Thailand’s DES ministry to establish national AI committee

Plans are underway by the Digital Economy and Society (DES) Ministry in Thailand to establish a new national artificial intelligence (AI) committee. The initiative is part of the second phase of the national AI strategy. The strategy is a cornerstone of Thailand’s ASEAN Digital Economy and AI Hub Plan, a key driver for the country’s digital economy.

The ministry also intends to utilise a digital ID platform to bolster the digital wallet handout scheme.

DES Minister Prasert Jantararuangtong, while giving his keynote speech at Huawei’s Digital and Intelligence APAC Congress 2024 in Bangkok, emphasised the country’s commitment to digital and intelligence technology development. He stated that the digital economy is perceived as a growth engine to enhance Thailand’s competitiveness and electronic transaction efficiency.

Flagship projects under the digital economy initiative include the Cloud First Policy. A Cloud First Policy Board made up of related state agencies’ permanent secretaries-general is being set up to establish policy guidelines and standards for the cloud, including security and procurement rules.

The minister also acknowledged that budgeting for a cloud service follows the initial policy, and the establishment of a new AI committee will require Cabinet approval.

Expected to be set up by June, the new national AI committee will consist of representatives from various agencies, chaired by the prime minister. Its primary responsibility will be to spearhead the national AI strategy in its second phase.

AI development

The ministry is also working on AI development as part of its flagship policies. It’s developing a national AI service platform, a Thai large language model, and setting out guidelines on AI ethics, laws, regulations, and skill development.

The National Digital Economy and Society Commission is expected to work together with the National AI Committee. The Secretary-General of the National Digital Economy and Society Commission, Putchapong Nodthaisong, said the commission has AI ethical guidelines in place.

By the end of May, he expects its digital economy promotion subcommittee to consider drafting AI regulations.

Prasert said that the ministry targets half of the citizens to be using digital ID this year, and 100% in 2025. The Digital Government Development Agency’s digital ID app is expected to be used for the digital wallet scheme by the third quarter.

The ministry also intends to introduce the global digital talent visa, to attract 50,000 digital talents. Senior Vice President of Huawei and President of Huawei enterprise sales, Leo Chen, stated he is encouraged by the outlook.

“Asia-Pacific is expected to see a growth and investment surge in AI, with the value projected to reach US$87.6 billion in 2028, up from 22.1 billion in 2023. He noted that many countries, including Thailand, have national AI strategies.”

Digital economy

The top five industries leading the digital and intelligence transformation include professional services, telecom, retail, discrete manufacturing, and banking.

Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for Community and Corporate Affairs, Nararya S. Soeprapto, also mentioned that ASEAN’s digital economy reached US$300 billion in 2022 and could rise to US$1 trillion or even US$2 trillion by 2030.

The ICT sector of ASEAN witnessed a surge in foreign direct investment from multinational enterprises, hitting US$10.5 billion in 2022, up from US$5.9 billion in 2021.

The number of 5G subscribers in ASEAN could exceed 200 million with data consumption projected to increase sevenfold by 2030.

He mentioned that talent is indispensable for digital transformation, AI is not just creating or eliminating jobs; more than 20 million jobs are to be relocated in the six largest ASEAN economies.

President of Huawei’s Asia Pacific Enterprise Business Group, Nicholas Ma, revealed that Thailand is among its strategic countries within Asia-Pacific as the government pursues its vision for digital transformation, particularly AI and cloud and vertical demand in fintech, along with smart factories, Industry 4.0, education, and healthcare, reported Bangkok Post.

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Alex Morgan

Alex is a 42-year-old former corporate executive and business consultant with a degree in business administration. Boasting over 15 years of experience working in various industries, including technology, finance, and marketing, Alex has acquired in-depth knowledge about business strategies, management principles, and market trends. In recent years, Alex has transitioned into writing business articles and providing expert commentary on business-related issues. Fluent in English and proficient in data analysis, Alex strives to deliver well-researched and insightful content to readers, combining practical experience with a keen analytical eye to offer valuable perspectives on the ever-evolving business landscape.

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