South Korea established an AI council to oversee development of the technology, detailing a hefty set of investment plans as it seeks to bring more tangible benefits to tackle social challenges including falling birth rates.

The Ministry of Science and ICT today (4 April) explained the AI council would be chaired by Minister Lee Jong Ho and Yeom Jaeho, the president of Taejae University. Commissioners will be drawn from various sectors including the semiconductor industry along with a brace of other government ministries covering finance, trade, industry and more.

Korea intends for the council to explore AI semiconductors, legal matters, and ethics and safety concerns.

These are among 69 areas The Korea Times reported the government plans to pump a total of KRW710.2 billion ($527.1 million) into across 2024, as it seeks to tap a financial impact from AI which is predicted to hit KRW310 trillion a year by 2026.

Where most such investments are pitched solely around promoting national economies, Korea is also keen to explore how AI could more directly benefit society, for example by addressing low birth rates.

It is also exploring how legal systems and ethics must be adapted to enable AI to thrive, along with seeking to promote domestic businesses in areas including semiconductors.

The Korea Times reported the ICT minister said action was needed due to the spread of generative AI and that his department sees itself as having responsibility to ensure people can reap the benefits of the technology.