China's improving AI finds could break monopoly of foreign producers
A Chinese technology company came out with a new artificial intelligence chip on Monday with expectations of getting 30 percent of China's AI chip market, and experts saying that it could boost the country's AI industry and break the foreign technology monopoly.
Beijing's Cambricon Technology is the source of the deep learning AI chip, which it hopes will grab about 30 percent of China's high-end chip market in three years, with more than a billion smart devises using it globally, Chen Tianshi, the Cambricon CEO and a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) Computing Technology Institute, was quoted by Science and Technology Daily as saying.
The AI chip differs from traditional chips in its ability to simulate human brain neurons and synapses, Chen noted.
"The Cambricon AI chips showed that China has the ability to break the technology monopoly. It has a huge market for smart devices but almost all the chips in China are imported," Zhu Dalin, an analyst with the IT research firm Analysys International, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
Zhu added that although the Cambricon chips won't be commercially available immediately, this will accelerate the AI industry overall.
The new chip can be applied to image identification, security monitoring, intelligent driving, drone usage, and voice recognition, Chen said.
Cambricon gets support from the CAS and funding from major Internet companies, including Alibaba, Lenovo and iFlytek, although it could not be reached for further comment as of press time.
Meanwhile, in the midst of this bright future, China's AI technology still lags behind that of the US, with the uneven quality of Chinese AI products being the question, Luo Jun, CEO of the International Robotics and Intelligent Equipment Industry Alliance, a think tank, told the Global Times.
Luo said that, with the support of national policies and the participation of small-to-large-scale enterprises, its AI industry is likely to surpass the U.S. within five years.
In this area, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) are expected to roll out favorable information industry policies, covering AI, between the end of the year and early 2018, according to Economic Information Daily.
Back in 2016, the NDRC said when launching a three-year implementation program for "Internet Plus" AI, China would build AI resource and innovation platforms and see breakthroughs in basic technology by 2018.