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Special Report - Ten Experts Offer Ten-Year Outlook For China's Artificial Intelligence Sector

 

Ten leading experts on China's artificial intelligence sector offer their outlook for the Chinese AI industry over the next ten years in a newly released report. Titled "Next 10 Years: What To Expect In China's Artificial Intelligence Future," the report is released today during a press conference at the Annual Meeting of the New Champions in Dalian, China.

The report titled "Next 10 Years: What To Expect In China's Artificial Intelligence Future" is released today during a press conference at the Annual Meeting of the New Champions in Dalian, China.

The report was compiled by China Money Network, which invited 10 industry leaders to present their predictions for the next 10 years. These industry experts come from a wide range of segments, spanning computer vision, speech recognition, autonomous driving, AI chips, healthcare AI, fintech AI, AI-as-a-Service, and investment.

"There is nothing more exciting than listening to these industry leaders describe what our future holds," says Nina Xiang, founder of China Money Network, a media platform for tracking China's smart investments and tech innovations. "For sure, the future of China's AI sector will be far from smooth sailing in a calm ocean. But it is precisely the challenges that make overcoming them so meaningful and rewarding."

The 10 experts who offer their insights in the report have the most recognizable names in AI, being founders and CEOs of China's leading AI unicorn companies. They are:

• Kuan Chen, Infervision, Founder

• Wenyuan Dai, 4Paradigm, Founder

• Wei Huang, Unisound, Founder

• Tao Jiang, Tongdun Technology, Founder

• Kai-Fu Lee, Sinovation Ventures, CEO

• Chenxi Lin, Yitu Technology, Co-founder

• Tiancheng Lou, Pony.ai, Co-founder

• Nina Xiang, China Money Network, Founder

• Kai Yu, Horizon Robotics, Founder

• Xi Zhou, CloudWalk Technology, Founder

Highlights include:

"I expect that in three to five years, the proportion of Chinese companies' annual revenue that are driven by AI will exceed 50 percent." – Wenyuan Dai, founder of 4Paradigm

"Artificial intelligence is on the verge of explosive applications and deployments […] I predict that the biggest contribution will come from the infusion of AI with the real economy and real-world industries." – Kai-Fu Lee, CEO of Sinovation Ventures

"In the next five to ten years, the countries and regions where self-driving cars are deployed earlier will see increasing maturity of the technology, while other areas will lag ever farther behind. As time goes on, this disparity will increase." – Tiancheng Lou, Co-founder of Pony.ai

"Because the ultimate product formats of AI solutions are industry-specific and use case-specific, AI solutions won't be highly standardized products. This will be the main obstacle to the globalization of AI companies." – Xi Zhou, Founder of CloudWalk Technology

Over the past several years, we have witnessed the blossoming of China's artificial intelligence industry. Thanks to generous government policy support, and enthusiastic entrepreneurs and venture investors, China commandeered a position that it has not occupied for centuries: that of a global leader in an emerging critical technological field.

As we entered 2019, whispers of an AI Winter began to emerge. The venture capital market has indeed dialed back. The number of venture financing deals in China's AI sector as of mid-June 2019 stood at 131, with total deal value of US$5.6 billion, as compared with 496 venture deals and US$15.7 billion in total deal value in 2018. The number of mega rounds -- those venture deals greater than US$100 million -- fell from 26 such deals in 2018 to 4 so far in 2019.

At the same time, the bottlenecks of deep learning -- the driver of the current wave of AI enthusiasm -- are more frequently discussed. Their lack of explainability, their lack of ability to reason, their need for a large amount of data for training, and the challenges of solving real world problems are constraining the technology's commercial applications.

As such, artificial intelligence in China has entered a stage of rationalization and recalibration, leading to greater unpredictability. China's AI industry is poised at an inflection point. The question of how China's AI industry will be shaped in the future becomes more significant, yet less visible. These experts have kindly agreed to share their predictions and insights with the objective of helping us to guide our actions toward a brighter future.

The Annual Meeting of the New Champions of the World Economic Forum (also referred to as the Summer Davos Forum) was proposed jointly by Klaus Schwab, Chairman of the World Economic Forum, and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, commencing in 2007 in Dalian, China. The cities of Dalian and Tianjin now take it in turns to host the forum on alternating years.

China, Japan and the U.S. Are the leaders in AI patents

A United Nations agency, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) issued a report in February that said the United States, China and Japan are leading the world in developing artificial intelligence, or AI, technology.

The study is based on international patent requests, legal findings, scientific publications and other information. It includes patent requests in machine learning through 2016, the last year for which details are available. Much of today’s AI-related technologies are powered by machine learning.

Key findings:

• There had been as many patent applications for artificial intelligence since 2013 as there since the term AI was first used in the 1950s.

• Machine learning was the most common method of AI listed in patent requests. It was responsible for more than one-third of all identified inventions. Patent requests for machine learning activities grew on average by 28% a year between 2013 and 2016.

• U.S. technology company IBM had by far the largest number of AI-related patents, with 8,920. Number two was U.S.-based Microsoft Corporation, with over 5,900; number three was Japan’s Toshiba Corporation; number four was South Korea’s Samsung Group and number five was Japan’s NEC Group.

• China had 17 of the top 20 academic organizations filing for AI-related patents.

• China was especially strong in the fast-growing area of “deep learning” – a machine learning method that includes speech and facial recognition systems

• Deep learning patents increased from 118 requests in 2013 to nearly 2,400 in 2016.

• Neural network patent filings grew at a rate of 46% from 2013, reaching 6,506 requests in 2016. Neural networks are computer systems built to simulate, or act like, the human brain.

• The single most popular AI technology was computer vision. It was listed in 49% of all AI-related patent requests. Computer vision is used in image recognition systems and also in self-driving technologies.




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