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Deep Learning: Changing the Game for Problem Solving

Amidst the “machine-learning revolution,” information processing plays a crucial role in transforming products and services to shape a better world. In recent years, machine learning has not only accelerated how technology impacts consumers, it has also created profound solutions for society-wide problems. Leading tech companies such as Google are heavily invested in artificial intelligence (AI) with teams dedicated to research and development of computing systems, which involves understanding of data science, modeling, and distributed computation techniques.

On July 6, AmCham Taipei’s Technology Committee hosted a luncheon presentation at the Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel by Ed Chi, Principal Scientist and Research Lead at Google AI, on the subject of “How Advances in Deep Learning are Changing How We Solve Problems.

From left to right: AmCham Taipei Governor Anita Chen, Head of Public Policy and Government Affairs, Google Taiwan; AmCham President William Foreman; AmCham’s Technology Committee Co-Chair, Hans Huang, Vice President, Corning Display Technologies Taiwan; Speaker Ed Chi, Principal Scientist and Research Lead, Google AI; and AmCham’s Governor and Technology Committee Co-Chair, Revital Golan, CEO, Anemone Ventures.

Chi cited a few examples of machine-learning applications that are transforming industries and how we live:

  • Improving traffic and transportation conditions by enabling Google’s self-driving cars to “see” with a 3% error rate.
  • Preventing diseases through early intervention using automated analysis of retinal imaging.
  • Improving healthcare services by using medical records to make predictions about patients’ health and identify risks.
  • Aiding the design of new medicines by using neural simulation to understand how molecules interact with one another.
  • Enabling better communication by utilizing neural machine translation to learn over time how to produce real-time voice translations that sound more natural and human-like.

In closing, Chi highlighted that Taiwan’s robust semiconductor supply chain industry will be critical in the machine-learning revolution. With its cutting-edge technology and rich history in semiconductor manufacturing, Taiwan is well positioned to take the lead in fostering advancements in machine learning and growing trends in AI, he said.

Interested in attending our events? Join us at other upcoming events, click here.

Note: AmCham events are intended primarily for AmCham members and their guests. Many events are open to members’ guests and other non-members, but the attendance of any non-member must be approved in advance. AmCham reserves the right not to admit a non-member to any event without explanation.

Central Bank Digital Currencies, Blockchains, and Digital Cash

Several central banks around the world, including the Bank of England and the central banks of Sweden and Uruguay, have been studying the idea of introducing central bank digital currencies (CBDC) as a means of moving toward a cashless future. According to Wikipedia, “central bank digital currency is different from ‘digital currency’ (or virtual currency and cryptocurrency), which are not issued by the state and lack the legal tender status declared by the government.” As legal tender, CBDC could compete with commercial bank deposits and challenge the existing system in which only a fraction of bank deposits are backed by actual cash on hand.

To help explain the potential percussions for the financial sector, the AmCham Technology Committee sponsored a presentation on June 9 in AmCham Taipei’s Lincoln Room. Antony Lewis, Singapore Director of Research at blockchain software firm R3, spoke on “Central Bank Digital Currencies, Blockchains, and Digital Cash,” addressing the prospective challenges for financial regulators and the potential advantages that the advent of digital cash could bring, including more secure settlement methods.

From left to right: Carl Wegner, Managing Director, R3 / Head of AsiaAntony Lewis, Director of Research, R3 / Central Bank Digital Currency lead; AmCham Technology Committee Co-chair Revital Shpangental Golan, CEO, Anemone Ventures;

Strong Outlook for the Semiconductor Sector

2017 was a landmark year for the global semiconductor industry. Due to an astounding 57% rise in sales in the memory sector, total revenue in the industry is poised to surpass US$400 billion for the first time. In addition, after 25 years as the global leader in the semiconductor field, Intel will be losing that title to Samsung.

From left to right: AmCham Senior Director Don Shapiro, Editor-in-Chief; Speaker Ben Lee, Principal Analyst at Gartner Group Taiwan Ltd.; Technology committee co-chair Revital Shpangental Golan, CEO of Anemone Ventures.

Ben Lee, principal analyst at Gartner Group Taiwan, sought to shed light on those and other recent developments at a luncheon meeting of AmCham Taipei’s Technology Committee at The Sherwood Taipei on December 8. Most of the growth this past year was due to a rise in selling prices – spurred by an undersupply of product in 2016 – rather than increased production volume, Lee explained. As a result of the changed market dynamics, memory now accounts for about 30% of the total semiconductor market, up from 24% a year ago.

