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Dienstag, 29.09.2020
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I've been wondering how far artificial intelligence (AI) can go to make human life easier and, amid the current pandemic, safer. A good place to start is Japan, where AI is gaining ground in fields from fashion to elder care.

For example, apparel companies hit by the pandemic have been tapping AI technology to boost sagging sales, using it to predict trending designs and colours.

The Tokyo-based startup Neural Pocket runs a system that collects data related to clothing on fashion websites, Instagram and other social networks to analyse day-to-day changes in trends. Doing so can help it predict the next hit products by analysing colours, designs and garment lengths.

It's a new approach for the apparel industry, which generally relies on the experience and instinct of designers to predict trends. But demand is growing for more efficient ways to spot the next hot items. Retailers feeling the financial strain don't want to be stuck with inventory they can't sell.

So what's hot right now? According to Neural Pocket, clothing in whitish colours, known to impart a sense of security, is becoming popular in our Covid-anxiety age.

Zozo Inc, the operator of the online clothing store Zozotown, is using AI to automatically form customer lists for sales promotion correspondence after analysing such things as past purchases and tastes. Many consumers in Japan remain cautious about visiting physical stores, so online sales are gaining ground.

AI-based devices are also being introduced to nursing and elder care as a chronic shortage of caregivers and the pandemic limit face-to-face contact. Sensors monitor the habits of the elderly while AI-initiated phone calls check on seniors daily, allowing caregivers to look after them remotely.

With sensors installed in the bathroom, bedroom and refrigerator, and attached to doors, a care manager has access via the internet to data on how frequently a patient uses the bathroom, how long he sleeps and whether he has eaten. Terrific, isn't it?

Worldwide, AI utilisation is becoming mainstream and dramatically changing the way we work, communicate and even live.

In Asia, AI research and commercialisation is broadening. From Japan to Singapore, AI startups and research clusters are emerging, with huge potential to profit from AI deployment. Leading tech companies in Japan and South Korea have some of the highest number of AI patent filings, according to the World Intellectual Property Organisation.

As the first country with widespread 5G deployment, South Korea has an edge in gathering data that will deepen its AI prowess in areas such as smart manufacturing, immersive gaming and autonomous vehicles.

In Southeast Asia, Singapore has set out an ambitious vision to become a leading AI hub. Among the key ingredients are capital investments for startups, support of small businesses to use AI, and investment in research and subsidies for citizens to upskill.

As investment in manufacturing shifts from China to Southeast Asia, companies are bringing AI-powered automation to the industries of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. Indonesia has come up with a national AI strategy ranging from e-commerce to smart city plans for its new capital. The aim is to develop AI for public services that could have a major impact on society.

Besides manufacturing, AI adoption is growing in sectors such as finance, healthcare and telecoms. The technology has been playing a leading role in the fight against Covid-19. Scientists have used AI to help predict future outbreak zones, sift through research, and even run simulations on drugs to determine their efficacy.

While Singapore has made great strides, Asean overall lags in rapid AI adoption despite its potential for large productivity gains. In Thailand, for instance, only 26% of businesses are confident about handling the challenges of advanced types of work driven by and with machines, well below the regional average of 38%, a recent survey showed.

Ultimately, the transition will not happen without an acute understanding of the relationship between humans and machines. Asean businesses must recognise machine intelligence as the ultimate game changer, and be prepared to navigate through change, disruption and risk.

Despite the unprecedented opportunities it is set to create, AI adoption is not always a simple proposition. Given that Asean does not have a vast pool of talent, the entire region will need to strengthen its digital infrastructure and develop a deeper talent pool with advanced digital skills. Then, Asean together can transform into a hub for accelerated AI adoption for the greater good.

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Nareerat Wiriyapong

Quelle/Source: Bangkok Post, 10.08.2020

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