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China overtakes the US in investment in AI

By Shan Xin  (People's Daily Online)    16:17, July 24, 2017

(File photo)

China aims to make AI a “new and important” economic driver and plans to develop it into a one-trillion yuan industry by 2030, according to a new development guideline issued by State Council.

Shi Jianbo, a Chinese scientist at the University of Pennsylvania, said at the IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition that compared to the Chinese government, the U.S. has not invested in such a wide range of AI and robotics.

Shi said government support is important to develop the industry. He brought up the example of Google, which was supported by the National Science Foundation’s National Science Digital Library program.

The Chinese government intends to develop a technology system based on big data and algorithms. Technologies in the system include a computational knowledge engine, swarm computing, virtual reality modeling, and natural language processing.

Shi said both countries are making their own progress. China is better in technology such as face recognition while the U.S. has more mature experience in algorithms. “China is weak in machine learning and machine automation,” Shi said.

The reason for this advantage is America’s long-term investment in education and infrastructure research, according to Shi. China should strengthen relative education to catch up. The new guideline from State Council requires the country to train more AI professionals and scientists.

Shi also pointed out the importance of AI in developing robots that can one day replace humans, which he sees as the weakest factor. “Self-driving will become a reality only if all cars are driven by machines rather than humans,” he said to make his point.

Price Waterhouse Coopers released the report Sizing the Price in June. The report analyzed the business impact of AI and found that AI could help the global economy grow by as much as 14 percent by 2030—the equivalent of an additional $15.7 trillion—as a result of productivity gains and increased consumer demand. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Shan Xin, Bianji)

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