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Shanghai Unveils 10-year AI Plan

Shanghai announced a municipal Artificial Intelligence (AI) plan that will look into rule changes related to digital technology, promote the establishment of technical standards and regulations and form a mechanism for monitoring risks and issuing early warnings. The entire plan, will take a decade to carry out, but results from the first phase are expected in three years.

These efforts will probably prepare for AI-related legislation. The plan will be executed under the guidance of the Shanghai Municipal Artificial Intelligence Leading Group and the Shanghai Science and Technology Commission.

The Field Experiment Plan for AI Application in Shanghai will initially cover four application scenarios: assistance for medical diagnosis, expansion of QR code applications, smart service for the elderly and facial recognition.

Enterprises and industries have been involved in those four applications. However, the Shanghai AI plan will be a systematic, scientific and neutral attempt to discover common problems and attempt to formulate rules to avoid risks. Through the implementation of those AI projects, Shanghai will focus on major, urgent and frequent issues in the digital transformation and monitor the public’s concerns on AI and digital technology.

The plan will use scientific measures to regulate the industry so that it produces safe, reliable and controllable products. The plan will also help government agencies construct management rules and systems and enable users to properly use AI solutions with appropriate levels of self-protection.

Such AI governance rules may also be popularised in other regions of the country. Through the process, Shanghai may find model cases of digital transformation with international demonstration effects to contribute solutions to the world’s AI development.

A report shows China’s AI innovation ranked second in the world last year, and up from third the previous year. The report said China performed well in terms of infrastructure, its innovative environment, scientific and technological research and development, and industry and application. The country ranked in the top 10 worldwide for all four indicators.

One example of industry success is an AI startup that provides smart safety solutions for different scenarios and has more than a dozen AI-related software copyrights. The startup exhibited its smart safety management solution at a ski field in Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, which integrates software, hardware, the Internet of Things (IoT) and an AI sensing system.

In a ski field covering 4 square kilometres across the mountains with abundant forests, the startup’s smart solution can realise autonomous inspection. It leaves no blind zones around the clock to ensure fire prevention, spot illegal entry, guarantee safety on the ski lanes, and discover emergencies and issue first-aid alarms.

China’s AI industry development has made significant progress, with the technological innovation capabilities in some areas ranking among the top in the world. As reported by OpenGov Asia, China ranks first in the world in the number of Artificial Intelligence (AI) patents.

More than 10 AI chips, as well as innovative products brought by more than 300 major AI companies, will be shown at the conference.

According to a report on China’s AI development released by three institutions including the Chinese Association of Artificial Intelligence, nearly 390,000 AI patent applications were filed in China over the past 10 years, accounting for 74.7% of the world total. The core industry size is continuously growing and the integration of AI and the real economy has further deepened.

According to a report on the AI ecosystem in China,  along with the gradual maturation of AI technology observed in recent years, many industry giants in China progressively increased their investment in this new market. The burgeoning applications of AI technology have also expanded the scope of this technology from niche research fields to broader commercial areas. Besides being among the leading nations—in terms of AI research output, China is ideally positioned for the rapid development of AI technology.


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