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Taiwan to introduce new law to promote AI development

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Taiwan plans to introduce a fundamental law as part of the national strategy to promote the development of AI technology. The legislation serves to define the direction of technological development, provide guidance for industry players and researchers, and build an AI ecosystem in Taiwan. In the meantime, it's expected to build public understanding and trust in AI applications and tackle the ensuing ethical issues.

The bill, proposed by Jason Hsu, a former tech entrepreneur, has passed the first reading in the previous parliamentary session. Describing it as "crucial and revolutionary," he urged the major parties in the parliament to reach consensus as soon as possible and pass the bill in the last session of this year.

Last week, Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) had published the world's first guideline for research and development in AI. Recognizing the central government's efforts, Hsu pointed out that the his bill, along with a comprehensive plan of talent recruitment, will support further technological development that MOST enables.

According to Hsu, the bill was drafted with reference to similar policies in a number of countries, including Japan, the UK, and the US. It aims to lead the technical progress in the country, following the executive order on Maintaining American Leadership In Artificial Intelligence issued under the Trump administration.

On Tuesday (Oct. 1), at the press conference in which he explained the proposed bill, Hsu stressed that there's an urgent need to establish rules for AI application as it involves a large-scale use of public data. This is also one of the main focuses of the bill.

Dr. Jack Li, AI expert who had been selected as the president of the International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA) in this month, said Taiwan has a great potential in developing medical AI applications with the National Health Insurance Research Database (NHIRD), which contains healthcare data from its 23 million citizens.

Hsu also added that the country's open-source data can also be utilized in more scenarios under the new bill.

Ming-Jye Huang, professor of the law school at National Taiwan University, pointed out that driverless cars can cause great impact on traffic regulation and urban planning, hence the necessity of a new law.

Last year, the government had also introduced a regulatory sandbox for driverless vehicles to provide a safe space for companies to test their products in a live environment for four years.

Hsu believes the bill, if passed, will not only "unshackle" but accelerate the development of AI applications.

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Bryan Chou
Journalist & Global PR

Bryan Chou is a writer, a translator, and a journalist for Business Next. The year he spent in NTU student press as an editor is the beginning of his writing journey. After the internship experience in a Taipei-based startup, he started to write about innovative tech and entrepreneurship while keeping abreast of the changing social and political landscape on a global scale.

He has a BA in Foreign languages and literatures from NTU. After graduation, he spent a year in Prague, traveling extensively around Europe to learn about the history and culture of the region from local people. Currently based in Taipei, he hopes to present the best of Taiwan to the world.