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ChinAI #216: Around the Horn (10th edition)
Greetings from a world where…
When McKinsey Comes to Town is a devastating read
…As always, the searchable archive of all past issues is here. Please please subscribe here to support ChinAI under a Guardian/Wikipedia-style tipping model (everyone gets the same content but those who can pay support access for all AND compensation for awesome ChinAI contributors).
Around the Horn (10th edition)
It’s been a few months since our last Around the Horn issue of ChinAI. Here’s how it works:
I give short previews of ten articles related to ChinAI (all published within the past week or so). See ChinAI #208 for the previous iteration.
Readers choose next week’s feature translation by replying to the email and/or commenting on the post with their favorite article number. *I give a little added weight to readers who financially support ChinAI through paid subscriptions.
If you want to read the original article in Chinese, just click the title.
Summary: Microsoft’s popular Chinese chatbot Xiaoice was spun out as its own entity in 2020. In the wake of ChatGPT’s success, Xiaoice CEO Li Di, talks about the company’s new X-Chain of Thought & Action model and future plans for large language models, including a rich discussion on safety and ethical issues.
Source: 新智元 (xinzhiyuan) — media portal that covers China’s AI landscape
Summary: Stories of how young Chinese people are turning to Excel spreadsheets as a way to benchmark their romantic prospects.
Source: 人物 (renwu) — magazine that covers human-interest stories
3) Peking University Team creates ChatExcel, automatically processes tables in natural language, free and unlimited use
Some in-depth reporting on a new project released by a Peking University research team. The motivation behind ChatExcel? One of the researcher’s girlfriend taught information technology at a middle school, where she often needed to help older teachers manage Excel spreadsheets.
Source: 量子位 (QbitAI) — news portal that regularly covers AI issues, similar to xinzhiyuan. Lately, it’s been publishing longer reports more frequently.
This article and the next one are for the Chinese tech policy nerds. Last week, the State Council proposed changes to the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) — seemingly, an effort to centralize science and tech policy-making. Caijing E-Law consults experts that give two different takes on what the reorganization means.
Source: 财经E法 (Caijing ELaw) —portal focused on internet governance under the umbrella of Caijing Magazine, a respected business platform.
5) What is the meaning of MOST’s reorganization and it no longer participating in the review and management of specific scientific research projects
One key detail about the MOST reorganization: the agency’s role in managing the distribution of scientific research funding. Way back in 2004, many prominent Chinese scientists (including the founders of The Intellectual portal) had advocated that MOST should not oversee the distribution of research funds.
Source: 知识分子 (The Intellectual) — a platform that covers the state of science in China, founded by Chinese and Chinese-American scientists.
6) Decoding the National Data Bureau: deciphering the “Nine Dragons Governing Water” issue and improving the top-level construction of the digital economy
Theme this week is government restructuring. This article analyzes the motivations behind China’s new national data bureau, including problems with overlapping jurisdictions and responsibilities in data governance.
Source: 隐私护卫队 — a portal connected to the Nandu Personal Information Protection Research Center.
Released back in January, this white paper provides an overview of China’s big data industry. Includes good details on how standardization encourages data circulation and current trends in data security.
Source: China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (中国信通院/CAICT) — a think tank under China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
8) 95 percent dependency on imports, and self-sufficiency rate in key components is only 17% — is the Chinese “table” still secure?
China’s recent “No. 1 central document” on rural development emphasized food security. Why? This article looks at China’s dependency on the global supply chain of agricultural products, comparing the seed segment to aircraft engines and chips.
Source: Qianzhan Chanye Research Institute (前瞻产业研究院) — think tank that analyzes different strategic industries. See ChinAI #4 on the year of local AI policy.
Yang Jiankai, longtime observer in this space, discusses his new book on the history of China’s semiconductor industry.
Source: EE Times China - covers the global electronics industry.
A fun post from someone in a popular Douban group about cooking, where the author used Stability AI to generate images of different Chinese dishes. Some cool quirks with what the model isn’t able to generate.
Source: Daily Douban (每日豆瓣) — collects viral discussions from the Chinese social media platform Douban.
Thank you for reading and engaging.
These are Jeff Ding's (sometimes) weekly translations of Chinese-language musings on AI and related topics. Jeff is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at George Washington University.
Check out the archive of all past issues here & please subscribe here to support ChinAI under a Guardian/Wikipedia-style tipping model (everyone gets the same content but those who can pay for a subscription will support access for all).
Any suggestions or feedback? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @jjding99