Thailand: The Impact of Artificial Intelligence and its possible effects on Thailand

By Jessica Sangiumpun and Dan Greif

With our ever-growing dependence on technology, the field of Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) is stronger than ever.  AI can be defined as “machine intelligence that imitates human intelligence processes including learning, reasoning, and self-correction.” Currently AI is mostly seen in “automation, machine learning, and robotics” with corporations like Google, Tesla, Netflix, and numerous other technology companies taking a keen interest. Its sheer impact on society is not debated. It is debated who, what, and to what degree it will impact society, jobs, economies, and the way people live their daily lives.

Many are concerned what the future holds with the presence of AI in our lives. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, “by 2030, intelligent agents and robots could replace as much as 30 percent of the world’s current human labor.” However, AI also has many foreseeable positive outcomes.

While AI could make many agricultural and manufacturing jobs obsolete, it could allow for the people previously in those jobs to work in higher-level jobs. This would mean that people would be working in fields that require more education and knowledge, which has the potential to increase innovation and benefit economies. Additionally, AI has the potential to affect global issues such as healthcare and poverty. Recent AI inventions show AI may assist to create “better disease prevention, higher accuracy diagnosis, and more effective treatments and cures” as well as improved analysis of satellite images.

As for the impact of AI in Thailand, the Bangkok Post predicts technology will increase this year, specifically in business, due to “powerful machine learning, predictive ability, and automation.” Panachit Kittipanya, president of the Thailand Tech Startup Association, states that investment in AI will continue to have a local and global impact. From 2016 to 2017 alone, AI investment in Asia “increased from US $6 billion to $12 billion.” Globally, investment in AI is expected to “reach $36.8 billion in 2025, with 60% related to big data and the rest dealing with image recognition.”

Panachit predicts that “the challenge for Thailand will be that most workers are low- or mid-level employees, meaning that many of the jobs for Thai employees will be replaced by automation, especially in the sectors of healthcare, banking, and retail.” However, the jobs  eliminated by AI will simultaneously allow for more jobs in data science, management, research and other high-level jobs.

Lastly, Artificial Intelligence in Thailand will bring further innovation in the sectors it affects. “Big Data” and new data analysis techniques “leverage use of data use of data loops from engaged customers, optimize operations to reduce cost, stay ahead of rivals, empower employees, and run product transformations” according to Dhanawat Suthumpun, managing director of Microsoft Thailand.

While AI will certainly have a disruptive effect on society and jobs, it also presents opportunities to increase high-level sophisticated jobs, as well as having a positive effect on society at large. Thai based companies and the Thai Government have been embracing AI and preparing for the disruptive impact it will create.

We will continue to report on the development of AI in Thailand, its impact on the Thai economy and society and how intellectual property in Thailand evolves to address the new intellectual property issues created by AI.


Photo by mikemacmarketing on / CC BY


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