New AI for Smart Cities Course Looks to Tap China’s Tech Talent

China AI

China has already pointed to the fences when it comes to artificial intelligence. Government officials announced plans to become the world leader in AI by 2025. They see this race as not only critical to being a world power, both economically and militarily, but also quite achievable for a country with a lot of human capital and the ability to focus its efforts based on the needs of the communist party.

Governor of the state-owned Japan Bank for International Cooperation recently admitted that it will be very hard to compete with a totalitarian country like China: “A country like China, a more totalitarian regime, will perform better than the democratic countries. We have a lot of problems gathering big data because of the privacy issue. China doesn’t have such an issue. So obviously they have some advantage.”

A country like China, a more totalitarian regime, will perform better than the democratic countries. We have a lot of problems gathering big data because of the privacy issue. China doesn’t have such an issue. So obviously they have some advantage.

Now it looks like one of the biggest tech companies in the world, Microsoft, is also betting on Chinese AI talent. They have just penned a partnership with The University of Hong Kong to offer an online coursethat will include pilot projects in the areas of healthcare, fintech and smart cities. We have reported already about China’s dominance in smart city pilot projects. Having Microsoft as a partner will only accelerate the pace and frequency of these types of developments.

A lot of this has to do with Microsoft’s new focus after their massive reorganization. They no longer have a “Windows” unit and have instead broken their organization into Experiences & Devices and Cloud + AI. This means that they see IoT, and the cloud computing that will be needed to support it, as one of the main areas for future growth. They see some of the main drivers for that growth in China, a country that has already outpaced the US in venture spending on AI.

The partnership is so far only a memorandum of understanding so it is important to not overstate Microsoft’s intentions. But Microsoft, like China, is chasing after its innovative competitors for their piece of the AI prize. Creating takes a lot of talent and now it looks like China will have even more of it.

Propmodo is a global multimedia effort to explore how emerging technologies affect our built environment.

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