Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence

News articles, analyses and commentary about machines that mimic human cognitive functions such as learning and problem solving. This also covers chatbots, algorithms, consumer products and Big Data a

nalysis that make use of AI.

2019 was the year Chinese artificial intelligence clashed with US
In 2017, China told the world it planned to become a world leader in artificial intelligence (AI). Two years later, that promise came to dominate the Chinese, if not the global, conversation about technology. At a conference this past May, John Kerry, the former US secretary of state, said Chinese President Xi Jinping’s announcement was not the “wisest” move. “It would have probably been smart to go try to do it and not announce [the plan], because the announcement was heard in Washington and elsewhere,” he said. His words foreboded a storm approaching Chinese AI firms. Reports days later indicated Washington was considering placing several Chinese surveillance companies on the US Entity Li
One in 20 Chinese workers could be replaced by robots by 2025
By 2025, machines and robots are set to replace nearly 5% of China’s workforce, according to an industry report released this week. In a survey of nearly 2,000 companies in China, the Wuhan University Institute of Quality Development Strategy found that 13.4% used robots as part of their processes in 2017, up from 8.1% two years before. As a result, about 40% of China’s manufacturing workforce could be “potentially affected” by the use of robots, putting further strain on the job market of the world’s most populous country, according to the report. The rise of automation had a disproportionate impact on workers with lower levels of education. Between 2015 and 2017, robotics replaced 9.4% of
I took a self-driving robotaxi in China
From Batman to Transformers, self-driving cars have long captured the popular imagination. And China, where the pervasive use of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies extends from sorting rubbish to traffic control, is a natural testing ground for companies jostling to make this sci-fi fantasy a reality. They are part of a global move towards autonomous vehicles, which are quickly becoming the world's first major AI revolution. The sector has drawn billions of dollars of investment over the past few years, with the global autonomous vehicles market projected to be worth $65.3 billion by 2027, according to a report by Market Research Future. Major US players such as Google, Tesla and Gene
Chinese artificial intelligence hopes still rely on America
Engineer Kuang Kaiming was assigned to a team developing artificial intelligence (AI) technology for a Shanghai start-up. The company went with two leading open-source software libraries, Google’s TensorFlow and Facebook’s Pytorch. The decision to adopt US core technology over Chinese alternatives was telling of China’s weakness in basic AI infrastructure.  Despite the country’s success in producing commercially successful AI companies, the open-source coding repositories used to build the technology tend to be American.  Kuang’s company, whose AI product detects abnormalities in X-rays, is by no means alone.  Nearly all small- to medium-sized Chinese AI companies rely on the US-originated o
This AI bot scans social media to help prevent suicides
Wang Le’s bedroom is dim and silent, the curtains tightly drawn. The only sounds come from mouse clicks and a clattering keyboard. Wang has a social phobia that has made it challenging to live and work like a normal person for nearly a decade. The internet has been his only connection to the outside world.  It even saved his life. Wang’s phobia was so severe that, to feed himself, he had to rely on his relatives to leave food at his front gate. Even ordering takeout by phone was overwhelming.  In the spring, he contemplated suicide but hesitated. Afraid of death, but also afraid of life, he shared his despair on Weibo, a popular Twitter-like social platform in China. “Are you OK?” a stranger
Chinese scientists use AI to diagnose genetic disorders in babies
Chinese scientists say they've developed an AI-powered software to help screen newborns for genetic disorders through facial scans. Researchers from the Shanghai Children’s Medical Center and the Shanghai Pediatric Center said their new assistive diagnosis tool, which they described as the first of its kind, was designed to detect more than 100 disorders with distinctive facial features, according to a report by state-owned China News Service. They said their AI-enabled tool would be used for initial screening, helping to avoid missed or wrong diagnosis of newborns. Prominent facial features of children with Cornelia de Lange syndrome (CdLS), for example, include thin eyebrows that often me
How AI and human rights get tangled up in the US-China tech rivalry
When Trump administration officials announced on October 7 that they were banning some of China’s most feted artificial intelligence and surveillance companies from buying US technology, the move caught Chinese policymakers off guard. Back in May, the US Commerce Department cited national security concerns when it barred Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei from buying US technology. In its latest move, the Trump administration banned eight companies, including China’s AI national champions SenseTime, Megvii and iFlyTek, and 20 police departments for their purported roles in the suppression of Uygur minorities in Xinjiang. It was the first time that human rights were cited as a reason fo
Self-driving cabs launched in southern China
People in Changsha, the capital of the southern province of Hunan, can now have a taste of the future by hopping into a self-driving taxi. Launched by tech giant Baidu, trial passenger services started in the city on Thursday, about two years after Google’s self-driving unit Waymo started its pilot project in Phoenix, Arizona. The taxi services, involving an initial fleet of 45 autonomous cars, are expected to run initially on 31-mile-long open roads before gradually expanding to cover the entire Changsha pilot zone of 27 square miles, making it the largest trial of its kind, according to the company. “The trial operations in Changsha demonstrate that the Apollo robotaxi is progressing from
School surveillance questioned: ‘Why do we need to monitor them?’
Almost every second of Betty Li’s school life is monitored. The 22-year-old student at a university in northwestern China must get through facial scanners to enter her classes and her dormitory, while cameras above the blackboards in classrooms keep an eye on her attentiveness. Like many other educational institutions across the country, the university in Xian, Shaanxi province, deployed AI-powered gates and facial recognition cameras several years ago as a part of the “smart campuses” campaign promoted by the Ministry of Education. The universities are at the forefront of a national effort to lead the world in emerging technologies and move China’s economy up the value chain. But the monito