(ATTN: UPDATES with more info in last 2 paras; ADDS photo)
By Kang Yoon-seung
SEJONG, July 21 (Yonhap) — The South Korean finance ministry declared Friday that the country will expedite its adoption of digital technologies in the service sector, with the goal of boosting its competitiveness and providing convenience to everyday life.
This move is part of the effort to apply the latest technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), to various sectors, from logistics and finance to public administration, according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance.
“So far, the limited utilization of big data for AI and outdated regulations that fall behind the era of digitalization have been limiting the vitalization of digital services,” the ministry said in a statement.
“We plan to promote the convergence of digital services and all other industries in order to improve convenience for people in their everyday lives,” it added.
For example, the country will employ what it calls an intelligent transport system at major sites, including tourist attractions, to provide real-time bus location data via apps.
South Korea will also create legal foundations for delivery services utilizing drones and robots by revising the logistics law, which will provide safety guidelines.
In the finance sector, the country will enable tourists from Southeast Asia to use their home countries’ mobile payment systems through a partnership with Zero Pay, a South Korean public payment service.
South Korea plans to offer such services in collaboration with Thailand’s True Money, Malaysia’s TNG and Taiwan’s East Wallet by the end of this year.
The country will also offer instant tax refunds without requiring a passport, the ministry added.
South Korea will make efforts to modify regulations in the AI sector and enhance related infrastructure to accelerate the digitalization of the service sector, the ministry said.
“We intend to proactively address critical concerns surrounding the utilization of AI technology, such as the permissibility of AI robots providing medical services and the determination of liability in the event of accidents involving self-driving cars,” Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho said.