SEOUL -- More than 2 million viewers tuned into a Go match series broadcast live from South Korea on YouTube in March. For the first time, global attention was focused on the ancient Chinese board game as Lee Se-dol, one of the world's top players, took on an artificial intelligence program named AlphaGo -- created by Deep Mind, Google's appropriately named AI research team. AlphaGo won 4-1, despite excited cheering from Lee's fans.
Interest in AI has spiked in South Korea in recent months. The administration of President Park Geun-hye has announced that it will invest 1 trillion South Korean won ($866 million) over the next five years to develop AI technologies through joint private-public projects.