Microsoft outlines AI programme

Microsoft has presented its artificial intelligence (AI) strategy for Thailand, spotlighting language localisation, workforce retraining and guidelines for ethical use of AI.

“Thailand is one of Microsoft’s focus countries to encourage the use of AI at a deeper level, with massive adoption by businesses, developers and the government,” said Dhanawat Suthumpun, managing director of Microsoft Thailand.

In its fiscal year, Microsoft will focus on language localisation through the launch of text-to-speech with Thai-language support on the Azure cloud-based platform, enabling developers and startups to create applications in Thai.

The tech giant continues to train Thai developers in AI capability, as well as retrain the existing blue-collar workforce in future skills.

In the US, Microsoft helps train military personnel to become data scientists. In Britain, the company has joined forces with universities to teach AI.

In Thailand, Microsoft has a discussion with the government, the prime minister and leading economic ministers, as well as the stock exchange regulator, to implement the AI principle for using AI in proper ways.

Preparation for the future is a must, he said, as the use of AI today is widespread in many sectors, including education, media, communications, manufacturing, retail, healthcare, agriculture, automotive and finance.

In the US, there is a push under way to establish principals and guidelines for AI as part of data governance in the new technology environment.

The AI principles comprise six angles: fairness, privacy/security, transparency, reliability, safety and accountability.

“If the government endorses regulations based on this issue, it will be beneficial to the country,” Mr. Dhanawat said.

Currently there are genuine use cases of AI such as machine-learning training tractors for corn harvesting and chatbots for inquiries to the Revenue Department and Thai Airways.

An application called Seeing AI helps those with visual impairment see and read.

“Microsoft also embraces AI capability in its Windows 10 and Office 365 to help increase productivity and efficiency,” Mr. Dhanawat said.

The company also plans to set up an AI lab locally, similar to an existing one in Taiwan.

With increasing AI adoption, Microsoft will encourage the use of its Intelligence Cloud platform in tandem with the Surface Pro device.

Apart from AI, blockchain and the Internet of Things are other emerging technologies that will see increasing adoption in Thailand during 2018-19.