Microsoft says Thailand is a focus country for AI

Microsoft considers Thailand one of its focus countries for encouraging the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI), the company said last week, as it unveiled its strategy to advance language localization, retrain workers in the use of AI and develop ethical guidelines for AI use in the Thai market.

Microsoft wants to see Thailand using “AI at a deeper level, with massive adoption by businesses, developers, and the government,” said Dhanawat Suthumpun, managing director of Microsoft Thailand.

To help turn that vision into reality, the company has engaged in talks with a range of government officials and is working on a project with the Digital Economy Promotion Agency, he said. With AI already becoming widespread in many industries globally, Thailand needs to prepare for AI penetration into its economy and society.

“We have had a discussion with the government, the prime minister, and leading economic ministers, as well as the stock exchange regulator, to implement the AI principle for using AI in proper ways,” Dhanawat said.

Microsoft’s project with the Digital Economy Promotion Agency is centered on reskilling for AI by offering teaching programs for retraining businesses in preparation for the digital transformation. The company also has plans to establish an AI laboratory in Thailand similar to one it has in Taiwan to advance research and development of AI.

Microsoft is concentrating on language localization in Thailand through the launch of text-to-speech with Thai-language support on the Azure cloud-based platform. This will help developers create applications in Thai, Dhanawat said. The company is also training Thai developers in AI.

AI inspires the imagination, but also fear. Applied in business and in the home, AI can perform some functions faster and more efficiently than humans and make life easier. On the other hand, as many as 40,000 bank employees in Thailand are facing an uncertain future because of AI, as it will automate their jobs and leave them unemployed.

Ethical questions are also a concern. Dhanawat supports the idea of government developing regulations to ensure that AI is not misused. In the United States, Microsoft is among many companies participating in the development of a set of principles and guidelines for AI use, especially in data governance and new technologies.

The AI ethical principles address fairness, privacy/security, transparency, reliability, safety, and accountability.

“If the government endorses regulations based on this issue, it will be beneficial to the country,” Dhanawat said.