Beijing leads in China's development of 17 artificial intelligence areas

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Beijing, as a leading player in the development of artificial intelligence (AI) in China, is leading the country in 17 areas of AI development and is gradually forming an AI industry ecosystem with global influence, according to a report released by the Beijing Academy of Artificial Intelligence (BAAI) on Nov. 19.

With the support of the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology and the Beijing municipal government, the BAAI is a new R&D institution focusing on long-term research of the fundamentals of AI technology.

The latest report released by the institute analyzes AI-related areas such as policy support, scientific and technological resources, talent training and development, scientific and technological achievements, and ethics and application scenarios.

The report mentions that Beijing launched the first national-level pilot zone to develop new-generation AI technology in 2019. So far, seven out of the 15 national new-generation AI open innovation platforms have been built in Beijing, the most in any one city in China.

The AI industry has developed into a new economic growth point for Beijing. According to incomplete statistics, Beijing's AI-related output value reached 170 billion yuan in 2019, a year-on-year increase of 13.3%. In the first half of 2020, despite the impact of the epidemic, Beijing's AI industry continued to grow, with its total value reaching 95 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 5.7%.

Beijing's AI enterprises have also enjoyed sound development. At present, there are about 1,500 AI-related companies in Beijing, accounting for 28% of the country's market. Beijing's Haidian and Chaoyang districts are among the most popular districts for AI companies, with 62.4% of businesses settling in the former, showing a trend of agglomeration. As of the end of June 2020, the total financing of Beijing's AI companies had exceeded 300 billion yuan. Beijing is now home to 32 AI unicorn companies.

Talent is a key element in AI development. The report notes that Beijing has become the largest pool for AI-related talents in China. Among the AI entrepreneurs, more than 50% graduated from universities in Beijing while around 40% have work experience in companies in the capital.

Application scenarios are a key factor in the implementation of AI technology. The report also outlines how Beijing has released two batches of 40 application scenario construction projects since 2019, with a planned total investment of nearly 20 billion yuan, focusing on key areas such as healthcare, urban governance, the 2022 Winter Olympics, government affairs, transportation, and education, providing a sound environment for the application of AI-related innovations.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19, Beijing has given full play to its advantages in information technology such as AI and big data, deploying more than 20 scientific and technological projects.

The report also notes that with the recent rapid development of AI, ethical, and social issues such as algorithm discrimination and data privacy have gradually become prominent issues. Beijing said it attaches great importance to the issue of AI ethics, proposing a list of "Beijing Principles" that set ethical standards for AI research to create a good environment for the healthy development of the industry.

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