Child's play: Coding booms among Chinese children


Wearing a pair of black-rimmed glasses and a red T-shirt, an eight-year-old Chinese boy is logged in for an online coding lesson -- as the teacher. Vita has set up a coding tutorial channel on the Chinese video streaming site Bilibili since August and has so far garnered nearly 60,000 followers and over one million views. He is among a growing number of children in China who are learning coding even before they enter primary school. The trend has been fuelled by parents' belief that coding skills will be essential for Chinese teenagers given the government's technological drive. 'Coding's not that easy but also not that difficult -- at least not as difficult as you have imagined,' says Vita, who lives in Shanghai.

Cosmose AI raises $12 million to track brick-and-mortar purchasing habits


Keeping abreast of shopping trends online is straightforward enough -- whole categories of startups achieve this with predictive modeling. But what about when that shopping takes place in-store? Tracking the behaviors of mall, outlet, and department store shoppers is of critical importance to physical store brands, particularly considering that the percentage of brick-and-mortar sales increased by 2% from $2.99 trillion in 2016 to $3.04 trillion in 2017. To meet this need, Miron Mironiuk founded Cosmose AI, a Shanghai-based analytics software provider that anticipates how people shop offline. Brands like Subway, Samsung, Walmart, Airbnb, Tencent, Burberry, Omnicom, Mercedes-Benz, Anheuser-Busch InBev, LVMH, Kering, L'Oréal, Gucci, Cartier, P&G, Nestle, and Coca-Cola use its tool suite to granularly track offline visitors' purchasing habits and target them with online ads via WeChat, Weibo, Facebook, Google, and over 100 other internet platforms.

The 5G report card: Building today's smart IoT ecosystem


Almost every presentation began apologetically with the refrain, "In a 5G world" practically challenging the industry's rollout goals. At one point Brigitte Daniel-Corbin, IoT Strategist with Wilco Electronic Systems, sensed the need to reassure the audience by exclaiming, 'its not a matter of if, but when 5G will happen!' Frontier Tech pundits too often prematurely predict hyperbolic adoption cycles, falling into the trap of most soothsaying visions. The IoTC Summit's ability to pull back the curtain left its audience empowered with a sober roadmap forward that will ultimately drive greater innovation and profit. The industry frustration is understandable as China announced earlier this month that 5G is now commercially available in 50 cities, including: Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.

How RoboChef Is Eliminating Human Chefs From The Restaurant Industry


Globally, foodtech startups are now experimenting with robotics in the kitchen. Alibaba's The Robot.he restaurant in Shanghai, Boston-based Spyce serving $8 salad bowls as well as robotic chefs making egg sandwiches and burgers, some of the most novel applications of robots are in the restaurant industry as industrial robotics applications make the trip to the kitchen. And this trend is also something that has caught the fancy of Indian startups which are now coming on to the scene to build scalable automated solutions across industries including in restaurants. Hyderabad-based Robot Kitchen with robot waiters was recently in the news for getting robots to act as servers. However, with the industry 4.0 revolution fully automating processes across businesses, it won't be long before robots start making dishes.

China seeks to root out fake news and deepfakes with new online content rules

The Japan Times

BEIJING/SHANGHAI – Chinese regulators have announced new rules governing video and audio content online, including a ban on the publishing and distribution of "fake news" created with technologies such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality. Any use of AI or virtual reality also needs to be clearly marked in a prominent manner and failure to follow the rules could be considered a criminal offense, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) said on its website. The rules, effective Jan. 1, were published publicly on its website on Friday after being issued to online video and audio service providers last week. In particular, the CAC highlighted potential problems caused by deepfake technology, which uses AI to create hyper-realistic videos where a person appears to say or do something they did not. Deepfake technology could "endanger national security, disrupt social stability, disrupt social order and infringe upon the legitimate rights and interests of others," according to a transcript of a press briefing published on the CAC's website.

How 5G Will Change China (Beyond Faster Video Games)


Sign up for Next China, a weekly email on where the nation stands now and where it's going next. When China's wireless carriers debut their 5G networks this year, early adopters whose mobile phones can handle the ultra-fast speeds won't be the only beneficiaries. Rolling 5G service out to the world's biggest population also should give a boost to China's digital economy, including makers of telecommunications equipment, platforms and applications for the internet of things, autonomous driving, surveillance and factory automation. It's the kind of head start that will be expensive at first but could pay off well into the future. Major cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen will get broad 5G -- or fifth-generation -- wireless coverage first, while some other cities will start with 5G hotspots.

Within 10 Years, We'll Travel by Hyperloop, Rockets, and Avatars


Try Hyperloop, rocket travel, and robotic avatars. Hyperloop is currently working towards 670 mph (1080 kph) passenger pods, capable of zipping us from Los Angeles to downtown Las Vegas in under 30 minutes. Rocket Travel (think SpaceX's Starship) promises to deliver you almost anywhere on the planet in under an hour. Think New York to Shanghai in 39 minutes. As 5G connectivity, hyper-realistic virtual reality, and next-gen robotics continue their exponential progress, the emergence of "robotic avatars" will all but nullify the concept of distance, replacing human travel with immediate remote telepresence.

Jerry Xu, Co-Founder & CEO of Datatron – Interview Series


Jerry has extensive experience in machine learning, storage systems, online service, distributed systems, virtualization, and OS kernel. He has worked on high performance and large-scale systems at companies such as: Lyft, Box, Twitter, Zynga, and Microsoft. He has also authored the open-source project Lib Crunch and is a three-time Microsoft Gold Star Award winner. Jerry completed his master's degree in computer science at Shanghai University. His most recent startup is Datatron.

Chinese subway stations now let you pay for tickets by scanning your face


Facial recognition technology is used across China for everything from identifying criminals to measuring students' attention in class. Now, it has debuted a system in its subway that lets you use your face as a ticket. A report from South China Morning Post suggests the subway system in the southern city of Shenzhen has started using facial recognition technology to let folks over 60 years of age register themselves for free subway rides. Other cities such as Jinan, Shanghai, Qingdao, Nanjing, and Nanning are currently experimenting with this system. The technology in Shenzen has been deployed to 18 stations with 28 automatic gate machines and 60 self-service ticket processors.

Microsoft and Amazon are at the center of an ACLU lawsuit on facial recognition


The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is pressing forward with a lawsuit involving the facial recognition software offered by Amazon and Microsoft to government clients. In a complaint filed in a Massachusetts federal court, the ACLU asked for a variety of different records from the government, including inquiries to companies, meetings about the piloting or testing of facial recognition, voice recognition, and gait recognition technology, requests for proposals, and licensing agreements. At the heart of the lawsuit are Amazon's Rekognition and Microsoft's Face API, both facial recognition products that are available for customers of the companies' cloud platforms. The ACLU has also asked for more details on the US government's use of voice recognition and gait recognition, which is the automated process of comparing images of the way a person walks in order to identify them. Police in Shanghai and Beijing are already using gait-analysis tools to identify people.