October 12, 2023
BANGKOK – Last year, the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation joined hands with the Digital Economy and Society Ministry to draft the Thailand National AI Strategy and Action Plan for 2022-2027.
The action plan helped boost Thailand’s ranking in the 2022 AI Government Readiness Index to 33rd out of 181 nations and third in Asean after Singapore and Malaysia.
However, more needs to be done if Thailand wants to become an AI and technology hub in Asean.
The preparations must start with infrastructure, a crucial factor for the development and application of AI and other technologies in the country
For example, the government must push 5G to support the rapid deployment of AI technologies in all parts of the country. Adoption of 5G will also support the development of cloud computing and aid the creation of databases by public organisations and private companies to develop their own AI. Fifth-generation cellular tech will allow them to set up sandboxes to test their AI applications with all agencies concerned.
Moreover, the government must consider implementing a policy for systematic data filing so that data is secure and accessible to various agencies with good understanding of security rules.
At the same time, Thailand must develop its human tech capacity. Courses for teaching in schools and universities must be modernised to international standards. The number of instructors for these courses must be increased to meet demand in the labour market.
Government and private agencies can also jointly organise training to boost AI skills for tech personnel. They may be taught both basic and specialised AI skills so they can apply them in their work. And the government must play a key support role with policies and budget for AI research to create new knowledge that will be useful in the future.
It should invest and issue policies for local AI development, so that the business sector and industries get easier access to AI technologies that improve efficiency and profitability. This will also spur Thai AI developers to create more digital platforms to promote continued business growth in the country.
Last but not least is the need for PR and marketing. Government PR and marketing campaigns should be launched to publicise the potential of Thai technology on the international stage. This will boost confidence among foreign investors by showing them that Thailand attaches importance to technologies and high-skilled personnel. They will realise that Thai state and private agencies are cooperating to continually develop AI technologies. The government could invite representatives from abroad to join seminars showcasing the capabilities of the Thai AI sector and personnel.
However, these various preparations cannot happen without support from both state and private agencies and a widespread recognition of the importance of AI. If each Thai company were to adopt even the smallest AI innovation, the collective driving force would see Thailand become an AI and technological hub of Asean.
Thuchakorn Vachiramon, founder and CEO of Sertis