HCMC determines to promote AI application for socio-economic development


The authorities of Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) since November 2018 have strived to implement information technology (IT) and focused on scientific-technological research in the process of establishing a smart city and becoming the national leader during Industry 4.0. In order to fulfill that task, the city has chosen Artificial Intelligence (AI) as the foundation, and has come up with its own detailed plan.

AI programs encourage startups to pay more attention to this aspect to develop HCMC. (Photo: SGGP)

AI programs encourage startups to pay more attention to this aspect to develop HCMC. (Photo: SGGP)

In March 2019, HCMC Department of Information & Communications cooperated with HCMC Department of Science & Technology to host the conference ‘Researching and Implementing AI in HCMC in the period from 2019-2025’ to identify the current status for the preparation of a sensible AI program for the city.

HCMC owns such benefits as strong economic resources and a lucrative market, absolutely eligible to form a center for studying and applying AI. In addition, being a young and dynamic city, HCMC has a large quantity of universities and research centers, becoming an ideal place to carry out AI-related studies.

With a population of over 10 million, along with 30,000 existing businesses of different industries, HCMC has already set a goal to create an AI ecosystem where there is a strong link between researchers and enterprises under the wise management and promotion of the municipal authorities.

Therefore, what the city needs is a source of sufficient AI professionals and AI-related units, and thus the demand to create a committee to build and administrate AI collaboration programs.

Statistics reveal that there are 30 AI programs held by several educational institutes in HCMC as well as a database of professionals and AI research organizations. The AI administration committee is planned to establish in the upcoming time.

In September 2019, the international conference ‘Global and Domestic Experience in Researching and Implementing AI – Advice for HCMC’ was held by HCMC People’s Committee in hope of aiding to achieve all goals of the program ‘Forming an Ecosystem to Apply AI in HCMC in the Period from 2019-2025’.

The results from this valuable event are essential for the city to introduce an AI ecosystem as well an AI center in the near future while successfully preparing necessary documents for the upcoming 11th HCMC Party Congress.

Obviously, HCMC has finished identifying the development direction for AI programs: serving citizens’ needs, aiding management tasks of the municipal authorities, boosting commercial profits of businesses.

However, lately, the application of AI into both manufacturing and answering social needs have not been able to keep up with other cities in the world owning to a lack of capable human resources.

Therefore, Chairman of HCMC People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong strongly stated that in order for HCMC to become a mega city and to better serve its residents, the city must include AI in its possible plans and programs.

Highly aware of the critical role of AI, the municipal authorities have already introduced several mechanisms and policies to boost AI researches and implementation in various aspects of life, including manufacturing and smart city forming. This is truly a precious time for Vietnam to shine in the global technological and economic maps.

Simultaneously, HCMC is welcoming all valuable international and domestic experience in AI research and application to effectively exploiting this cutting edge technology in the process to establish a smart city here, especially as to administration tasks.

It is proposed that in 2022, the proportion of piloting AI applications and platforms in smart city building in HCMC must occupy at least 30 percent, with the priority in urgent issues like warning citizens of urban flooding; announcing traffic status and optimizing traffic light switching time; monitoring and analyzing issues related to social security and sanitation in hotspots.

At the same time, there must be at least one Internet of Things (IoT) platform to transfer information, one supercomputer to process and analyze AI tasks, one common database for all activities in the new AI ecosystem.

From 2022-2025, with a vision to 2030, the city is going to continuously concentrate on developing AI-based technologies to keep up with the world, turning HCMC into a regional center for researching and implementing AI applications in 2025.

In order to fulfill these missions, at the moment, the local authorities are working hard with educational institutes to train capable human resources for the to-be AI ecosystem. Accordingly, universities are encouraged to organize new majors related to AI and increase admission quantity, to improve training quality and attract talented trainers of Asia for this teaching process, to raise awareness of state officers regarding AI-related matters, and to increase researching level of AI scientists in the nation.

Simultaneously, HCMC is going to purposely invest in major AI Labs to transform them into AI OpenLabs to support the scientific community as well as innovative startup communities in the process of implementing AI.

The city will also evaluate the feasibility of establishing a city-leveled center for AI research and a common database, building synchronous modern communications networks, investing and operating supercomputers and specialized software in the fields of computer science, telecommunications, and data processing.

The city is planning to form a consultation board for AI programs, along with its operation regulations; finish the framework of the program ‘Researching and Implementing AI in HCMC in the period from 2020-2030’; order and then use AI applications to tackle urgent issues in the city; and aid the smart city transformation process.

AI applications are going to be introduced in such fields as transport, healthcare, hi-tech agriculture, tourism, environment, water supply and draining, electricity, in hope of making breakthroughs in digital economy development.

Many new AI-related projects and contest like ‘AI Human Resources Training for HCMC’, ‘AI Contest 2020’, or ‘IT Business Festival HCMC 2020’ are to be launched to promote AI in the community.

It seems that HCMC’s decision to apply AI in several aspects of life, in administration processes, and in manufacturing displays its determination to keep up with future technology trends. This is one of the promising strategies for the city’s socio-economic development.

By Le Quoc Cuong, Deputy Director of HCMC Department of Information and Communications – Translated by Thanh Tam

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