Lee sees continued growth, though at a more moderate pace, in 2018, driven by heightened demand in such categories as automotive-electronics and robotics. The development of products centered on the Internet of Things will help make up for the decline in such areas as PCs and smart phones.

Interested in attending our events? Join us at other upcoming events, click here.

Note: AmCham events are intended primarily for AmCham members and their guests. Many events are open to members’ guests and other non-members, but the attendance of any non-member must be approved in advance. AmCham reserves the right not to admit a non-member to any event without explanation.

2017 Trade Secrets Act Forum

Taiwan has had Trade Secrets legislation on the books since 1996, but the law has been strengthened substantially in recent years in response to the increased number of cases of theft of confidential commercial information.

On December 6, AmCham Taipei’s Technology Committee and Intellectual Property & Licensing Committee jointly sponsored a seminar at the Westin Taipei to review the latest trends in trade secrets protection. Specialist Chen Hsin-ru (陳信儒) from the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Intellectual Property Office opened the session with a definition of what constitutes a Trade Secret, followed by describing the detailed steps involved in filing a lawsuit if one’s trade secretshave been infringed upon.

Citing real-life cases as examples, Prosecutor Liu Yi-jun (劉怡君) from the Hsinchu District Prosecutors Office shared the process of investigation, including what evidence was required and what could help reinforce a case, as well as what corporations can do to prevent the violation of trade secrets. Special Investigator Pan Ji-xiang (潘季翔) from New Taipei City’s Investigation Bureau concluded the discourse with enforcement and litigation statistics.

From left to right: Speaker Special Investigator Pan of the New Taipei City Investigation Bureau; Speaker Specialist Chen of the Taiwan Intellectual Property Office; Speaker Prosecutor Liu of the Hsinchu District Prosecutors Office; and AmCham IP&L Committee co-chair Peter J. Dernbach of the Winkler Partners law firm.

During the Q&A session, attendees raised numerous questions about the coverage of the Act and its enforcement. This seminar helped build a communications bridge between the business and law enforcement communities in the hope of enhancing regulative efficiency and strengthening the protection of valuable intellectual properties.

Interested in attending our events? Join us at other upcoming events, click here.

Note: AmCham events are intended primarily for AmCham members and their guests. Many events are open to members’ guests and other non-members, but the attendance of any non-member must be approved in advance. AmCham reserves the right not to admit a non-member to any event without explanation.

Asia Silicon Valley Project: Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Taiwan

In today’s knowledge-based economy, scientific and technological innovation has become a key driver of economic growth and national progress. For this reason, Taiwan’s Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) is trying hard to facilitate stronger links between academic research and industrial development.

AmCham Taipei’s Technology Committee held a luncheon at the W Hotel Taipei on August 18, inviting Minister of Science and Technology Chen Liang-Gee to introduce the Asia Silicon Valley Project and discuss how MOST is fostering an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit to encourage creativity in science and technology.

Chen explained that to connect Taiwan to global tech clusters and create new industries for the next generation, MOST will be implementing the following programs:

  • Establish a comprehensive Internet of Things (IoT) value chain by collaborating with key players in the ecosystem – including chip and device makers, and software and network service providers – to integrate hardware advantages into smart applications.
  • Foster Taiwan’s startup and entrepreneurship ecosystem by working with universities and helping top local talent establish professional networks with Silicon Valley to boost Taiwan’s academic and industrial competitiveness at the international level.
  • Develop an innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem by linking select Taiwan startups with Silicon Valley to offer training and resources, as well encourage mutual long-term partnership.

From left to right: AmCham’s Technology Committee Co-Chair, Revital Shpangental Golan, CEO, Anemone Ventures; Chen Liang-Gee, Minister of Science and Technology of Taiwan; Andrea Wu, AmCham Taipei President; and AmCham’s Technology Committee Co-Chair, Connie Wang, Director, Corning Advanced Technology Center, Corning Display Technologies Taiwan.

In the near future, the Ministry will set up an artificial intelligence and robotics production base as part of wider government efforts to foster the AI industry and bolster Taiwan’s competitiveness in smart manufacturing. The Ministry will also aim to develop IoT technologies while building a complete innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem under the Asia Silicon Valley Development Plan. The plan will also focus on IoT security, augmented and virtual reality, artificial intelligence applications, self-driving vehicles, and mobile lifestyles. These efforts will be combined with the New Southbound Policy to take advantage of new economic trends and opportunities.

Interested in attending our events? Join us at other upcoming events, click here.

