Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) recently hosted its annual Baidu World Conference in Beijing to showcase its latest technologies. The theme of this year's conference was the "Intelligence of Everything," with a heavy emphasis on artificial intelligence (AI) technologies in cars, wearables, and other connected devices. Let's examine four of these new AI technologies, how they'll expand Baidu's ecosystem, and whether or not they can strengthen its core business -- which still faces stiff competition from growing rivals like Tencent (OTC:TCEH.Y), Alibaba (NYSE:BABA), and ByteDance. Baidu announced that its autonomous vehicles have undergone six million kilometers of open road tests, carried 100,000 passengers across 27 cities, and experienced zero accidents. Baidu also showcased a fully autonomous robotaxi, which can carry passengers without a backup driver, and a new autonomous valet parking feature, and revealed a 5G "remote driving" feature which will allow human drivers to remotely control vehicles in case of emergencies.
Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have your data. The Trump administration said Friday that it would bar two popular Chinese-owned mobile apps WeChat and TikTok from U.S. app stores as of midnight Sunday, escalating the U.S. standoff with China. "Today's actions prove once again that President Trump will do everything in his power to guarantee our national security and protect Americans from the threats of the Chinese Communist Party," Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement. The Trump administration contends the data collected from American users by TikTok and WeChat could be accessed by the Chinese government. "The Trump administration is looking to make sure U.S. TikTok consumer data stays out of Beijing," said Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives.
TikTok-owner ByteDance Ltd. is getting more confident its envisioned alliance with Oracle Corp. will pass muster with China's regulators, a critical step in the political clash over the popular video app, people familiar with the matter said. While Beijing has asserted its right to block the sale of critical technologies, it is likely to greenlight the deal as long as it doesn't involve the transfer of the artificial intelligence algorithms that drive TikTok's service, they said, asking not to be identified discussing a private deal. That's true even if ByteDance were to cede majority control over TikTok, they said. ByteDance had reached a deal with Oracle and later made revisions put forward by the Treasury Department aimed at addressing U.S. national security concerns, it was reported Thursday. The proposal calls for ByteDance to own most of TikTok, with Oracle, Walmart Inc. and venture capital investors holding a minority. But U.S. President Donald Trump, who's threatened to ban the app on national security grounds, has final say on the transaction and has said he doesn't want the Chinese parent to retain majority control.
China's burgeoning artificial intelligence sector is urged to not to drive another round of regional development imbalance. While on the path toward a moderately prosperous society, experts warn the AI industry should not create gaps among the affluent and poverty-stricken areas, thus affecting livelihoods in the latter. AI industrial clusters have taken shape in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei and Pearl River Delta regions, but other areas are lagging behind according to a research report from the Next Generation AI Research Institute at Nankai University, released this year. A new round of regional development imbalance is likely in the pipeline, it said. Statistics indicate the sector is expected to see its industrial value hit 70 billion yuan ($10.3 billion), more than doubling itself from 33.9 billion yuan according to China IRN, a domestic industrial think tank.
Lacking a powerful technology sector of its own, the European Union has instead tried to carve out a space in the digital economy as the world's regulatory superpower, leading the charge on privacy rights and data protection by leveraging its enormous single market against Goliaths like Google and Facebook. But a number of recent examples have made it clear that for Europe, increasingly, that is not enough. The rapid pace of technological change -- including artificial intelligence and facial recognition -- is mingling ever more with national security concerns that European leaders have been slow to grasp and respond to, analysts say. As global technology shapes up into a battleground between China and the United States, Europe is finding it harder to set the rules of the road while others in Beijing and Washington are in the diver's seat. "Europe needs to get its act together," said Marietje Schaake, international policy director at the Cyber Policy Center of Stanford University and a former member of the European Parliament. "I worry the tempo is too slow for the pace at which changes are forthcoming."
Baidu launched its Apollo Go robotaxi service in the Chinese cities of Changsha and Cangzhou back in August, shortly after announcing that its autonomous driving computer is ready for use on the streets. Now, Apollo Go has also made its way to Beijing, making it the first autonomous car service operating in the nation's capital. Apollo Go's service area in Beijing encompasses 435 miles of road with 100 pick-up and drop-off stations across several residential and business areas. Baidu says it has the longest road network for a manned autonomous driving test in China. The tech giant will start operations with 40 autonomous vehicles in the capital.
One has to wonder whether America has lost its strategic sense entirely -- or for that matter, its common sense. On the one hand, the Department of Defense has released its latest evaluation of the Chinese military threat, noting specifically that Beijing is moving from what it terms in Pentagon-ese "informationalized warfare" to "intelligentized warfare." On the other hand, the House of Representatives has approved an amendment to its 2021 National Defense Authorization Act that would expand the "Buy American" provision so that it could lock out defense exports from America's closest allies, whom it sorely needs in any confrontation with China or Russia. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam SmithDavid (Adam) Adam SmithWhen'Buy American' and common sense collide Overnight Defense: Marine Corps brushes off criticism of Marines' appearance in GOP convention video US troops injured in collision with Russian vehicle in Syria Dems ask for probe of Vindman retaliation allegations Democrats press Pentagon watchdog to probe allegations of retaliation against Vindman brothers MORE (D-Wash.), The House voted to accept the proposal by Rep. Donald NorcrossDonald W. NorcrossWhen'Buy American' and common sense collide NY, NJ lawmakers call for more aid to help fight coronavirus Lawmakers, labor leaders ramp up calls to use Defense Production Act MORE (D-N.J.) requiring that, by the end of fiscal year 2021, 75 percent of all components of major defense programs must be produced in the United States, and that the American share of those components should rise by 5 percent in every year following year until it reaches 100 percent in FY 2026. The House also approved other Buy American provisions to both its defense authorization and appropriation bills.
Beijing now controls the largest navy in the world and is attempting to double the size of its nuclear warhead stockpile over the next decade; reaction from Fox News senior strategic analyst Gen. Jack Keane, chairman of the Institute for the Study of War. New attack drones, 5th-generation stealth fighter jets, reconfigured cargo planes and Russian-built air defenses are making China's Air Force even deadlier. In fact, all of these advances present a great concern to U.S. war planners. The size of the People's Liberation Army Air Force is reported to include a total of 2,500 aircraft, making it the third-largest in the world, according to the Pentagon's 2020 China Military Power report. U.S. threat assessors are not merely concerned about the size of the Chinese Air Force but the increasing technical sophistication and multi-mission tactics with which it operates.
Is Trump being outplayed on TikTok? Imagine a bidder wanting to buy KFC, but being told the deal might not include the Colonel's 11 secret herbs and spices. That's effectively what Beijing has told the list of U.S. companies keen to purchase short-video app TikTok: The key ingredients may be out of reach. At first it looked like the Trump administration had it all figured out. ByteDance Inc., it decided, was a risk to national security and the Chinese company's main product for international markets had to be sold. For reasons that remain confounding, Satya Nadella entered the fray and Microsoft Corp. put in a bid.
Chinese-owned video sharing app TikTok has selected a buyer for its U.S., New Zealand and Australian assets and may announce a deal on Tuesday, CNBC reported. However, the Chinese government has created a potential obstacle to efforts by TikTok's parent internet tech firm ByteDance to sell off these assets to overseas buyers. Beijing has asserted it can block any such deal to foreign companies by imposing tighter restrictions on certain technology exports. Specifically, the Chinese Commerce Ministry added speech and text recognition – key elements of TikTok's technology -- to a slew of products that will now need government approval prior to their sale to foreign entities. China had not made any changes to its technology export list since 2008, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a Commerce Ministry statement.