ChinAI Newsletter #3: Stats Week - What do 3000 Chinese AI professionals think about superintelligence?

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 the subscription link if you think this stuff is cool.

I'm a grad student at the University of Oxford where I lead the Future of Humanity Institute - Governance of AI Program's research on China AI happenings.

Tencent Survey on Chinese AI Professionals

This week's edition is all about stats. These come from Chapter 1 of the Tencent book I've been translating, in which, through their Tencent Questionnaire platform, Tencent polled 2968 Chinese developers, technical personnel, product staff, lawyers, and social scientists in AI and AI-related fields.
70% of Chinese AI professionals agree that AI will bring positive benefits. 27.2 % say that there is a possibility AI will bring positive benefits. .9% do not agree with the statement, and 1.9% say they are not sure.
 52.0% of Chinese AI professionals agree that it is possible AI will develop consciousness. 20.6% state that AI will develop consciousness. 22.7% say that AI will not develop consciousness. 4.7% are not sure.
59.1% of Chinese AI professionals do not agree with the statement: it is possible for AI to control humans. 33.5% say that there is this possibility. 2.6% agree with the statement. 4.8% are not sure.
There’s much more in this chapter, and it’ll be my priority in terms of translation work for this week, so I’ll try to have the whole chapter, with all the survey results translated for next week’s issue.

Another week, another big China AI Conference

My translation of the Xinhua readout (first half only) of the event:

The rapid development of artificial intelligence industry will exceed 160 billion RMB by 2020
The reporter learned from the “2018 China IT Market Annual Conference” on the 22nd that in 2017 the scale of China's core AI industry exceeded 70 billion RMB. With the introduction of the national plan, the AI-related build-up around the country will gradually switch on, and it is expected that by 2020, the scale of China’s core AI industry will exceed 160 billion yuan, achieving a growth rate of 26.2%.
According to Xin Guobin, deputy director of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), in 2017, MIIT identified a total of 202 applications for integrated standardization and new modes of smart manufacturing, 97 demonstration projects for smart manufacturing, and completed 25 projects for smart manufacturing standards. Under the guidance of the demonstration projects, a large number of enterprises actively pushed new models such as the transformation and upgrading of intelligentization, service-oriented manufacturing, and the sharing economy to become increasingly popular, forming many new growth points.
At the meeting, CCID Consulting released the "2018 Top Ten Eye-catching Industries" and "2018 Top Ten Eye-catching (Investment) Opportunities ".

My analysis - key points to note:
- Recall that the July 2017 State Council report's projection for the core AI industry in 2020 was 150 billion RMB by 2020, so this already ambitious target has now been increased by 10 billion RMB
- My position is that technical standards will be so crucial in both governing AI and determining who ensures competitiveness for their AI companies. China is pushing ahead on this front, as demonstrated by this announcement of the completion of 25 smart manufacturing standards.

Link to Xinhua article (in Mandarin)

Release of CCID Consulting top ten list and 5 more AI white papers/research reports 

Some interesting lists and white papers were released at this conference. 
From's readout of the conference, I found an interesting list of the "2018 Top Ten Eye-Catching (Investment Opportunities)" by CCID Consulting. Below is my translation of the list, along with some stats about these companies - good way to learn about emerging giants in the Chinese tech scene:

2018 Top 10 Eye-Catching (Investment) Opportunities

  1. Ant Financial (formerly known as Alipay) – the most valuable fintech company in the world

  2. Didi Chuxing (formerly known as Didi Kuaidi) - largest ride-hailing app operator in China

  3. Meituan – group-buying platform for local consumer products - world's fourth-most valuable startup, seeking a $60 billion valuation in Hong Kong IPO

  4. Jinri Toutiao - news and information content platform, 120 million daily active users who spend an average of 74 min./day on the app

  5. Kuaishou - photo-sharing app that has ventured into live-streaming, 50 million daily users and 5 million videos uploaded each day

  6. NIO - Shanghai-based electric vehicle start-up, valued at $5 billion after latest round of fundraising

  7. Royole – OLED company, manufacturer of advanced flexible displays and flexible sensors (based in Fremont, California, but all of their financing, at least per Crunchbase stats, comes from Chinese investors)

  8. Face++ - face recognition company, beat teams from Google, Facebook, and Microsoft in tests at the 2017 International Conference on Computer Vision in Italy

  9. Kingsoft Cloud - cloud storage firm, third to Alibaba Cloud and Tencent Cloud in the battle over China's cloud computing market

  10. Cambricon - Beijing-based AI chip developer, which has raised US$100 million. Founded in 2016.

In addition, there were 5 papers released that I haven't gotten a chance to check out yet in detail: 
1. China’s Artificial Intelligence Industry Investment and Financing White Paper 2018
2. China’s Big Data Industry Investment and Financing White Paper 2018
3. China’s Network Information Security Development White Paper 2018
4. Research on the Evolution and Investment Value of China’s Industrial Internet in 2018
5. Research on the Evolution and Investment Value of China’s VR/AR Industry in 2018

CCID readout of the conference (in Mandarin)

This Week's ChinAI Links

60 million is the number of paying subscribers of iQiyi, one of the largest online video platforms in China. For context, Netflix has 54.7 million domestic U.S. subscribers and 62.8 million international subscribers. 
- h/t to GGV capital, which has a great podcast and newsletter about China's tech scene; check out there site here:

South China Morning Post launched Abacus, which "offers an insider's look at the China tech revolution, highlighting the key players, emerging companies, hottest gadgets, and more through both editorial and multimedia storytelling." Check out there site here:
- h/t to Will Knight of MIT Technology Review for pointing me to this resource

Thank you for reading and engaging.

Please feel free to comment on any of my translations in the Google docs, and you can contact me at or on Twitter at @jjding99