Seoul Digital Foundation unveils plan to deploy AI for subway passenger behavior

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The Seoul Digital Foundation announced three different projects to utilize artificial intelligence in public facilities and services during a press conference Thursday.

The three projects were announced under three categories: safety, popularization and morality.

Under safety, the Seoul Digital Foundation announced that they would work with Seoul Metro to build an artificial intelligence-based system to monitor and track unusual behavior among subway passengers by 2025. This follows the series of incidents that have heightened public concern about safety on the subway, including a stabbing incident on Line No. 2 in August that left two passengers injured.

By using AI-powered “image captioning” technology, footage caught on surveillance cameras will be translated into textual descriptions which will be forwarded to subway officials for immediate action.

The system will also be capable of “getting the full picture,” connecting the dots between footage caught on camera at different times. “For example, if someone was caught on camera holding a knife, then hiding it in their pocket, the system would notify officials that the individual is armed based on its previous footage of the suspected person holding a knife,” said a Seoul Digital Foundation official.

To popularize artificial intelligence usage even among the elderly, the Seoul Digital Foundation also plans to introduce a new chatbot system that answers digital technology-related questions from the elderly with a large language model like ChatGPT.

A beta chatbot model will be launched at the end of 2023, and be further modified based on user feedback. The foundation aims to officially launch the chatbot system by the second half of 2024.

With the rise of technologies using generative artificial intelligence like ChatGPT, the foundation also identified some ethical issues that could arise in the future. To prevent such issues from arising, the foundation also plans to launch its own AI ethical guidelines centered on users, sustainability and risk prevention.

“We will continuously introduce various projects to support Seoul’s goal to become a ‘Global Top 5 City’,” said Kang Yo-sik, CEO of Seoul Digital Foundation. “We will strive to create innovative changes that make citizens feel the changes made in their daily lives.”

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