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Yes, China went to the dark side of the moon, just as Pink Floyd sung several decades past. But that is not what is concerning. A moon-shot of another sort is underway in the area of Artificial Intelligence. It is called:

New Generation of Artificial Intelligence Development Plan

It is being managed by the China Ministry of Industry and Information Technology

China has been known to have a fairly large number of PhD-level data scientists working in companies such as Baidu and various ministries within the government structure. We may have read about some well-known commercial projects, their famous leaders and scientists.

Recently, two top scientists both working for huge companies like Microsoft, Baidu and Google joined Chinese VC and Incubator organizations to help propel innovation in the A.I. and Deep-Learning/Machine-Learning space.

Profile Scientist Project Organization Video  
Kai-Fu Lee Investment in A.I. Sinovation Ventures 60 Minutes Interview
Qi Lu A.I. Startup Incubation Y-Combinator China A.I. Discussion with Daniel Gross
Haifeng Wang

Head of AI Technologies Platform Group and Baidu Research



The Plan

There is some flowery language in their plan (read New America copies below) that talks about the evolution of a digitally-enabled society for industry, science, technology and social life. They also speak about Open Sourcing everything so the world may also benefit. It is clear that China will try to overtake the U.S. innovation rate, vying for the top patent spot by 2025 and reaping the benefits of a concerted, country-wide, extremely well-funded effort.

It becomes apparent that if societal progress falls behind technological innovation, the outcomes will push Chinese life into a more onerous state than it is now. You can tell that there is a ‘westernized’ mindset seeping into the documentation in the way it offers utopian conditions once the milestones are reached and includes safety, security and morality as benefits.

The plan reads as if there was some quid-pro-quo being established by the returning scientists who are leading this technology revolution in exchange for societal liberalization over the same time horizon.


One of the central issues in the current trade battle we are having with China is about intellectual property. For decades now, all foreign companies wishing to sell into the Chinese market are required to share their rights to technology and processes for any product or service. Entrepreneurs revile this as it strikes at the core of their effort to create a product or company. Americans in particular are put off by this but some who have capitulated have seen viral sales volumes as never before.

Consider that in the future, this could be a two-way street. If China puts their money where their mouth is and we do a compromise on our I.P., the result could be that we all share technology in the Open Source framework.  (Tide lifting all boats). Many would say this is most likely a pipe dream but hey, what if? The technology arms race has to equilibrate at some point?

We should be hopeful in that a large amount of innovation is to be had. In an open source environment, there will be an exchange that everyone can benefit from.


Companies that should not be ignored

  Tencent :  Giant mobile gaming and chat apps – performing deep R&D into A.I. – Offerings with A.I. coming soon. Will be involved in the AIDP.
   Ali-Baba Group    The Amazon of China. Buy and sell.  Big A.I. efforts underway for all kinds of things like Google and Amazon would. Jack Ma, richest person in China considers retiring.
Baidu The google of China. second largest search engine in the world. Deep A.I. R&D and also production-level Machine-Learning deployments.
Qi Lu and YC-China Y-C in China is going to very disruptive to A.I. startup activity around the world now that it has Qi Lu surveilling the landscape for innovation and talent.


Articles and source documents on the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology A.I. Development Plan

    Op-Ed: We can’t let China become the global leader in artificial intelligence

    China’s Plan to ‘Lead’ in AI: Purpose, Prospects, and Problems

    Full Translation: China’s ‘New Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan’ (2017)

The China A.I. Moonshot

by | Nov 20, 2019 | Data-Stories, StoriesFeat | 0 comments


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