China sets AI development goals

BEIJING – China’s government has announced a goal of becoming a global leader in artificial intelligence in just over a decade, putting political muscle behind growing investment by Chinese companies in developing self-driving cars and other advances. Communist leaders see AI as key to making China an “economic power,” a Cabinet statement Thursday said. It calls for developing skills and research and educational resources to achieve “major breakthroughs” by 2025 and make China a world leader by 2030. Artificial intelligence is one of the emerging fields along with renewable energy, robotics and electric cars where Communist leaders hope to take an early lead and help transform China from a nation of factory workers and farmers into a technology pioneer. They have issued a series of development plans over the past decade, some of which have prompted complaints Beijing improperly subsidizes its technology developers and shields them from competition in violation of its free-trade commitments. Already, Chinese companies including Tencent Ltd., Baidu Inc. and Alibaba Group are spending heavily to develop artificial intelligence for consumer finance, e-commerce, self-driving cars and other applications. Manufacturers also are installing robots and other automation to cope with rising labor costs and improve efficiency. Thursday’s statement…

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