China Government Gives the Green Light to Development of Artificial Intelligence

The Chinese government has recently announced its intentions to prioritize the development of artificial intelligence (AI) as part of its goal t become the world leaders in this field. Analysts have estimated that the technology industry is set to grow by more than 50 percent over the next 12 months, making it worth around $5.5 billion.

In his speech at the annual parliamentary session in Beijing last week, Premier Li Keqiang advised, “We will implement a comprehensive plan to boost strategic emerging industries.  We will accelerate research and development (R & D) on, and the commercialization of new materials, artificial intelligence, integrated circuits, bio-pharmacy, 5G mobile communications, and other technologies.”

AI is going to revolutionize the Chinese industry and Zhou Hanmin, a member of the Standing Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference said the country should “grab the opportunity to overtake other global competitors.” If it wasn’t for the backing of the Chinese government, in order for the country to become world leaders in the field, would be really tough, but with this kind of support, anything is possible.

The market is already said to be worth over 24 billion yuan and estimates by Beijing’s CCID Consulting Company suggest this figure could grow to 38 billion yuan by 2018.  A total of 19 national engineering labs have already been given the go-ahead by the National Development and Reform Commission and this includes three that are completely dedicated to AI research and application.  This will include technologies based on deep learning, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and brain-like intelligence.

Rex Wu is an equity analyst for Jefferies and he said, “The tech world is shifting from a ‘mobile’ to an ‘artificial intelligence’ era, driven by deep learning, big data, and graphics processing units (GPU’s), all of which accelerate the ability to compute.  The migration will benefit cloud computing, GPU’s, field programmable gate arrays (FPGA’s) – which essentially power AI systems – and sensors, allowing increased AI data collection and preprocessing.”

Last year’s growth in semiconductors and GPU’s sparked several investors to jump onboard this year. We’re seeing alternatives to GPU’s in the form of FPGA’s that are being utilized by tech giants including Microsoft and Intel and further migration to public clouds is also inevitable.  Big data and deep learning techniques are two more areas where we’ll see substantial growth over the next few years, not just in China, but all over the world.

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