i3 - May/June 2018 - 20
KEEP YOUR EYES
ON THE BAT
Chinese AI developers have already jumpstarted their projects, allying with domestic and
global companies to bring facial and object recognition for security, merchandising and other
advanced features to existing products. For
example, Qualcomm invested in January in
Chinese AI startup SenseTime Group, which
developed facial recognition technology.
And Baidu, China's huge search engine and
media company (which had the largest booth in
the CES AI Marketplace) is teaming up with
Xiaomi Inc., the huge Beijing-based electronics
and software company to pursue the Internet of
Things (IoT) and other AI devices and services.
Details of those deals were not disclosed,
although the nature of such alliances point to
an aggressive collaboration agenda for Chinese
AI analysts note that Baidu developed an
AI system with "better-than-human" speech
Three Chinese tech companies, Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent - the so-called BAT - are
at the core of China's technology industry, and all of them are deeply involved in AI projects:
Baidu Inc., (established in 2000), has developed DuerOS, a conversational operating system,
and Baidu Brain. Baidu developed a defacto brain for cars in exchange for access to their data,
which helps train its algorithms. This was the basis for its Apollo smart car software.
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., (founded in 1999), has demonstrated AI for use in its core retail
businesses, and also in education and agriculture. Alibaba is applying AI to a partner's pig-farming subsidiary to assess animal health, living conditions, reproductive cycles and overall consumer health and safety - including use of AI to identify swine by their face and vocalizations.
Tencent Holdings Limited, (founded in 1998), has a vast amount of conversation data
gleaned from WeChat and QQ message platforms. This data is being used to train
machine learning systems to identify more meaningful conversations.
I T I S I N N O VAT I O N
Previous Page: Shuoshu/Getty Images. Robot: Imaginechina/AP Images. Face Recognition Technology: Wang Peng Xinhua/Eyevine/Redux.
CES 2018, several of
the exhibitors in the
(AI) Marketplace were
from China. And there
were other Chinese AI exhibits in the nearby
Robotics and Drone Marketplaces and
Chinese AI purveyors in Eureka Park and
The range of AI opportunities offer vivid
examples of how quickly Chinese companies, from
industrial giants to innovative startups, are accelerating the mandate issued last summer by China's
Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
The government seeks with huge financial backing
to spur greater use of AI from 2018 to 2020. The
government is in the process of laying the base for
a new Chinese economy with AI integrated into
transportation, financial services, retailing, agriculture, eco-friendly manufacturing, health/medical
care and many other applications.
The government timetable calls for homegrown AI to match the levels of AI development
in the Americas, Europe, Japan and Korea by
2020. Then Chinese AI researchers will push to
make major breakthroughs by 2025 and become
the "envy of the world" by 2030. And both government agencies and global investors are ready to
provide whatever financial backing is needed to
achieve those benchmarks.