Shanghai is leading the world’s AI efforts. Source: Shutterstock

Shanghai is preparing to take the lead on AI

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI) is here, there’s no doubt. However, much of the world continues to grapple with the technology, building different kinds of solutions that work independently.

To reach the next level, these different solutions need to talk to one another. That’s how people will finally live a seamlessly digital life, something out of a science fiction movie.

The city of Shanghai might be the first to make that a reality.

The city is looking to become the world’s leading hot spot for AI and wants to expand the scale of the industry in the city to more than CNY100 billion (US$15.36 billion) by 2020, according to a new municipal plan.

Shanghai may not be home to Chinese internet giants like Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent but is no less a tech innovation hub than neighboring megacities Beijing and Shenzen. In fact, Shanghai is poised to become the hometown of leading AI unicorn companies and will be supported by the city’s industrial foundation and easy-to-find talents from universities and institutions.

“Shanghai’s rich big data resources, wide application of smart technologies and sufficient industries, as well as its affluent research talents, have laid a solid foundation for the development of the AI industry,” said Chen Mingbo, director of the Shanghai Commission of Economy and Information Technology.

There are also plans to build AI industrial clusters across the city focusing on intelligent driving, intelligent robots, intelligent software and hardware, and the likes.

“We will work on attracting global AI enterprises to locate their regional headquarters and innovation centers in Shanghai,” said Cheng.

When compared to the US, it may seem like China is a latecomer to the field, but the fact remains that Chinese companies are armed with the data generated by a customer base of 1.4 billion people and also enjoy strong government support for their projects.

The city is also host to several AI and technology conferences, all of which have a degree of affinity towards AI and its applications.

Earlier this month, the CES Asia technology show emphasized breakthroughs in AI.

Later this week at the Mobile World Conference 2018 and the AWS Technology Summit 2018 China Station, there will be more discussions between tech giants and their vendors and collaborators about how to make more and faster progress with AI.

“Artificial Intelligence tools are available today. What we are in the process of doing is stitching them together in the right way, to make the process seem more human,” said Anthony Goonetilleke, Group President – Chief Technologist and Head of Product at Amdocs.

Goonetilleke, who will be attending the Mobile World Conference 2018 along with other industry professionals, seeks to make significant progress with AI.

In fact, at the conference this year, an entire track is dedicated to AI, encouraging discussions on building a society powered by the technology as well as its applications other industries such as healthcare, lifestyle and banking.

At the AWS Shanghai conference too, the Amazon will be discussing how Amazon Sagemaker can be used to build, train, and deploy machine learning models at scale.

It seems like Shanghai has cracked the code to fast-tracked success in technology projects: hosting events and bringing like-minded individuals from various walks of life into one room. The discussions will lead to collaborations, helping the city realize its AI dreams.