April 18, 2024

AI in Davos and the new Samsung ring

Hi, I’m Kenji from Hong Kong.

I just returned from the World Economic Forum’s annual conference in the snowy Swiss city of Davos on Monday. This was the fourth time I covered the meeting, and while I’ve seen Asia’s presence grow over much of that time, this year interest in Asian affairs seems to have taken a backseat.

Of course, hot-button issues elsewhere were grabbing people’s attention, namely the prospect of Donald Trump returning to the White House and the two harrowing wars, in Ukraine and Gaza, being fought in and around Europe.

In addition to these issues, artificial intelligence was a widely discussed topic at the conference.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres called on the private sector to join an effort to develop a “networked and adaptive” governance model for AI. “We need governments to urgently work with technology companies on risk management frameworks for the current development of AI and on monitoring and mitigating future harms,” ​​he said, as the technology poses risks to human rights, personal privacy and society as a whole.

Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, shared a similar sentiment, saying, “Being proactive in risk management is the right thing to do” to avoid any “unintended consequences” of new technology.

Sam Altman, CEO of Microsoft-backed OpenAI and creator of ChatGPT, defended his invention at Davos. “Humans are going to have better tools. We’ve had better tools before,” he said. But even he recognized the need to manage risk. “We can draw on lessons from the past about how technology has been made secure and how different stakeholders have handled negotiations about what security means.”

AI Anxiety

The question of how to regulate AI was one of the most discussed topics this year at the winter meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Nikkei writes. Juliette Perreard.

Governments around the world have been exploring regulation and governance, but the European Union was the first to provisionally pass AI legislation in December. “Legislation is much slower than the tech world, but that is law,” Věra Jourová, vice president for values ​​and transparency at the European Commission, said at a Davos panel.

Her boss, commission president Ursula von der Leyen, highlighted in her opening speech that AI is “one of the main potential risks for the next decade.”

Another big topic of conversation around AI was China, especially its approach to privacy. Jourová said there were similarities between Chinese guidelines and those of the West, but she added that this has a “big but.”

“In China they want to use AI to keep society under control. . . “We want to maintain this philosophy of protecting people individually and balance it with national security measures,” she said. “So we cannot have a common language with China here.”

Chinese Prime Minister Li Qiang, who spoke immediately before von der Leyen, referred to AI only once in his speech, to boast about his country’s capabilities in this and other cutting-edge technologies, such as web computing. cloud, big data and blockchain.

Workforce 2.0

A labor crisis in Japan is forcing companies to rethink the way they operate, endangering iconic features of its service economy, from 24-hour convenience stores to food carts on trains, he writes Kana Inagaki, Leo Lewis and David Keohane for the Financial Times.

The world’s fastest aging economy has long struggled with a shortage of workers, but the crisis will deepen with new labor rules starting in April that would reduce overtime for construction workers and truck drivers.

According to the Recruit Works Institute, the country will have a labor shortage of 11 million people by 2040, and the number of people over 65, who already make up almost 30 percent of the population, is expected to reach its peak. peak in 2042.

Over the past decade, Japan has relied on female and older workers amid strict restrictions on hiring foreign workers. But Naruhisa Nakagawa, founder of hedge fund Caygan Capital, said that starting this year this would no longer be enough and the country’s workforce would begin to decline.

Companies are addressing the demographic challenge by introducing more avatars, robots and artificial intelligence into the workforce in key sectors such as construction, agriculture and retail.

house rules

Percentage Bar Chart Showing Automotive Chip Market Share in 2022

As part of its ambition to build a local semiconductor supply chain immune to the threat of US sanctions, the Chinese government has asked the industry to create technology standards for more than 30 major automotive semiconductors by 2025 and more than 70 types by 2030. .

An auto industry source told Nikkei Shunsuke Tabeta that the government “will likely use the standards-setting process to instruct automakers to use domestically-made semiconductors.”

Chips have been a weak point in China’s bid to take the lead in the global auto market, even as local EV makers gain market share overseas as the shift away from self-powered cars accelerates. for gasoline.

Domestic auto chip production covers only about 15 percent of China’s needs, according to industry data provider Gasgoo. For the advanced chips needed for autonomous driving, that percentage drops below 5 percent. IDC’s ranking among the top five vendors are non-Chinese, led by Germany’s Infineon.

Ringing the changes

The latest battleground for personal tech devices could be on your finger, as Samsung Electronics plans to launch a “smart ring” later this year, Nikkei Asia writes. Kim Jaewon.

Samsung showed off an image of the Galaxy Ring at its event in San Jose, California, last week, after unveiling its first AI-powered Galaxy S24 series smartphones. However, the South Korean tech titan remained silent on the details, leaving the market guessing about its capabilities and applications.

Roh Tae-moon, president and head of mobile experience at Samsung, said only that the ring can be worn comfortably 24 hours a day and will be an indispensable part of “the development of Samsung’s health services.”

However, it may have competition from its smartphone archrival, with one analyst noting that Apple has filed a patent related to a “skin-to-skin contact detection system.”

Suggested readings

  1. TSMC forecasts return to strong growth as global chip market (FT) recovers

  2. Tesla cars face more entry bans in China as ‘safety concerns’ accelerate (Nikkei Asia)

  3. AT&S to start chip substrate production in Malaysia this year (Nikkei Asia)

  4. China transfers investment to Latin America to compete with the West (FT)

  5. Europe overly reliant on Chinese batteries for electric vehicles, warns South Korea’s SK On (FT)

  6. Elon Musk: Chinese automakers would ‘demolish’ rivals without trade barriers (Nikkei Asia)

  7. North Korean cryptocurrency hacks hit record high in 2023, report says (Nikkei Asia)

  8. Australia sanctions Russian hacker for breaching Medibank (Nikkei Asia)

  9. OpenAI’s Sam Altman in talks with Middle East sponsors about chip company (FT)

  10. Chinese gaming stocks rise as regulator scraps draft rules (Nikkei Asia)

#techAsia is coordinated by Katherine Creel of Nikkei Asia in Tokyo, with assistance from the FT technical department in London.

Register here on Nikkei Asia to receive #techAsia every week. You can contact the editorial team at techasia@nex.nikkei.co.jp.

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