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Smart thinking focuses city on AI

Cao Yingying
Updated: Jul 4,2019 9:12 AM     China Daily

Shanghai will focus on artificial intelligence and accelerate the use of AI in real life, in efforts to build itself into a new center of the industry’s development nationwide.

Shanghai Vice-Mayor Wu Qing said that AI has become a priority development strategy since last year. The industry has entered the fast lane of development in the city, he said.

Last December, Shanghai released a construction plan of the first AI application scenarios. It contained 10 major applications and 60 innovative projects that have met the highest international standards.

The city is stepping up collection of the second batch of AI scenario demands. It covers 34 sectors of 10 fields, such as medicine, education, city management and cultural tourism.

The city government unveiled the Shanghai (Pudong New Area) AI innovation application leading area and a national new-generation AI innovation development experimental zone in May. It aims to build leading projects and promote the integration of AI and the real economy.

According to official statistics, there are more than 1,000 AI companies in Shanghai. Global information technology companies, such as Amazon, Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent and iFlytek, have set up AI labs in the city.

Guan Xiaojun, deputy director of the Pudong New Area, said that the AI industry has a solid foundation in the area.

There are more than 350 AI companies in the Pudong New Area, 60 of which are valued at more than 65 billion yuan ($9.46 billion) each.

An AI island in Shanghai’s Zhangjiang Science City also plays an important role in the city’s AI development.

Microsoft Corp’s largest research lab for AI and the internet of things, named the Microsoft AI& IoT Insider Lab, began operating officially on the island in May.

To date, a total of 15 companies and institutions signed agreements with the AI island, including Alibaba, Tongji University, Cloudwalk and other scientific research institutes and leading enterprises.

Yuan Tao, chairman of Shanghai Zhangjiang Group, said that the group hopes to make the AI island a means of Zhangjiang’s AI development. They hope to attract more AI players and technical leaders in the future.

First, the island plans to master the core technologies and products of AI companies, including intelligent security, voice recognition and machine vision. They will then integrate the technologies with scenarios to launch joint experiments and interactive experiences. This will help local people have more intelligent, convenient and effective lives, they said.

To date, a total of 12 scenarios in the Zhangjiang AI island were selected as Shanghai’s first AI application scenarios. The AI technologies have been used in schools, hospitals, communities, banks, transport and a governmental data management center on the island.

In addition, the second World Artificial Intelligence Conference is scheduled to run on Aug 29-31 in Shanghai. The event will also promote the thriving technology.