Note: AmCham events are intended primarily for AmCham members and their guests. Many events are open to members’ guests and other non-members, but the attendance of any non-member must be approved in advance. AmCham reserves the right not to admit a non-member to any event without explanation.

AmCham 2016 Cybersecurity Forum

With the U.S. presidential race embroiled in controversy due in no small part to hacked emails revealing intimate details of strategy and opinion, while Taiwan deals with a spectacular heist of local ATMs by Russian hackers based in London, the threat of cyber-attacks spans the globe.

Accordingly, on October 6, AmCham Taipei joined hands with three influential Taiwanese associations – the Information Service Industry Association of the R.O.C. (CISA), the Cloud Computing Association in Taiwan, and Taipei Computer Association (TCA) – to host the 2016 Cybersecurity Forum. Sponsored by Microsoft Taiwan and the FireEye internet security firm, the forum featured notable speakers representing the U.S. FBI, the Executive Yuan’s Department of Cyber Security, the Ministry of Justice, and Deloitte & Touche, as well as industry experts from FireEye, IBM, Intumit, and Microsoft.

The forum opened with recorded remarks by Audrey Tang, the celebrated “hacktivist” and now Minister without Portfolio, who described attacks against Taiwanese government and businesses as “one of the most urgent challenges that we have to deal with.” Tang said that only by assuring cybersecurity “can we realize the full potential” of the internet as a “vibrant force for economic, social and cultural development.”

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Rod Morgan, AmCham Technology co-chair and head of Inotera/Micron in Taiwan, introduced the speakers, starting with Joshua Kim, the U.S. FBI legal attaché for Hong Kong-Taipei. According to Kim, a cyberattack follows a general “kill chain,” which starts with reconnaissance of a system for vulnerabilities, penetration and delivery of malicious code to take control of the target computers, and finally, data or money theft, or network destabilization.

The Cybersecurity Management Act

Taiwan’s government is developing its Cybersecurity Management Act to establish the legal and regulatory framework to “help government and the private sector to improve cybersecurity and risk management,” noted Jyan Hong-wei, Director-General for the Department of Cybersecurity under the Executive Yuan. Jyan said that while the government has a number of executive orders targeted at improving cybersecurity, the scope of these orders is too narrow and neglects critical infrastructure owned and managed by the private sector.

The new act fills these gaps by offering a comprehensive law covering both central and local government as well as state-owned enterprises and critical infrastructure providers in the private sector. Jyan noted that the proposed law would not cover the private sector as a whole, an assurance that industry welcomed as making the scope of the law more workable. AmCham’s Technology Committee also welcomed his invitation for companies and organizations to provide their suggestions and input.

Wu Fu-mei, deputy director of the Information and Communication Security (ICS) division within the Ministry of Justice, presented a glimpse at the MOJ’s efforts to investigate and combat cybercrime in Taiwan. The ICS employs Taiwan’s first accredited laboratory for computer forensics. This forensics lab is crucial to investigating proliferating cases of “ransomware,” in which a victim’s data is stolen and encrypted and the criminals demand payment for its return, as well as cyberattacks committed by insiders within an organization and APT (Advanced Persistent Threats), which are ongoing, sophisticated threats such as presented by China’s infamous hacker army.

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Wu’s deputy, Lo Yueng-tien, special agent in the Cyber Crime section, gave a separate presentation detailing the hack of the First Bank ATMs in which a Eastern European gang attempted to steal over US$2 million. Thanks to savvy detective work by Taiwan’s investigators combined with clumsy footwork by the criminals, most of the perpetrators were arrested and the money largely recovered.

Hans A. Barre, senior manager for Risk Advisory with Deloitte & Touche, then gave a presentation reminding corporate leaders to prepare for the inevitability of cyber-attacks and remain actively involved in both prevention and recovery.

Expanding Awareness

A panel discussion moderated by AmCham Technology Committee co-chair Revital Golan followed with participants Vincent Shih, assistant general counsel and GM of Microsoft’s legal affairs division; Hsu Wei-lun, senior manager with IBM Taiwan; JD Chiou, CEO of Intumit, Inc. and a Judicial Yuan advisor; and Jarvett Lin, Greater China manager for FireEye. The panelists stressed the need for every member of an organization to be aware of cybersecurity. Hacking victim First Bank, for example, took all of the right steps towards preventing a cyber-attack, yet access was obtained through a spear-phishing attack. (Recent evidence indicates that the Democratic National Committee emails were likewise hacked through spear phishing.)

