Source: China Daily
China's software and information technology service sector keeps growing fast, taking advantage of the huge opportunities offered by the digital economy.
Statistics from the Ministry of Commerce show that the software sector's income in 2017 reached 5.5 trillion yuan ($854.32 billion), up 13.9 percent year-on-year, and the annual R&D investment of companies in the industry was nearly 11 percent.
"In the digital economy era, new technologies such as artificial intelligence and big data have injected new momentum into the software industry," said Wang Bingnan, vice-minister of commerce.
"Digital trade will become the main type of trading in the future," said Wang.
He made the remarks in a keynote speech at the 2018 China International Software and Information Service Fair, which was held from June 12 to 15 in Dalian, Liaoning province.
The fair attracted more than 750 companies from over 30 countries and regions including Israel, the United States, Canada and Japan. The fair's organizing committee said that more than 700 agreements had been made at the event, worth a total of 814 million yuan.
During the fair, the ministry issued the China Digital Trade and Software Export Report 2017, which showed that although the growth of China's software exports has slowed since 2016, its scale had increased significantly, and the value chain continued to be upgraded.
In 2017, China's software exports totaled $37.556 billion, 2.6 times the amount in 2011, an increase of 9.72 percent year-on-year.
Sun Wei, a professor of computer science and technology at Dalian Neusoft University of Information, said that domestic software companies' independent innovation continues to get stronger.
The report showed that China's software copyright registration volume has been growing significantly - from 100,000 in 2011 to 400,000 in 2016, and 700,000 in 2017.
Despite that, Sun said China's software industry and exports face many challenges, such as a lack of independent innovation of basic software tools and increasingly fierce global competition.
According to Jin Guowei, vice-mayor of Dalian, the city is a microcosm of China's development of software industry. With 20 years of development, the city now boasts nearly 3,000 software and information service companies, more than 200,000 software professionals, and the industry's annual operating income exceeds 100 billion yuan.
Source: China Daily
China's e-commerce giant JD.com has launched robot deliveries in Beijing's Haidian district, reports zjol.com.cn.
Various automatic delivery vehicles were formally put into service on June 18, 2018 after a trial run. The largest vehicle is able to carry 30 parcels at once.
The driverless vehicles operate at a top speed of 15 kilometers per hour. JD.com says their vehicles are able to avoid any barriers on the road, and also adhere to the traffic lights.
Customers will receive an instant message to pick up their delivery. Customers can choose to accept their packages by either facial recognition, passwords or via JD.com's mobile app.
Source: China Daily
SHENZHEN - Before 2017, gastroenterologist Cheng Chunsheng had to inspect over 1,000 gastroscopy pictures to search for possible esophageal cancer symptoms, a cancer which appears in the food pipe.
However, this painstaking process is no longer needed since the People's Hospital of Nanshan district in Shenzhen where Cheng works introduced "Tencent AIMIS", an AI medical imaging software released in August last year.
"The AI system screens through each report and notifies the doctor if further inspection is needed," said Cheng. The system has significantly boosted his efficiency.
A doctor's experience is the most important tool when diagnosing esophageal cancer at an early stage. Cheng said the system, developed by Tencent, would assist younger doctors in making more precise diagnoses.
"It is often difficult for new doctors to judge whether an erosion or an ulcer is related to cancer. The AI application would recommend younger doctors to discuss the case with an expert instead," he added.
Chen Guangyu, Tencent's vice-president, said the program has scanned hundreds of thousands of gastroscopy images and is over 90 percent accurate in diagnosing preliminary esophageal cancer.
"By accumulating mass data, the analysis is expected to become even more reliable," Chen added.
Tencent AIMIS is now used in more than 100 hospitals across China. The company has also partnered with over 10 hospitals to build AI medical laboratories.
Chen said that through the AI laboratories, Tencent AIMIS can be used to screen more diseases such as lung nodules, diabetic retinopathy, cervical cancer and breast cancer.
Apart from Tencent, other internet corporations are also exploring the AI healthcare market.
In 2016, Baidu launched Melody the Medical Assistant, an AI-powered chatbot designed to converse with patients and collect data on their conditions to save physicians time.
ET medical brain, an AI healthcare system produced by Alibaba, can aid doctors in medical imaging, drug development and health management.
China's State Council issued a guideline in April to promote health services using internet technologies.
The guidelines on "Internet Plus Healthcare" say internet technologies should be used to offer medical and public health services, promote family doctor practices, improve drug supply and medical bill payments, and provide medical education.
According to a 2017 industry report released by VCBeat Research, more than 80 companies are working on AI for the Chinese health market by developing products such as medical imaging devices, AI to analyze patients' clinical history and chatbots.
