ChinAI Newsletter #12: People matter for AI (for now) - Flow Diagram of China's AI "Big Shots" and Big Data Report on Netizens' Interest in AI

Welcome to the ChinAI Newsletter!

These are Jeff Ding's weekly translations of writings on AI policy and strategy from Chinese thinkers. I'll also include general links to all things at the intersection of China and AI. Please share thesubscription link if you think this stuff is cool. Here's an archive of all past issues.

I'm a grad student at the University of Oxford where I'm the China lead for the Governance of AI Program, Future of Humanity Institute.

Tracking the Flows of China's AI Aces

This week’s translations are on two reports that look at the people making (top AI talents) and consuming (netizens) China's AI dream. The first is a report on flow diagrams of China's AI experts based on parsing through public reporting.
Baidu, Microsoft, and Google are the three hubs around which the AI aces revolve. 

- Looks at the trajectories of Andrew Ng, Lu Qi, and Kai-fu Lee
- Parses how other AI experts left Baidu to found a bunch of AI startup companies
- Very worth opening up the actual Google doc and looking through the visualizations and learning some new names/new companies (I've highlighted some interesting ones in the doc)

Article: The Most Complete Flow Diagram of China’s AI “Aces” throughout History

Big Data Analysis of Popular Science Readings of Chinese Netizens

AI has become the hottest topic for popular science readings by Chinese netizens, per an analysis conducted by Jinri Toutiao and the China Association for Science and Technology. 

The top ten topics/questions that Chinese users are most concerned with are: 

  • What type of work will first be replaced by artificial intelligence?

  • What type of threats will be posed by AI?

  • Does AI have legal/moral awareness and behavioral competence?

  • What can AI not replace?

  • Can AI help eliminate war, sickness, and poverty?

  • Will I have an AI boyfriend/girlfriend?

  • Will there be “explainability” in the decision-making process of AI?

  • If AI knows how to do everything, do I still need to go to school?

  • Who will win between AlphaGo and Ke Jie?

  • What is the annual salary for scientists who research AI? Is it easy to “get”?

Talked about the Jinri Toutiao platform in a past edition of the newsletter.

Article: Big Data Report on the Popular Science Readings of Netizens Shows that AI has become the Hottest Topic

This Week's ChinAI Links

Last week’s newsletter touched on the AI companies helping build Xinjiang’s public security apparatus. Would recommend reading this NYT article on re-education camps in Xinjiang for more context.
The World Economic Forum is looking for a China Project Lead for AI and Machine learning, here’s the job posting.
Ying-Ying Lu and Rui Ma are doing good work on a TechBuzz China podcast, part of the SupChina network. Give it a listen here.
I’ve found Jack Clarke’s ImportAI newsletter a valuable resource for getting a handle on some of the leading technical AI research coming out of China.

Thank you for reading and engaging.

Shout out to everyone who is commenting on the translations - idea is to build up a community of people interested in this stuff. You can contact me at or on Twitter at @jjding99