South Korea's Untact Initiative Will Expand Their Robotics & Artificial Intelligence Capabilities

Bloomberg Businessweek pp30-31 Economics “South Korea Bets on ‘Untact’”. “It seeks to lead in technologies that eliminate the need for person-to-person interaction”.

South Korean “economic growth has been slugfest in recent years, averaging 2.9% a year since 2010, compared with 4.4% annually from 2000 to 2009”. With the COVID-19 impact growth is estimated at 0.1% with a deficit of 4% GDP this year. President Moon Jea-in is pushing a $62B ‘New Deal’ like program called ‘Untact’. Untact took on added importance with the SIP etc. from COVID-19 as it aims for “a future where people increasingly interact online and companies replace humans with machines to immunize themselves against the effects of rising wages and a rapidly aging workforce”. The plan looks to add 550,000 jobs investing “in remote working systems for 160,000 companies, a high-speed internet infrastructure connecting 1,300 farming and fishing villages”…and more investment in robots, drones, self-driving vehicles, and other technologies that will reduce the need for person-to-person contact”.

South Korea also looks to lessen dependence on China for exports by reshoring. Behind only Singapore with 831 robots per 10,000 workers, South Korea uses 774 robots per 10,000 workers and feels the Post-COVID-19 world will be fundamental different making automation increasingly important. They pledge to “raise an army of 100,000 AI specialists and to raise minimum wage by about 15%. Fast food restaurants and retailers are installing self-ordering kiosks and cashless locations to counter COVID-19 like issues-the need for contactless society, and to raise wages for jobs that remain.

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