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Chinese Government sets out specific targets in three-year action plan on artificial intelligence

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) of China released a three-year action plan (2018 -2020) on December 14 to drive development and growth of artificial intelligence (AI) industry over the next three-years. (Content based on Google translation of Word document in Chinese; click here to download).

Earlier this year, the State Council of China laid out an AI strategy, with the aim of growing the country’s core AI industries to a scale of over 1 trillion Yuan (US$150 billion; a 100 times increase over the 2016 number), driving related industries to exceed more than 10 trillion Yuan by 2030.

The plan seeks to leverage China’s advantages, but it also recognises the current shortcomings. Data is essential for the development of AI technology and China has access to huge volumes of data, due to its large population base and rapid mobile Internet development.

The three-year Action Plan sets out targets, as it strives to achieve major breakthroughs in basic research and a series of artificial intelligence products by 2020, form an international competitive advantage in key areas, deepen the integration of artificial intelligence and the real economy, and integrate AI into manufacturing industries.  

This is in line with the “Made in China 2025” strategy. The MIIT will provide more policy support, including special funds, talent cultivation and a better business environment.

The Plan aims for platforms of intelligent connected vehicles to be reliable and safe enough to support highly automated driving by 2020. In addition, large-scale production and application of smart robots used for household (cleaning, care of the elderly and disabled, medical rehabilitation, children's education) and public services (such as fire rescue, disaster relief) is expected to be achieved.  

The Action Plan includes specific targets in areas such as smart drones, facial recognition, AI-supported medical diagnosis, speech recognition and translation.

For instance, by 2020:

  • Intelligent consumer UAVs will have 3-axis mechanical stabilisation unit with a precision of 0.005 degrees, along with having 360-degree omnidirectional perception and obstacle avoidance and intelligent avoidance of specified air traffic control areas
  • AI systems will be able to diagnose more than 95% of common diseases, related to brain, lungs, eye, bone, cardiovascular system etc., with false negative rate of less than 1% (not detecting disease when it is present) and the false positive rate of less than 5% (Detecting disease when it is no there)
  • The effective detection rate of face recognition in complex dynamic scenes would exceed 97% and the correct recognition rate exceeds 90%
  • The average accuracy rate of Chinese speech recognition will reach 96%.
  • There will be a breakthrough in multilingual intelligent mutual translation. The accuracy of Chinese-English translation and English-Chinese translation will exceed 85%, and the accuracy rate of intelligent translation between ethnic minority languages ​​and Chinese would be significantly improved.
  • The categories of smart home products will be significantly enriched, the penetration rate of smart TV market will reach over 90%, and the intelligent product level of security products will significantly increase.

The Government aims to accelerate the development and application of high-precision, low-cost smart sensors, with focus on accuracy, high reliability and low power consumption, and achieve breakthroughs in the development of cloud and terminal neural network chips (network chips with performance of 128TFLOPS (16-bit floating point) and the energy efficiency ratio of more than 1TFLOPS /Watt would be developed).

The Government will promote the development of frameworks for cloud-based training of AI systems and terminal applications, algorithms libraries and toolsets.

It will also support open source development platforms, foster growth of an open source community and encourage key leading enterprises to build a new industrial ecosystem based on open source technologies for software, hardware, data and applications. 

By 2020, the open source development platform for cloud training will support large-scale distributed clusters, various hardware platforms, as well as algorithms, and lightweight, modular and reliable open source development platforms for terminal implementation.

A new generation of industrial robots with human-machine coordination, natural interaction and autonomous learning is expected to be mass-produced and deployed by 2020. The forming efficiency of additive manufacturing equipment will be more than 450cm3 / h and the continuous working time more than 240h. Intelligent sensor and control equipment integration will be accomplished in the fields of machine tools, robotics, petrochemicals, rail transit and others.

The Government will encourage discrete manufacturing enterprises to network production equipment, based on application of machine learning technology and processing of field data, online diagnosis of equipment, real-time control of product quality and other functions. Process-oriented manufacturing enterprises will be encouraged to adopt intelligent production management for the entire process with appropriate security and implement intelligent safety management. Man-machine collaboration will be enhanced through improved cooperation between enterprises and R & D institutes.

Measures will also be rolled out to build industry clusters, set up key laboratories and encourage data sharing.

The product development cycle is expected to be shortened by 20%. Smart factories will reduce the rate of defective products by 10% and bring down energy consumption by 10%.

To accomplish all this, through Government support, by 2020:

  • The amount of public training data such as basic speech, video images and text dialogues will be greatly increased, bringing together industry-specific data on a wide range of industries such as healthcare, finance and transportation to support entrepreneurial innovation.
  • Artificial intelligence industry standards will be established, and an IP service platform will be set up
  • Broadband access in over 90% of the country will meet the application needs of the AI ​​industry
  • An artificial intelligence network security system will be established, with situational awareness threat information sharing and emergency response systems in place
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