During this past March, KASIKORN Business Technology Group (KBTG) has become a Consortium Research Lab Member at the MIT Media Lab to support frontier tech research for next-generation financial services. KBTG became the first Thai company to become a Research Partner with one of the world's leading institutes, announcing its fellowship program "KBTG Fellowship" as one of the company's key achievements or as 'KBTG's major Milestone'
The collaborative effort was born through conversation between Mr. Krating Ruangrote Poonpol, Chairman of KBTG Group, and Mr. Phat Phattharanutporn, the first Thai Ph.D. student in the field of Fluid Interfaces at the MIT Media Lab, who researched Human-AI interactions and Personalized education.
To deepen the company's commitment to research collaboration with MIT Media Lab, KBTG has announced its research fellowship for Graduate Research Students at the institute referred to as "KBTG Fellows". There, the KBTG Fellow's research and findings will represent KBTG's commitment to supporting the frontier of world research for a better society. The KBTG Fellowships marks the first MIT Media Lab-funded research fellowship with a technology company in Thailand and was granted to Mr. Phat Phatthanuthaporn, who initiated the collaboration between KBTG and MIT Media Lab.
Mr. Ruangroj shared with us his life-changing transition from receiving education opportunities from his two primary school teachers. The first one who helped built his confidence, the mindset to brave through the impossible and to dream big. The second taught him to love sciences which drove him to get a gold medal in Physics Olympiad. He pointed out that it is inspiration, plus education, plus opportunities that have been his biggest enabler and he believes that it is education that can change the lives of people.
We want to present opportunities to change Thai citizens with Education, in addition to conceiving new technologies
In the past, KBTG has been supporting and doing educational projects consistently. During the pandemic, there were free open courses and boot camps. KBTG Inspire also organized Mini Bootcamps to teach participants in various subjects including Project Management, Data Science, Agile, and most recently, Java Software Engineering Bootcamp.
Fellowships are considered prestigious research granted and the representing company will select a research unit or highly competent researchers or top-tier student that is within their respective educational area. Those who are chosen will be granted the freedom to pursue and define their scope of research. KBTG is considered the first Thai Technology company to adopt a global research funding approach to bridge collaborations between educational institutes - building initiatives to support MIT Media Lab Fellowship, and building a global framework driven by Thai-owned companies
Kickstarting the collaboration, Mr. Phat Phatthanutaphorn was the first to be granted KBTG Fellowship. As an aspiring Thai youth with outstanding research accomplishments, work ethics, outbound creativity, and a passion for using technology to drive human life (which are all in line with KBTG's mission to be a leading technology organization in the region). KBTG is delighted to be a part of supporting Technology-savvy Thai citizens to grow on the global stage.
Mr. Ruangroj has shared that "Throughout my youth, I must compete for an educational grant every year until I entered universities in Thailand but having been granted MBA at Stanford enabled me to focus on studying without the worries of tuition fees."
"Mr.Phat Phatthanutaphorn is the first Thai person in twenty years to have produced world-recognition research studies. He is the ideal candidate for the fellowship and is the pride of the Thai people, representing the inspiration for the new generation, the dream of both KBANK, KBTG, and the dream of myself who wants to support the Thai people. I want to support him to go as far as possible with KBTG being the wind beneath his wings that pushes the Frontier of Technology"
Dr. Thadpong Pongthawornkamol, Managing Director of KBTG also added that "Mr.Phat Phatthanutaphorn is a capable Thai citizen in technology with proven accredited research published to the public both on behalf of MIT Media Lab and other organizations. Most importantly, he possesses passion, creativity, and the boldness to venture into unfamiliar territory, a suitable trait for someone that should be supported on a global stage"
With this Mr.Phat has expressed “I am honored and delighted to receive a scholarship from the first Thai company to become a member of the MIT Media Lab and excited to be part of the study with the MIT Media Lab and KBTG”
Currently, the topic he is pursuing is Human AI Interaction, learning how to empower human capabilities and potential with technology. The study focuses on the combination of Bio Genes, Growth, and Organism (referring to the human body) combined with Digital systems (Bit, Code, and Computer) which is currently in the process of working with NASA Bio Digital Interfaces for Space Exploration to create future astronaut suits that empower astronauts, such as being able to make medicines with a set of sensors to read physical data changes
Virtual Human & AI-Generated Characters is also one of the studies that Mr.Phat is currently working on with KBTG, to explore how its implication is useful for society. His finding was also published in the leading AI Nature Machine Intelligence Journal titled "AI-Generated Characters for supporting personalized learning and well-being"
In addition, the benefits of education are another topic that has been taken keen interest by both KBTG's CEO and its first fellowship grantee. Mr.Phat explained that using AI-Generated Characters to assist learning allows children to learn with any characters or avatar they like, thus stimulating a better learning experience. Furthermore, it's not just about building a digital teacher, but using AI to create a different version of learners (Simulating the Multi-shelf), enabling them to learn about themselves in the past and the future, for example Simulating the Multi-Selves to Improve Health and Financial Decision Making.
Mr.Phat added that "MIT Media Lab is an innovator in technologies we've been familiarized with in the past such as Touch Technology, Touch Screen (1984), Smart Glasses, and Wearables. Thus, I am super excited that a Thai company is going to be a part of driving the new frontier technology and investing in forward-looking technology. Bringing AI to help make better decision making is a big research problem that I have done together with KBTG, it is thrilling to bring something that sounds futuristic and very Futuristic to Thai society."
Mr. Ruangroj further pointed out that "In the past, we were just a consumer and a user of technology but now our Thai company dares to say that we develop cutting-edge technology for individuals to use. Also, KBTG has now expanded its business to China, Vietnam, and Indonesia. Therefore, these technologies can be scaled on a regional scale that will reach over 600 million users."
"We are very proud to be the wind beneath Mr.Phattanutaphorn's wing. For the KBTG Fellow, we need someone who is outstandingly talented, and let's just say this guy is in the Hall of Fame. It's an exciting time. That will see cooperation that will come out as a research and come out as a product that we can use soon."
KBTG has always been critical with its In-House Development, and for that will send in-house researchers to joint research at the MIT Media Lab with Mr.Phat in September
For the Research Fellowship, the KBTG Fellow designation process is carried out by the MIT Media Lab and with the consent of KBTG. All applicants to be considered eligible for a Fellow must be graduate students of MIT, Postdoctoral Fellowships, Associate Doctorate, Research Scientist, or equivalent position. The selected candidates will produce research papers on technology that are in line with the Kasikorn Bank's business operations and KBTG's mission to use technology to deliver scalable impacts and benefits for Thailand and its society. The KBTG Fellowship is also the first grant for the MIT Media Lab from a Thai technology company. The scholarship is valid for two years in the beginning and may be renewed in accordance with the agreement between KBTG and MIT Media Lab.
At KBTG, we are the leaders with social responsibility and the ingenuity to build upon what Thailand is yet to have, it is our duty
Alas, Mr. Ruangroj promptly concluded that "What is to happen or accomplished is beneficial for everyone in the country. Anything that Thailand lacked, I want everyone to come together to build it, creating ripples in other organization and insisting they support more education within the country. I believe it is vital as there are many talented Thais who are eagerly waiting for such opportunities. We can be the wind that uplifts their wings as they grow and uplift us."
This is an Advertorial.