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Vietnam launches AI-based language applications

The Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) has launched an artificial intelligence (AI)-based  Vietnamese-language speech-to-text generator, VAIS, and a text-to-speech engine, Vbee, during a ceremony in Hanoi.

The launch formed part of a series of events hosted by the Ministry to introduce a selection of Made-in-Vietnam digital platforms contributing to the country’s digital transformation and e-government building.

According to a media report, addressing the event, the Deputy Minister of MIC, Nguyen Thanh Hung, said VAIS and Vbee are the two pioneering digital platforms in Vietnam that use AI to convert speech to text and vice versa.

The applications are sponsored by the Ministry.

VAIS can recognise various Vietnamese accents from all northern, central, and southern regions with an accuracy rate of up to 95% and immediately produce results at an exceptional speed.

Deputy Minister added that it can still convert speech to text effectively in a noisy environment or from a long distance.

It has been used by many governmental organisations, including the Offices of the Party Central Committee, the Government and the National Assembly, MIC, and the Hanoi People’s Committee.

Meanwhile, Vbee converts written texts into spoken words with emotions, he explained, it can predict the way a person reads a word, or abbreviations and specific words in the Vietnamese language that no other platform can offer.

The two platforms are available on the official websites.

Vietnam is in the early stage of AI development. It has made a strong start at the A level and is moving towards the B and C levels.

AI is present in Vietnam in all fields where data is generated and in automation, such as corporate financial reports, failure prediction or machine maintenance, and process automation.

According to an industry expert, AI will be popular due to mobile terminals, cloud computing, machine learning algorithms, and deep learning in increasingly faster and stronger infrastructure.

A press release quoted an AI-based services company that believes that the demand for AI is very high, especially in agriculture, service, environment, administration management, and transport. However, the development has been hindered by the thinking that AI application is still ‘unnecessary’ or ‘too early’ for a developing country like Vietnam.

AI has been used at farms to predict crops, crop diseases, and increase yield and harvesting quality. State management agencies use AI to manage traffic and replace paper tickets.

There are four problems that Vietnam’s businesses need to solve, including market demand, manpower with adequate knowledge of AI theory and related tools, data collection, and issues that need to be solved with Vietnamese natural language.

Though technology giants and academic researchers have basic tools, it will be expensive to use them. They are still not flexible enough and it will take time to localise them, the release noted.

Therefore, Vietnam needs to seek manpower that can undertake this work, from universities, academies, and research centres. Most polytechnic universities and junior colleges provide AI training to students.

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