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article imageChina unveils three year plan to dominate AI

By Tim Sandle     Dec 16, 2017 in Technology
Bejing - China has unveiled a three year action plan to take the lead in the world's burgeoning artificial intelligence industry. The plan is driven from the top of the Chinese government.
In July 2017, the Chinese government announced a scheme designed to develop an artificial intelligence sector worth $150 billion; with the added goal of making China the global leader in artificial intelligence and machine learning by 2030. According to the New York Times, this involved China investing heavily in technology to ensure its companies, government and military take the lead in the technology.
Detailed AI action plan
This statement of intent has been followed by up by a more detailed short-term action plan, issued in December ("Three-year Action Plan for Promoting the Development of a New Generation of Artificial Intelligence Industry (2018-2020)"). In the plan, China's State Council of the People’s Republic of China together with its Ministry of Industry and Information Technology detail how to foster the development of artificial intelligence from 2018 to 2020.
Chongqing  south-west China.
Chongqing, south-west China.
Calling for a new economy, Technology Review reports that China is setting out to mass-produce neural-network processing chips; construct robots designed to make daily tasks easier for those with disabilities; and developing machine learning will help radiologists read X-ray scans (with this latter application see the Digital Journal article "China makes use of AI for healthcare").
China moving ahead of the U.S. with AI?
The plan also spell out how China aims to make its artificial intelligence manufacturing more environmentally friendly and, at the same time, to make energy efficiency of its manufacturing sector 10 percent more efficient by 2020. Other aspects reveal the contradictions with modern China: the combination of a capitalist economy and an authoritarian state. Here the ideas include using artificial intelligence to predict crimes; systems for lending money; devices to track people on the country’s ubiquitous closed-circuit cameras; technology to alleviate traffic jams; military applications like improving self-guided missile systems; and continuing censoring of the Internet.
Pudong  China s financial and commercial hub  situated in Shanghai.
Pudong, China's financial and commercial hub, situated in Shanghai.
The new plan has been written with an eye towards the digital transformation of most sectors of a developed economy and it signals how artificial intelligence is set to lay the foundation for China’s increasing economic dominance. This comes at the same time as the U.S., under President Trump, has cut back on its state supported science and technology funding.
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