Cyberattacks seem to be on the rise, and organizations need to prepare to defend their data as well as mitigate the damage and recover from losses, the panelists said. Vincent Shih of Microsoft starkly divided the world’s companies into two kinds: those that know that they have been hacked and are doing something about it, and those that don’t yet know that they have been hacked.

“That’s the real situation right now,” Shih said. “We need to expand this awareness.”

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Taiwan’s Role in the Future of Computer Memory

Micron CEO Mark Durcan addresses AmCham Taipei Guests at a Special Luncheon on March 10 regarding the semiconductor industry in Taiwan

Micron Technology CEO Mark Durcan spoke to AmCham Taipei guests on March 10 at a special Global Executive Insights luncheon, offering a wealth of knowledge about future trends in the global computer memory industry and a clear summary of why Taiwan plays such a large role in the sector. Durcan’s full presentation is available below.

2015 Semiconductor Market Breakdown

Durcan stressed three major trends in the memory segment of the semiconductor industry:

1. Supplier consolidation:

Major semiconductor manufacturers continue to consolidate through mergers and acquisitions.

2. Diversification of end markets

During the dotcom boom and bust over 70% of memory was dedicated to PC applications. Today only 25% goes to PCs, while demand for memory in mobile devices and server/cloud applications soars. Significant growth for memory demand can also be seen in other advanced fields:

  • Automotive: crash avoidance technology
  • Medical: advanced diagnostics
  • Graphics: augmented/virtual reality and gaming

diversifyiing-memory-segments-micron-technology

3. Slowing supply growth

While demand growth for memory (measured in bits) continues to rise, the amount of new bits that can be produced each year by the industry through advances in existing technology is plateauing.

The result is a gradual shift away from supplying memory products to major OEMs, towards a diversified end market – and an increasing demand for more customized, innovative memory solutions for individual customers.

Looking forward

Due to the slowing technology-driven scaling of existing memory types (NAND and DRAM), Micron has begun to explore the development of new memory products, including:

3D NAND – a new configuration of existing NAND memory chips has tripled the capacity of existing NAND products, allowing 3.5TB to be stored in a space the size of a stick of gum while greatly reducing power consumption

3D Xpoint – An entirely new type of memory (the first in decades), Durcan claims that 3D Xpoint has the potential to dramatically transform computing architectures, boasting speeds and densities 1000x greater than those of NAND.

Taiwan’s Role

Micron, one of the world’s largest semiconductor manufacturers, produces 60% of it’s DRAM memory chips in Taiwan alone. Since 2008, Micron has invested US$8bn in Taiwan, with another $4bn pending the completion of their acquisition of Inotera. Durcan stressed repeatedly the importance of Taiwan to the success of Micron’s semiconductor business, highlighting several key factors that contribute to its optimal business environment:

  • Advanced education programs produce a high quality talent pool, with experience in semiconductor technology and strong work ethic
  • A Supportive and business-friendly government and regulatory environment.
  • A strong, quality-focused technology manufacturing ecosystem that drives a cost-competitive environment, as well as a high-quality test and assembly infrastructure
  • Proximity to large markets such as China, with engineers and other talent who speak the same language and live in the same time zone as customers from these markets
  • Historically affordable energy costs

AmCham Taipei would like to thank Mark Durcan and Micron for their time and willingness to share their insight with the Taiwan business community at this AmCham Special Luncheon.

Events

US Data Privacy Legal Developments and Impacts in Taiwan

AmCham Technology Committee Event

Corporate data assets are under siege by threats of unauthorized use, access, and theft from disgruntled employees, hackers, cybercriminals, traditional criminal syndicates, and even nation-states. It is not a question of if a company will face a data security breach, but when.

Companies already struggle to devote limited resources to IT. However, the EU GDPR data privacy reboot is forcing companies to re-calibrate and expend additional resources to meet the new regulatory requirements for protecting personal data.

Mr. Ubias will offer an overview of United States data privacy law and legal trends, and how those will impact Taiwan companies. To help companies address developing legal requirements, Mr. Ubias will describe best practices on written policies and procedures, contract clauses, 3rd party diligence, and incident response plans.

About the Speaker

Eric Ubias

Managing Partner, Ubias Law PLLC 

Eric Ubias is Managing Partner of Ubias Law PLLC. Mr. Ubias has been working at the forefront of cross-border data privacy issues for more than a decade, first at Latham & Watkins LLP and then at the trade law boutique Akrivis Law PLLC. His experience covers a wide range of data privacy considerations in the US, Europe and Asia, particularly in the context of investigations by US federal authorities.

Contact Person: Mia Shih (02) 2718-8226 ext. 311 / miashih@amcham.com.tw