The future of Vietnam lies in transforming the nation into a global powerhouse of technology and innovation. To achieve this, we must focus on developing key industries, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), semiconductors, and sustainable energy. Investing in these sectors will not only empower our workforce but also create a strong foundation for a technologically advanced Vietnamese economy. Recently, I talked about the importance of semiconductors on a panel for The Future of Generative AI. We discussed policy proposals to help make Vietnam a strong and prosperous country in a Post-ChatGPT AI world. In this article, we will discuss the importance of investment in Vietnam’s semiconductor industry and its potential impact on the country’s future.
Let’s take a moment to imagine what Vietnam should look like 20 years from now.
Imagine a Vietnam that stands among the most advanced nations like Japan, Korea, and America. A place where AI-driven technology enhances the capabilities of our workforce, with redundant tasks and decisions being taken care of by AI, empowering our people to learn, think, and excel in their chosen fields.
Envision Vietnam as a key player in the global semiconductor market, producing computing power to fuel the ever-growing AI industry.
Lastly, picture Vietnam as a leader in fusion power, providing sustainable energy for our server farms and tech infrastructure.
The Role of Semiconductors, Energy, and Specialized AI Systems in an AI-Driven Economy:
Semiconductors are the backbone of modern electronics, powering devices and systems essential to AI development. In an AI-driven economy, the demand for advanced semiconductors will only increase, making it crucial for Vietnam to invest in this industry. Vietnam is uniquely positioned to capitalize on geopolitical shifts in the global semiconductor industry. The evolving US-China relationship has led to US policies aimed at reducing dependence on China and reshoring key industries, including semiconductors. The US is seeking allies to accomplish this effectively, and Vietnam, along with Japan, emerges as a natural partner. Vietnam’s status as a beneficiary of the out-shoring of China’s manufacturing base, coupled with its alignment with US interests, presents a strategic opportunity to strengthen its semiconductor industry. Similarly, sustainable energy sources, such as fusion power, are vital for powering the high-tech infrastructure needed to support AI and other advanced technologies.
As AI continues to evolve rapidly, the landscape likely shifts from being dominated by a single general AI model to a more diverse ecosystem of specialized AI systems. These specialized systems will offer better quality and performance in high-value workflows and address specific needs more effectively than general AI models. Specialization in AI systems, combined with user feedback, ensures that AI systems are finely tuned to the unique requirements of each high-value workflow.
Strategic Initiatives for a Technologically Advanced Vietnam:
1. Develop a Multi-disciplinary Approach: Attract world-class experts and foster local talent in AI, semiconductor, and energy sectors. Encourage collaboration and knowledge sharing through research centers, innovation hubs, and the expansion of the Vietnam Innovation Network. Support the development of specialized AI systems to address high-value workflows with greater efficiency. For example, putting a semiconductor expert with an AI expert together can create specialist AIs that can accelerate chip design.
2. Establish National Strategic Funding: Create a dedicated fund to support research, development, and commercialization of innovative technologies in AI, Semiconductor, and Energy industries. Provide resources for start-ups and small businesses to scale their operations and compete globally. Prioritize funding for specialized AI systems that cater to high-value workflows.
3. Encourage Vietnamese-led Multinational Corporations: Implement policies that support the establishment and expansion of Vietnamese companies internationally. Foster a supportive ecosystem for entrepreneurship and promote collaboration between Vietnamese companies and international partners. Encourage the development of specialized AI systems within these corporations to cater to specific high-value workflows.
In practice, putting world-class experts into teams of different expertise is critical to our future success. For instance, we bring an AI expert to Vietnam and fund their research with $10 million. However, without commercialization, their funds will eventually run dry. To address this, we need to create teams with different expertise: The product person would direct the AI research, while marketing and sales people would help keep the money flowing. Putting together people from different disciplines can open up a lot of options.
When we combine an AI expert and a semiconductor expert, they can start creating specialist AIs to help with chip design, like a ChatGPT that can design microchips. With the best people working together to build commercially viable projects, it would be a good idea to create a National Strategic Fund for AI, semiconductors, and energy, with the goal of building a competitive and sustainable ecosystem for these industries.
By focusing on the development of AI, semiconductor, and energy industries, as well as embracing the shift towards specialized AI systems, 20 years from now, Vietnam can become one of the most technologically advanced countries on Earth. Through interdisciplinary collaboration, strategic funding, and the promotion of Vietnamese-led multinational corporations, we can build a brighter, more prosperous future for our people. Together, let’s make this compelling vision happen.