Luo Xudong, head of People's Hospital of Nanshan District in Shenzhen, said the advancement of AI-assisted healthcare can help alleviate the problem of inadequate and imbalanced medical resource allocation in China.
According to China Statistical Yearbook, every 1,000 Chinese urban residents had access to 3.92 physicians in 2016, while every 1,000 rural residents had only 1.59.
"AI-powered medical products support remote medical consultation and training. Through an application, villagers in remote areas can also enjoy similar quality services as those urban residents," Luo said.
Chang Jia, who manages Tencent's "internet plus" healthcare center, said that a small error in the medical field could be a matter of life or death.
"The industry still positions AI as an assistant to the doctors. On one hand, medicine is a mix of humanities, ethics and science, and there are no easy answers; on the other hand, AI-based medical technologies remain in a fledging state and still need time to learn before they mature," Chang said.
Source: China Daily
Artificial intelligence is being increasingly used in medicine to examine medical scans and spot signs of diabetes, among other applications. In China, artificial intelligence is expected to play a much bigger role than many other countries, especially since there are only 1.5 doctors for every 1,000 people in the country, compared with 2.5 for every thousand in the United States, according to MIT Technology Review.
As part of its nationwide AI push, the country has been beefing up its healthcare facilities using the latest AI technology. Local researchers are already developing a variety of AI tools for medicine, including ones that can assist staff members at drug rehab centers to assess levels of addiction and another that helps children suffering from autism to improve their perception of people and surrounding environment.
In Shanghai, nearly 1,000 addicts in three of the city's five rehab centers, including one for exclusively for females, have been using a virtual reality system complete with an eye-movement tracking system when users put on a VR helmet and "walk into" scenes with drugs. Their eye movement and biological indicators, such as their heart rate and skin conductivity, are recorded in an objective way to show their levels of addiction.
Around 1,000 children suffering from autism in the city have also been using a VR system simulating real-life scenarios for interactive training.
In some cases, AI can do more than just assist medical professionals, it can also help the counter the affects of the country's acute shortage of doctors.
One hospital in Guangzhou, for instance, has been testing an AI system for the diagnosis of autism in children aged as young as 2 years old. The system, jointly developed by the Third Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou and the Duke Kunshan University, has achieved an 80 percent accuracy rate in screening 120 toddlers who were diagnosed with autism, the team behind the system said during a recent forum at DKU.
The system represents a major development in screening for child autism, which is considered a challenge in China due to the lack of experienced pediatricians who can perform accurate diagnoses.
Experts predict more AI tools will be developed in the country. A recent report from the International Data Cooperation predicted that China's market for AI healthcare services would grow to $930 million by 2022.
Source: China Daily
More driverless vehicles are entering people's daily lives in the Chinese transportation sector.
A recent report on public recognition and social attitudes toward AI technology released by Fudan University in May reveals that driverless cars are the best-known example of artificial intelligence's huge impact on life today in the country.
Specifically, many cases in the global transport hub of Shanghai demonstrate this point.
In March, a new metro line with driverless trains, equipped with intercoms, emergency alerts, smoke detectors and emergency brakes, was tested in the city. The Automated People Mover system on the Pujiang Line, which stretches for 6.7 kilometers and links Huizhen Road with Shendu Highway Station, will allow passengers to transfer to metro line 8.
At Shanghai Jiao Tong University, a trial run of a driverless minibus service has been in operation since April for on-campus commuting. Three eight-seat vehicles, guided by a map stored in a big data-based cloud platform, can pick up passengers and take them to the stop they select by scanning a QR code.
The driverless cars were developed jointly by the university's Research Institute of Intelligence Vehicles and a company specializing in the research and production of automatic driving systems.
In the same month, driverless sweeper trucks designed by a Shanghai-based company started tests at the Tus-Caohejing Science Park in the city.
The fleet of unmanned vehicles, comprising 3-and 6-meter-long vehicles, can self-activate every night at 2 am and clean the streets before dumping the trash and returning to their parking spots.
The smart trucks can deal with a variety of traffic conditions, including detecting traffic lights and road side barriers.
Driverless vehicles are also entering the field of manufacturing, represented by a newly-developed heavy-duty driverless truck put on a trial run in the city's logistics park in May, developed by Chinese consumer electronics retailer, Suning.
The prospect of streets filled with driverless cars moved one step closer to becoming a reality after a Shanghai unicorn company announced in late May that they plan to roll out two artificial intelligence towns featuring driverless vehicles in the city and in Jiangsu province within three months, making them the first of their kind in China.
The rising use of AI technology in transportation has received a warm welcome from the general Chinese population.
A global automotive consumer study released by Deloitte in June found that the China has the lowest percentage of consumers who think fully autonomous vehicles present a danger to road users out of any country in the Asia-Pacific region. This level of doubt is expected to decrease.