China's Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) have jointly initiated the deployment program for AI-driven scientific research - AI for Science - Xinhua News Agency reported on Monday.
In order to implement the Next Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan issued by the State Council, MOST and the NSFC plan to set up a cutting-edge research and development (R&D) system for AI-driven scientific research, closely integrating key issues in mathematics, physics, chemistry, astronomy and other basic disciplines, according to Xinhua.
The R&D system will focus on the scientific research needs in key areas such as drug R&D, gene research, biological cultivation, and new material R&D.
Citing MOST officials, the report said that the AI-driven scientific research has now become a new frontier of the global AI sector. China has a solid foundation in AI technology, scientific research data and computing resources.
It is necessary to further strengthen the system setup and overall guidance, so as to promote the deep integration of AI and scientific research, promote the convergence of resources, and enhance the relevant innovation capacity, officials said.
China has been encouraging major internet technology enterprises to strengthen AI-related research and application in recent years, Liu Dingding, a Beijing-based tech industry observer, told the Global Times on Monday.
AI is regarded as the main direction of the next generation of the internet. But as well as the internet, nearly all industries including industrial production, agricultural production, education and medicine will need the support of AI in the future, Liu said.
The technology is expected to reshape millions of industries and greatly improve their efficiency, Liu noted.
Chinese companies have also made substantial progress in the area in the last two years. Tech giants including Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent and others have rolled out a series of products and services, Liu added.