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This Way China Can Help India In The Terms of Artificial Intelligence

China giving a hand to India for leap in Artificial Intelligence

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AI will match human intelligence by 2062: Expert. Pixabay
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Tech honchos in Silicon Valley are deeply worried at China’s rapid progress in harnessing Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology that has shown encouraging results in changing the way we work and live.

According to Eric Schmidt, former chairman of Alphabet, the parent company of Google, China will overtake the US in AI by 2025.

Measured by start-up financing deals and dollars from venture capitalists, the United States’ AI start-up ecosystem currently dominates — followed by China, says a recent Accenture analysis titled “Rewire for Growth”.

When it comes to India, the number of AI start-ups has increased since 2011 at a compounded annual growth rate of 86 per cent.

Robots
Artificial Intelligence Robot. Pixabay

But the size of funding till date is substantially smaller in India than in the US and China, reflecting the limited success of India’s AI start-ups in achieving scale so far, the report noted.

“According to our analysis, AI has the potential to add $957 billion, or 15 per cent of current gross value added, to India’s economy in 2035,” said Accenture.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi now wants that AI technology should be “Made in India” and “Made to Work for India” but despite promising starts, the country’s policy initiatives are not comprehensive yet and lag other G20 countries.

China, on the other hand, today harbours one of the biggest clusters of AI scientists.

Also Read: Artificial Intelligence May Aid Solving ‘Global Hunger’

According to The Economist, China’s State Council has issued an ambitious policy blueprint, calling for the country to become “the world’s primary AI innovation centre” by 2030.

“China’s AI programme is highly structured and driven ‘top down’ whereas India’s approach is more ‘organic’ — at least till this point — driven largely by the private sector and driven by their unique needs for AI,” said Dr Prashant Pradhan, Chief Technology Officer, IBM India/South Asia.

These represent very different approaches to “getting ready” for AI.

“China’s approach carefully manages investment, infrastructure, focus verticals and training. This has benefits in speed of execution and outcomes — especially when there is clarity on the priority areas of application,” Pradhan told IANS.

Advances in AI largely happen in an open, peer-reviewed community with free exchange of ideas. “Over time, there may be more coordinated government investment — especially in resource-constrained environments,” Pradhan noted.

When it comes to funding, Machine Learning (ML), recommendation engines and computer vision are the most popular segments of AI, accounting for almost 80 per cent of total funding globally.

“Big industry players that have the financial strength and business experience to invest in AI research and development (R&D) typically lead the strategic charge on global competitiveness for their country,” the Accenture analysis stressed.

Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple are spearheading AI innovations in the US, and Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu are funding the AI research in China.

In line with the global trends, the digital platform companies are becoming the driving force of AI innovations in India too.

According to Rajesh Janey, Managing Director and President, India Enterprise, Dell EMC, the country is entering an era of monumental technological change, rich with opportunity.

India's PM with China's President
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping

“Globally, businesses plan to triple their investments in advanced AI within five years. India too will see the same enthusiasm, with investments in AI jumping from 31 per cent to 89 per cent in the same time-frame,” Janey told IANS.

AI will improve our interaction with technology, understand the abundance of data and rely on the predictions to automate excessively complex or mundane tasks, said Shaakun Khanna, Senior Director, HCM Strategy and Transformation, Asia Pacific at Oracle.

In February, Modi inaugurated the Wadhwani Institute of Artificial Intelligence at the University of Mumbai’s Kalina campus — reported to be the first AI research lab in the country.

Also Read: India Urges China to Open Markets For Trade

US-based philanthropist brothers Romesh Wadhwani and Sunil Wadhwani have established the institute and want it to become like San Francisco-based non-profit “OpenAI” that has SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk as one of its co-founders.

In order to become a true AI powerhouse, it is high time that New Delhi makes Beijing a bigger partner in fuelling AI research at home.

According to Accenture, AI research has been motivated by societal needs in India so far and the first step now is to create a comprehensive, long-term vision and road-map for AI.

“The national AI plan with clear milestones should be set as a priority. Here, India can follow the lead of China which has laid out clear targets for AI development in phases, initially by 2020 and going forward by 2030,” it added.

The first critical thing is to understand the role AI is likely to play across multiple professions. “Targeted augmentation in every field will be the key to success for the country to have an AI-ready workforce,” Pradhan stressed.  IANS

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World’s First AI News Anchor Debuts From China

The analyst urges China to open up and include multinational software and services to contribute to its digital economic transformation.

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AI News ANchor
Xinhua news anchor Qiu Hao stands next to an AI virtual news anchor based on him, at a Sogou booth during an expo at the fifth World Internet Conference in Wuzhen town of Jiaxing, Zhejiang province, China. VOA

China’s state-run Xinhua News has debuted what it called the world’s first artificial intelligence (AI) anchor. But the novelty has generated more dislikes than likes online among Chinese netizens, with many calling the new virtual host “a news-reading device without a soul.”

