ZHAOQING, China – Xpeng Motors, a Chinese electric car startup, recently opened a large assembly plant in southeastern China and is building a matching factory nearby. It has announced plans for a third. Another Chinese electric car company, Nio, has opened one large factory in central China and is preparing to build a second several kilometers away. Zhejiang Geely, owner of Volvo, showed off an enormous new electric car factory in eastern China last month rivaling in size some of the world's largest assembly plants. Evergrande, a troubled Chinese real estate giant, has just built electric car factories in the cities of Shanghai and Guangzhou and hopes to be making almost as many fully electric cars by 2025 as all of North America.
So much happened in the auto industry this month it can't fit in one column; I whittled it down to the things that interested me. There is a lot of variety by topic -- from Auto Shanghai to a new operating system to an interesting DARPA story to the European Union proposal for AI use regulation. These ten stories are summarized in the following table. Auto Shanghai Auto Shanghai is among the world's largest auto shows and is the first auto show to be held after the pandemic. The attendance is expected to reach about 1 million people and around 1,000 exhibitors.
A court in Shenzhen, China, has ruled that an article generated by artificial intelligence (AI) is protected by copyright, according to state news outlet China News Service, representing a notable milestone for AI's credentials as a creative force. For the past five years Chinese tech titan Tencent has published content produced by automated software called Dreamwriter, with a focus on business and financial stories. In 2018, an online platform operated by a company called Shanghai Yingxun Technology Company replicated an AI-generated financial report from Tencent on its own website. The article included a disclaimer that said it was "automatically written by Tencent Robot Dreamwriter"; however, the court found that the article's articulation and expression had a "certain originality" and met the legal requirements to be classed as a written work -- thus it qualified for copyright protection. While the defendant had already removed the article from its own website, it was still required to pay a fine of 1,500 yuan ($217).
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.
WASHINGTON/SHANGHAI (Reuters) - The U.S. government expanded its trade blacklist to include some of China's top artificial intelligence startups, punishing Beijing for its treatment of Muslim minorities and ratcheting up tensions ahead of high-level trade talks in Washington this week. The decision, almost certain to draw a sharp response from Beijing, targets 20 Chinese public security bureaus and eight companies including video surveillance firm Hikvision, as well as leaders in facial recognition technology SenseTime Group Ltd and Megvii Technology Ltd. The action bars the firms from buying components from U.S. companies without U.S. government approval - a potentially crippling move. It follows the same blueprint used by Washington in its attempt to limit the influence of Huawei Technologies Co Ltd for what it says are national security reasons. U.S. officials said the action was not tied to this week's resumption of trade talks with China, but it signals no let-up in U.S. President Donald Trump's hard-line stance as the world's two biggest economies seek to end their 15-month trade war.
Artificial intelligence has thrashed humans at chess. Now the bots are gunning for mahjong. An AI-powered program developed by Microsoft Corp. has surpassed the average level of the top players in a recent competition in Japan, Harry Shum, executive vice-president of the company's artificial intelligence and research group, said in Shanghai on Thursday. "To those friends who usually lose money in mahjong, this is good news to you," Shum said to laughter at the World AI Conference. "The bot player developed by Microsoft can deal with high uncertainty, presenting instincts akin to human, projection and deduction capabilities as well as a sense of overall consciousness."
Billionaire techpreneurs Jack Ma and Elon Musk faced off over AI in a much-anticipated morning session at the Shanghai World Artificial Intelligence Conference on Thursday, and although sparks didn't actually fly it was clear to the packed audience that they each have a different vision of the future. "AI will open a new chapter so that humans will know themselves better," said Jack Ma, Alibaba Group Holding founder. "Most of the projections about AI are wrong … people who are street-smart about AI are not scared by it." The conference has attracted executives from nearly 300 companies including US firms Intel, IBM, Microsoft and Qualcomm as well as scientists and scholars from across the world. Both men had to condense their visions of the future into a compact 45-minute session, which also included answering a series of pre-prepared questions from Chinese netizens.
Last year, Chinese police arrested a man at a pop concert after he was flagged as a criminal suspect by a facial recognition system installed at the venue. The software that called the cops was developed by Shanghai startup Yitu Tech. It was marketed with a stamp of approval from the US government. Yitu is a top performer on a testing program run by the National Institute of Standards and Technology that's vital to the fast-growing facial recognition industry. More than 60 companies took part in the most recent rounds of testing.
SHANGHAI – China's ambitious drive to dominate next-generation 5G technology faces a sudden reality check as fears spread that telecom companies like Huawei could be proxies for Beijing's intrusive security apparatus. Fifth-generation mobile communications are the next milestone in the digital revolution, bringing near-instantaneous connectivity and vast data capacity. They will enable the widespread adoption of futuristic technologies such as artificial intelligence and automated cars and factories -- advances China is desperate to lead. With 5G's rollout expected to gain pace in coming years, the race to dominate standards and control security and data traffic underpins much of the current high-tech rivalry between the United States and China, technology experts said. Huawei's status as a leading world supplier of the backbone equipment for telecoms systems -- mostly in developing markets -- gives China an inside track.
China might be at loggerheads with the United States over trade, but it is calling for a friendlier approach to the development of artificial intelligence. Speaking at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai this week, China's vice premier, Liu He, said that AI would depend heavily on international cooperation. "We're hoping that all countries, as members of the global village, will be inclusive and support each other so that we can respond to the double-edged-sword effect of new technologies," He said through a translator. "AI represents a new era. Cross-national and cross-discipline cooperation is inevitable."