One-upmanship between Guangzhou and Shenzhen over AI-driven subway technology is continuing to provide reporters with fun material. Last week, Guangzhou opened two “Smart Stations” on its Metro, powered by AI algorithms. This week it is Shenzhen’s turn to promote the rollout of automated customer service kiosks and announce the entire Metro Line 11 now has “brush-face” gates.
The new customer service kiosks allow riders to register their faces for purchasing tickets, topping up their Metro cards, and other services. Initially, only those who get to ride the line for free can use them to register for “face-brushing”, but they will be upgraded soon for paid ticketing. In the meantime, everyone can use the kiosks for performing a variety of other transactions.
Guangzhou media are buzzing today with the opening of the provincial capital’s first “smart station” demonstration, delivered by tech giant Tencent.
The demo was set up at two stations – Tianhe Smart City Station and Guangzhou Tower. Features on display included “brush-face” scanners, customer service robots, auto-adjusted lighting. “More importantly, however,” the local media pointed out, station managers can manage everything going on in the station, including scheduling, without much direct involvement, i.e. letting the algorithms do the work.
The Greater Bay Area’s artificial intelligence (AI) industry is expected to be worth more than RMB50 billion by the end of this year, accounting for more than 30% of the country’s market. Continue reading AI industry booming in GBA→
Shenzhen is witnessing a new growth spurt in its robotics industry. According to a report by the city government, robotics enterprises registered in Shenzhen last year jumped 55% to 649, while their output rose 13.81% to RMB117.8 billion.
The report encompassed robots manufactured for industrial use, service and other related AI fields. The majority of the output value last year came from industrial robots – RMB80.3 billion, up 6.25% – yet service robots saw the biggest jump, up 21.79% to RMB 34 billion. Driving this growth has been investment in artificial intelligence applications in the industry.
Hongkong-based AI firm SenseTime Group Ltd., one of the world’s most valuable unicorns, has formed a strategic alliance with Abu Dhabi to set up an EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) Artificial Intelligence R&D hub, according to a company statement.
SenseTime is the world’s fastest growing pure-play AI company with a valuation of over US$4.5 billion. The company offers customers AI as a “value creation” tool in sectors ranging from autonomous driving to medical image analysis and remote sensing.
Ecommerce giant JD.com has chosen Dongguan to build an “artificial intelligence town”. Groundbreaking took place this week on the 1.8 million sqm project, which will be completed in three phases with a total investment of RMB20 billion, according to local media.
Perhaps surprisingly, JD.com did not choose to go into the Songshan Lake hi-tech district, but instead acquired a 380,000 sqm plot in Fenggang for RMB1.06 billion. The so-called JD AI Town aims to become a new “platform” and its focus is the Greater Bay Area. The company says the project will include R&D space, smart manufacturing facilities, and “modern enterprise services”.
Guangzhou will begin offering courses in artificial intelligence to primary and middle school students in the next academic year, beginning in September. The city government plan envisages that by 2022, all schools in the city will have AI courses in their regular curriculum to help train and nurture AI talent for the city.
Huawei Technologies has had time to develop new business lines while fighting off the US government, apparently. The company announced this week its joint venture with Kingmed Diagnostics, a third-party medical testing institution, had been “making progress” in using AI to help with diagnosis of cervical cancer.
Using Huawei’s AI development platform ModelArts, the screening model is able to use the diagnostic criteria of pathologists to assist the screening of cervical cancer. On the basis of a rejection rate higher than 60%, the model can achieve 99% correction rate of the interpretation of negative films and 99.9% of positive lesions.
The new model can help fill in the gap between the limited number of pathologists and an estimated 350 million female women eligible to be examined. The traditional screening process requires pathologists to read the film under microscopes one by one, with judgments based on the human eye and personal experience, which requires a training process of around 10 years. There are only 20,000 registered pathologists in China, however, and another 80,000 to 100,000 are needed.
Just when you thought the Greater Bay Area couldn’t possibly squeeze in another special zone for the development of artificial intelligence, Guangzhou announces one of its own. Only this one comes with a ferry terminal and is situated right in the middle of the capital city, next to the home of the world’s biggest trade fair.
OK, so it’s not precisely in the middle of the city. Guangzhou is a big place, home to 14 million people and counting. Pazhou, to the southeast of the Haizhu district, is on the other side of the river from Zhujiang New Town and the Guangzhou International Finance Center. But as the city’s master planners describe it, the three form a “golden triangle in Guangzhou’s CBD development”. In any case, the Pazhou Artificial Intelligence and Digital Economy Experimental Zone has been approved and construction is under way.
Yang Xiaohui, Pazhou’s party secretary, said the new ferry terminal will be completed by next year’s Autumn session of the Canton Fair (October). Its main advantage will be as a connection option for passengers coming in and out of the Hong Kong International airport, which has no plans to connect anytime soon to the province’s high-speed railway network. An airport journey will take only two hours, port to port, and will offer check-in and entry/exit services.