Analysts say the latest creation has showcased China’s short-term progress in voice recognition, text mining and semantic analysis, but challenges remain ahead for its long-term ambition of becoming an AI superpower by 2030.

Nonhuman anchors

Collaborating with Chinese search engine Sogou, Xinhua introduced two AI anchors, one for English broadcasts and the other for Chinese, both of which are based on images of the agency’s real newscasters, Zhang Zhao and Qiu Hao respectively.

In its inaugural broadcast last week, the English-speaking anchor was more tech cheerleader than newshound, rattling off lines few anchors would be caught dead reading, such as: “the development of the media industry calls for continuous innovation and deep integration with the international advanced technologies.”

AI News Anchor
This photo illustration shows a man watching an artificial intelligence (AI) news anchor from a state-controlled news broadcaster, on his computer in Beijing, VOA

It also promised “to work tirelessly to keep you [audience] informed as texts will be typed into my system uninterrupted” 24/7 across multiple platforms simultaneously if necessary, according to the news agency.

No soul

Local audiences appear to be unimpressed, critiquing the news bots’ not so human touch and synthesized voices.

On Weibo, China’s Twitterlike microblogging platform, more than one user wrote that such anchors have “no soul,” in response to Xinhua’s announcement. And one user joked: “what if we have an AI [country] leader?” while another questioned what it stands for in terms of journalistic values by saying “What a nutcase. Fake news is on every day.”

Others pondered the implication AI news bots might have on employment and workers.

“It all comes down to production costs, which will determine if [we] lose jobs,” one Weibo user wrote. Some argued that only low-end labor-intensive jobs will be easily replaced by intelligent robots while others gloated about the possibility of employers utilizing an army of low-cost robots to make a fortune.

AI News ANchor
The creation showcases China’s progress in voice recognition. Flickr

A simple use case

Industry experts said the digital anchor system is based on images of real people and possibly animated parts of their mouths and faces, with machine-learning technology recreating humanlike speech patterns and facial movements. It then uses a synthesized voice for the delivery of the news broadcast.

The creation showcases China’s progress in voice recognition, text mining and semantic analysis, all of which is covered by natural language processing, according to Liu Chien-chih, secretary-general of Asia IoT Alliance (AIOTA).

But that’s just one of many aspects of AI technologies, he wrote in an email to VOA.

Given the pace of experimental AI adoption by Chinese businesses, more user scenarios or designs of user interface can be anticipated in China, Liu added.

Chris Dong, director of China research at the market intelligence firm IDC, agreed the digital anchor is as simple as what he calls a “use case” for AI-powered services to attract commercials and audiences.

AI News Anchor
Others pondered the implication AI news bots might have on employment and workers.

He said, in an email to VOA, that China has fast-tracked its big data advantage around consumers or internet of things (IoT) infrastructure to add commercial value.

Artificial Intelligence has also allowed China to accelerate its digital transformation across various industries or value chains, which are made smarter and more efficient, Dong added.

Far from a threat to the US

But both said China is far from a threat to challenge U.S. leadership on AI given its lack of an open market and respect for intellectual property rights (IPRs) as well as its lagging innovative competency on core AI technologies.

Earlier, Lee Kai-fu, a well-known venture capitalist who led Google before it pulled out of China, was quoted by news website Tech Crunch as saying that the United States may have created Artificial Intelligence, but China is taking the ball and running with it when it comes to one of the world’s most pivotal technology innovations.

Lee summed up four major drivers behind his observation that China is beating the United States in AI: abundant data, hungry entrepreneurs, growing AI expertise and massive government support and funding.

AI News Anchor
People watching the AI News Anchor

Beijing has set a goal to become an AI superpower by 2030, and to turn the sector into a $150 billion industry.

Yet, IDC’s Dong cast doubts on AI’s adoption rate and effectiveness in China’s traditional sectors. Some, such as the manufacturing sector, is worsening, he said.

He said China’s “state capitalism may have its short-term efficiency and gain, but over the longer-term, it is the open market that is fundamental to building an effective innovation ecosystem.”

The analyst urges China to open up and include multinational software and services to contribute to its digital economic transformation.

Also Read: Heavy Cyber Attacks From Russia, US, China in India

“China’s ‘Made-in-China 2025’ should go back to the original flavor … no longer Made and Controlled by Chinese, but more [of] an Open Platform of Made-in-China that both local and foreign players have a level-playing field,” he said.

In addition to a significant gap in core technologies, China’s failure to uphold IPRs will go against its future development of AI software, “which is often sold many-fold in the U.S. than in China as the Chinese tend to think intangible assets are free,” AIOTA’s Liu said. (VOA)