News Release

ETRI has greatly accelerated the settlement of Korean AI through Exobrain research

The 10-year long journey of 『Exobrain』 development, with the goal of developing domestic Korean AI, has come to an end

Business Announcement

National Research Council of Science & Technology

ETRI has greatly accelerated the settlement of Korean AI through Exobrain research_1

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Credit: Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute(ETRI)

It is evaluated that the Korean artificial intelligence R&D project by domestic researchers has revitalized the artificial intelligence(AI) ecosystem in Korea and has greatly accelerated the settlement of Korean AI. As a result, it is said that it is preventing the market erosion by foreign AI solutions and establishing itself as a world-class artificial intelligence leader.

The Korea Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute(ETRI) announced that the Korean artificial intelligence "Exobrain" project greatly contributed to the creation of a domestic artificial intelligence ecosystem in Korea with ▲490 domestic and foreign papers ▲362 domestic and foreign patent applications ▲KRW 8.5 billion in technology transfer and KRW 13.3 billion in commercialization ▲2 KOSDAQ listed companies, etc.

Exobrain1) project was conducted for 10 years in 3 phases from May 2013 to February this year, with ▲general and 1 detailed task by ETRI ▲2 detailed task by Saltlux ▲3 detailed task by KAIST2).
1) ExoBrain: The name of the Korean artificial intelligence project, which means an artificial brain outside of my body.
2) (Overall/1 detailed task) Development of intelligent evolutionary WiseQA platform technology for human knowledge augmentation service (ETRI)

ExoBrain researchers developed world-class Korean artificial intelligence technologies, such as in-depth question-answering technology that finds answers to natural language questions in searched documents, Korean language analysis technology, deep learning language model-based application technology, and knowledge base-based reasoning technology.

In November 2016, it won the victory in <Contest! Exobrain>, scholarship quiz contest with human quiz kings, proving the possibility of securing the sovereignty of domestic AI.

In addition, ETRI has distributed language intelligence technology and machine learning data developed through the project through the open API and data service portal( since 2017 for the first time as a domestic R&D project.

The research team has so far disclosed 18 types of language processing technologies, 14 types of learning data, and 2 types of language models. As of the end of 2022, the published data had been used more than 61 million times by 2,349 institutions.

In 2019, the Korean language model KorBERT3), which has 4.5 % better performance than the language model BERT developed by Google, was developed and released for the first time in Korea.
3) KorBERT: Korean Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. A language model optimized for Korean learned at ETRI. Many companies are utilizing deep learning language model technology based on morphological analysis, such as the method proposed by ETRI.

In addition, Exobrain researchers achieved KRW 8.53 billion in license fees and KRW 13.3 billion in commercialization through 193 technology transfers over 10 years. Through this, it has greatly contributed to preventing foreign AI solutions such as Google and IBM from encroaching on the domestic market.

The achievements of the organizations participating in the research are also notable. In July 2020, Saltlux, 2 detailed task organizer, and Mindslab, 1 detailed task co-organizer, were listed on the KOSDAQ in November 2021, respectively.

In addition, in the Exobrain project, efforts were made to secure original technology through standardization4) related to language intelligence data and technology, and submission of numerous patents and papers, etc.5)
4) Adopted 6 domestic and 7 international standards, adopted 85 from international contributions, adopted 16 from domestic contributions
5) Registered 24 international patents and 82.5 domestic patents, applied 130.4 international patents, 232.5 domestic patents. Submitted 75.6 cases of SCI/E level, 409.9 cases of non-SCI (international+domestic)

Since April of last year, ETRI researchers have been conducting research on the development of artificial intelligence SW that can support decision-making by experts in various fields by expanding the explanatory attribute of natural language processing technology as a follow-up project to the Exobrain project.6)
6) (4 detailed task) Development of artificial intelligence technology to support decision-making by experts who can explain the reasons/grounds for the judgment results of the subject of expertise (2022.4.1.~2026.12.31. (4 years and 9 months))

Unlike ChatGPT, which is easy to use and versatile for the general public, it is expected to show differentiated results by presenting a natural language-based explanation(correct answer) specialized in a specific domain such as law and finance together with a reliable ground for the explanation.

Lee Hyun-kyu, a PM in the Institute for Information and Communications Technology Planning and Evaluation(IITP) said, “Exobrain is a representative technology that is most widely used in the commercialization market as a result of national projects, and has made a great contribution to the development of domestic artificial intelligence technology. In the future, it would be desirable to promote it as a mission-oriented project that enhances the current performance or insufficient functions.”

Dr. Bae Kyeong-man in ETRI, who is in charge of the Exobrain Project, said, “We will make efforts so that the achievements of the Exobrain project accumulated over the past 10 years will not be lost and will be continuously utilized, and through follow-up projects with the project members, we will work hard to develop the technology to advance the Exobrain technology one step further.”



This project was promoted as an innovative growth engine project by the Ministry of Science and ICT and the Institute of Information and Communication Planning and Evaluation(IITP), and in February 2023, the 10-year grand project was completed.


About Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI)

ETRI is a non-profit government-funded research institute. Since its foundation in 1976, ETRI, a global ICT research institute, has been making its immense effort to provide Korea a remarkable growth in the field of ICT industry. ETRI delivers Korea as one of the top ICT nations in the World, by unceasingly developing world’s first and best technologies.

This technology was developed with the assistance of the Ministry of Science and ICT.

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