuse that led to the suicide of a student last month. The city’s education officials were too slow to suspend those involved, the student’s father told a news conference on Wednesday, at which Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chang Liao Wan-chien (張廖萬堅) and members of the Humanistic Education Foundation were also present. The boy had been a good student and a high achiever during elementary and junior-high, and had
Taiwan would have established formal relations with Argentina long ago if not for China’s interference, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Yui told US-based Spanish-language online news outlet Infobae in an interview published on Tuesday. Beijing has left behind a string of unfulfilled promises in Latin America, including pledges to build the Grand Nicaragua Canal and airports, docks, ports and industrial zones in El Salvador, he said. Meanwhile, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Mexico and other countries enjoy pragmatic and improving relations with Taiwan based on cooperation on the economy, culture, technology and science, he said. While Taiwan is “happy to live and let live,”
WASHED ASHORE: Of the 16 bodies discovered along Taiwan’s west coast this month, two were Vietnamese and five were Taiwanese, coast guard officials said Minister of Justice Tsai Ching-hsiang (蔡清祥) said that he has instructed prosecutors and maritime authorities to launch investigations after 16 bodies were found along Taiwan’s west coast this month, amid speculation that they were victims of smuggling or human trafficking rings. Coast Guard Administration (CGA) officials said the bodies, most of which had washed ashore, were found by coast guard personnel and local residents along the coastline from Keelung to Kaohsiung. Thirteen of the bodies are male and three are female, the CGA said, adding that items found on the bodies indicate that two of the men were Vietnamese, while three men