World Artificial Intelligence Conference: Where is China’s AI technology heading?

The 2018 World Artificial Intelligence Conference was opened on Monday 17 September 2018 in Shanghai under the theme of “A new Era Empowered by Artificial Intelligence”. The conference saw attendance from over 200 experts and entrepreneurs form over 40 countries discussing which challenges China’s AI sector would be addressing in the upcoming years.

China is considered a leader in AI and has a significant advantage towards its western competitors due to the large number of data Chinese companies have been able to collect from Chinese users. For Eye Cool’s CEO ZHOU Jun, a Chinese AI technology firm, the challenges in the AI sector are obvious. In his conference speech the entrepreneur highlighted the importance AI is going to play in the cyberspace security sector in the upcoming years.

Cyberspace security is becoming a new challenge the AI sector is addressing”

While AI has the potential to significantly contribute to increased cyberspace security, the area poses a political quagmire. Risks of data and personal privacy disclosure, vicious cyber-attacks, etc. pose a significant risk to the security of sensitive social and national security information. However, for entrepreneur ZHOU Jun these problems will resolve with the growth of the AI sector.

Businesses until now have been prioritising AI development in the finance and transportation sector as the increased efficiency allows to optimise company spending. Yet, developing AI in the security sector is dependent on having a comprehensive data set which spans across all sectors. Having pioneered the use of AI in financial services security over 20 years ago, ZHOU Jun is certain that the cyberspace security is the next step for developments in AI. However the entrepreneur also cautioned that progress is also dependent on companies building stronger relationships with people.

“Companies must become more people-orientated to accelerate the maturity of AI. Only by working together can we reduce security risks.”

China’s AI sector is heading towards a more interconnected sector to increase security on the cyberspace and although AI technology is making rapid progress, communication with humans is now moving into the centre of AI development.

Global Perspective

In his recent book, AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order, internationally renowned AI expert Dr. Kai-Fu Lee outlines the global trends in AI. According to Dr. Kai-Fu Lee, China will lead in areas where massive data and maniacal focus lead to better products (such as Internet applications, mobile applications, payment and commerce applications, and computer vision and speech applications). But US will lead in areas where China doesn’t have quality data (such as financial and health applications), as well as areas which require cutting-edge technologies (such as autonomous vehicles).  New research breakthroughs are more likely to come from US than from China. The UK government has made a commitment to boost the UK’s position in AI through a sector deal. It is estimated that AI will add £232 billion to the UK economy by 2030.