At today’s weekly Cabinet meeting, Premier Lin Chuan touted the Ministry of Science and Technology’s (MOST) strategy plan for artificial intelligence (AI) scientific research, saying AI will be critical to Taiwan’s competitiveness for the next 30 years. Countries possessing AI advantages are certain to lead the world in technological development and wield influence, making the plan all the more important for Taiwan’s future.

The ministry will devote NT$16 billion (US$528.7 million) over the next five years to building an AI innovation ecosystem in Taiwan, the premier continued. Objectives for the end of 2017 are to set up an AI innovative research center, AI Robot Maker Space facilities at the Central Taiwan Science Park and Southern Taiwan Science Park, and other AI-related infrastructure.

According to MOST, the plan will promote AI by leveraging Taiwan’s world-leading ICT advantages and applying five strategies: creating an AI platform to provide R&D services, establishing an AI innovative research center, setting up AI robot maker spaces, subsidizing a semiconductor “moonshot” program to explore ambitious and groundbreaking smart technologies, and organizing Formosa Grand Challenge competitions to engage young people in the development of AI applications.

All of these efforts will weave Taiwan’s people, technologies, facilities and businesses into a broader AI innovation ecosystem, making Taiwan a major hub for AI development and nurturing emerging AI industries and applications, the ministry said.