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China’s Ministry of Education issues action plan on promoting AI in universities

China’s Ministry of Education issues action plan on promoting AI in universities

According
to a report
by Xinhua, Chinese Ministry of Education (MOE) issued a detailed action plan on
how China will promote artificial intelligence (AI) development in universities.

The
MOE action plan on AI emphasised that Chinese universities need to promote AI through
strengthening knowledge in basic AI theory, driving technology research and achieving
innovation breakthroughs.

The
action plan laid out 3 objectives for Chinese universities in the area of AI
development:

By
2020, Chinese universities should have optimised systems that achieve both
objectives of strengthening science and technology disciplines and promoting
scientific innovation with new-generation AI.

By 2025, China hopes to see its universities
conduct theoretical research and have a number of “original innovations with
international significance”. Other than innovation capabilities, universities should
also aim to improve China’s AI-related human capital, in order to “effectively
supporting China's industry upgrade, economic restructuring and smart society
building”.

By 2030, universities in China will be the
world's major AI innovation centres, capable of providing China with technical
support and skilled professionals in the field of AI.

Credit: Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China

In strengthening the research on AI basic theories, the plan
calls for interdisciplinary and collaborative efforts between AI and other subjects
like computer science, mathematics, physics, neuroscience, psychology, and
sociology.

It also calls for establishment of more AI innovation centres
and high-level think tanks such as the MOE Frontier Science Center, MOE Key
Laboratory, and MOE Engineering Research Center, and other national-level laboratories
or innovation centres. Increased participation in international cooperation and
academic exchanges to promote the development of AI is also encouraged.

In terms of key application areas for AI, the MOE action
plan stated that universities should engage in technology transfer to develop
AI applications and facilitate the formation of industrial clusters in education, manufacturing, medical care,
smart cities, agriculture, finance, security, and national defense sectors.

The development
of AI is also in line with China’s plans for civil-military integration.  The focus would be to use AI to improve information
technologies for the more efficient information acquisition, and utilisation. Some
of the key AI-related innovation areas would be the development of unmanned
system and man-machine hybrid system.

As reported
earlier
, MOE recently unveiled its 5-year AI training program for
universities in China. Under the program, eminent AI experts will be invited to
train the first 100 teachers and 300 students and explore an appropriate
framework for AI education. The program aims to train at least 500 teachers and
5,000 students in AI at top universities over the next five years.

According to Science and Technology Daily, 19 universities
added majors in intelligent science and technology in 2017.

The full MOE action plan can be found here
(available in Chinese only).