Two Sessions proposals from tech giants

By Chen Qingqing and Zhang Hongpei Source:Global Times Published: 2018/3/4 16:23:39

AI seeks traditional industries, open platforms

During this year's two sessions of the National People's Congress (NPC) and Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) national committee, heads of two China's big tech firms proposed empowering traditional industries with artificial intelligence (AI) technology and encouraging the establishment of open AI platforms.

Over the past five years, the country has witness a rapid development in big data, AI and cloud computing, and application of technologies has been expanded into more areas such as governance and smart city, Pony Ma Huateng, a deputy to the 13th National People's Congress (NPC) and chairman of Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings, told a press briefing in Beijing on Saturday night.

"So my first suggestion for the two sessions is accelerate establishing of 'digital China' to improve livelihood," he said.

In terms of further integration of technologies with traditional sectors, Ma suggested to empower medical services with AI, which could help diagnose diseases especially for those outlying areas where medical conditions are less developed.

For 2017, AI has seen the booming development. For sure, deep-learning technology can now be applied in many scenarios, Ma said, noting that some AI-powered backstage technologies of Tencent can provide customized services as well as targeted content.

"Still, there's a long way to go for AI, as it's still used in some specialized, narrow scenarios," he remarked.

Besides, Ma also suggested building risk-preventing mechanism for finance sector and enhancing science education for teenagers. "Also, some new technologies such as virtual reality and AI can be further extended into remote areas for local kids to enjoy dividends of booming internet," he said.

Over the same day, Robin Li Yanhong, a member of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and CEO of Baidu Inc, suggested China roll out more policy measures in terms of capital and taxation to encourage more enterprises to open AI platforms, meanwhile a batch of national AI platforms with market competition and huge influence need to be cultivated.

These platforms can combine the technology and computing resources with data and application need of traditional enterprises, effectively enhance the industry's efficiency and create new products, according to Li.

"Objectively speaking, China ranks the second in the world in AI development behind the US, which has such advantages in talent, basic theory research and algorithm," Li told the Global Times in a group interview on Saturday.

"But the Chinese government has a very open mind toward innovation, and would like to try new things. Besides, traditional industries in China has less resistance to new technology compared with those of US," Li said.

For example, "in the AI sector, when we talk to [steel] workers in Shougang Group or peach farmers in [Beijing's] Daxing district about AI's replacement in sorting out, they are all very pleasant," he added.

The nature of AI is to replace some of human abilities by using computers, not only creating opportunities to highly-educated group, but also the ordinary mass. "In face of information, technology and tools, many thresholds will disappear and people's work and life shall become more convenient and equal," Li noted.


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