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Press Release for July 4, 2018 Media Briefing by Shanghai Municipal Government

July 05, 2018

The Information Office of Shanghai Municipality held a press conference today (July 4) during which Wu Qing, vice mayor of Shanghai, gave an introduction about the 2018 World Artificial Intelligence Conference. Wang Weiming, vice director of the Science and Technology division, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Wu Xiang, associate counsel of Innovation and Development division, Ministry of Science and Technology, Chen Mingbo, director of Shanghai Economy and Informatization Commission, Fang Shizhong, governor of Xuhui District, Gan Pin, deputy director of Shanghai Science and Technology Commission and Qiu Wenjin,associate counsel of Shanghai Development and Reform Commission were also present at the conference and joined Wu to take questions from the media.

The fact that Artificial Intelligence is a future-guiding technology of strategic importance has reached a global consensus and become a topic for all mankind seeking to understand and challenge themselves. Due to firm commitment to its development, massive market demand, abundant data resources and unending technological exploration, China has emerged as a key innovation land and a strong growth engine for AI development in the world. The 19th CPC National Congress has made a request that the Internet, Big Data and AI should be deeply converged with the country’s real economy and should serve as the corner stone for China’s construction of its modern economic system.

At this historic moment when a new round of technological and industrial reforms have been launched amid growing demand for high-quality development of the country, the 2018 World Artificial Intelligence Conference will be held in Shanghai between September 17 to 19. Approved by the State Council, the 2018 World Artificial Intelligence Conference will be jointly organized by the National Development and Reform Commission, Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Cyberspace Administration of China, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chinese Academy of Engineering and Shanghai Municipal Government. As the city makes preparations for the conference, it now sincerely invites all from around the world who are interested in AI to gather in Shanghai during the golden month of September.    

On behalf of the Shanghai government, Wu Qing said the city is committed to making close cooperation with related ministries, commissions and organizations to ensure a complete success of the conference.

President Xi Jinping has mentioned for a couple of times the importance of Artificial Intelligence as well as its development path while the country has also published the national master plan and action plan for new generation AI development. Though it is widely agreed that China is a major country in terms of AI development, we should be aware of the fact that we are still somewhat left behind in various areas including fundamental theory, core algorithm, key equipment, high-end chip, as well as key enterprises and high-level talents, laws and regulations, standard mechanism, etc.

Some of these gaps and shortcomings are common seen bottlenecks during the economic development process around the world, and some are shortcomings related to their peculiarities.

Global division of labor and cooperation has always been based on their respective comparative advantages.

The World AI conference will invite experts and scholars as well as industry watcher from all around the world and from different industry sectors to discuss a wide range of topics such as reform, opening up, innovation and development.

The major themes will include reform, which would cover how to seize China's deepening supply-side structural reforms opportunities to enhance the important opportunities of the real economy, and promote AI's empowering capability of industry cooperation; Opening up, covering topics such as how to further open up the huge market of China's consumption upgrade, create rich application scenarios, and to meet the people's increasing demand for higher living standards; Innovation, covering topics such as how to deepen cooperation between China an foreign nations, government-enterprise collaboration, cooperation between academic institutions and enterprises, how to encourage the sharing of new ideas, new theories, new technologies, new ideas, and work together to create a smart world for the future; Development, covering topics such as how to drive joint development of different parties which seeks multi-party governance, multi-party cooperation and multi-party consensus, and how to build up a platform for multi-party dialogue, cooperation and exchange to be encouraged, and a place for thinkers, scientists and entrepreneurs who is willing to contribute and provide solutions for the future intelligence of mankind to come together.

Secondly, the World AI Conference will focus on the theme of "The new era of artificial intelligence Empowerment" and the principle of "high-end, internationalization, specialization, and marketization".

It will be divided into forum summits, special events, exhibitions of AI applications, and innovation competitions which will encourage the combination of academic research and industry application.

From the industry side, the opening ceremony will invite some domestic and foreign politicians, academic leaders and representatives of leading enterprises in the industry to give speeches on the development trend of global artificial intelligence and the macroeconomic impact on the economy and society.

The plenary session will conduct in-depth discussions on key issues from the three aspects, namely technology, economy and society. More than 100 CEOs from leading companies around the world and 100 representative technology companies from all over the world attended the conference, and the proportion of overseas guests would exceed 50 percent.

During the conference, nearly 20 forums and summits will be held to discuss the development status, trends and hot topics such as the merge of human and machines, group intelligence, smart chips and smart driving, and the latest authoritative industry trend reports will be released by well-known consultancies and research organizations such as Gartner and the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology.

On the academic side, as many as 30 well-known universities from home and abroad would attend the conference. In order to promote youth talent training and innovation, the organizing committee is launching the "2018 World Artificial Intelligence Innovation Competition" for teachers, students, individual developers and teams in the artificial intelligence field.

The contest has already been kicked off on June 13th, and a roadshow will be organized for contestants to showcase their latest innovative works. Finally, the “SAIL” (Shanghai AI Leader) award will be selected by high-level experts in academia and business circles and will be awarded towards the winner during the World AI conference in September.

In terms of scientific research, the conference has received strong support from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering. Ten global influential AI scientists (including Turing Award winners), 50 Chinese and foreign academicians and 100 leading experts will attend the conference. They will discuss in-depth and frontier topics such as basic algorithm, international collaboration and future application. During the conference, a series of special events such as high-level academic discussion, MIT TR 35 top-level young scientists’ interaction will be held. The most authoritative opinions and consensus will be heard during the conference.

In terms of application, the conference hall will consist of a number of integrated, diverse and regional AI immersive experience and is expected become the highlight. The main hall and surrounding AI PARK and the oil tank art area will focus on seven AI plus themed experiences and nearly one hundred application scenarios including AI plus transportation, health, education, retail, service, intelligent manufacturing and finance. The entire West Bund riverside area will consist of the West Bund Art Museum, Long Museum, Yuz Museum and other art and cultural spaces that rely on the transformation of industrial facilities. A number of AI technologies and products, which is full of imagination, will be launched in the West Bund.

In terms of venture capital, on the day of the opening ceremony, a series of policies will be released and important cooperation projects will be signed. The winning team of innovation competition will receive support from investment funds, incubation bases and policy guidance. At the same time, the committee will hold AI ​​Investment and Financing Theme Forum to carry out the road show for those unicorn enterprises and excellent innovation teams. The committee will further create an atmosphere which encourages artificial intelligence leads innovation and entrepreneurship. In addition, Shanghai welcomes venture capital institutions to collaborate with the committee and provide maximum support and service to the conference.

Under the guidance of national ministries and commissions, the overall plan of the conference has been formulated. The conference official website (www.waic2018.com) and the WeChat account and mobile app have been launched, which are led by Shanghai Municipal Commission of Economy and Informatization and Shanghai Xuhui District People’s Government. Important guest invitations at home and abroad and infrastructure support around the main venue are going well. It is expected that journalists’ registration and audience registration channels will be opened in mid-August or late August.

The 2018 World Artificial Intelligence Conference is not only a window for China to communicate with the world in the field of artificial intelligence, but also a hub for Shanghai to lead the development of the artificial intelligence industry in the Yangtze River Delta. It is also an opportunity for Shanghai to optimize the new economy, business environment and deepen the opening and reform of the market. Shanghai will take advantage of the opportunity of hosting the conference to implement strategic mission to establish a world-leading science and technology center and promote the development of a new generation of artificial intelligence, continuously improve the innovation capability. The city will also strive to form a national demonstration base in the field of artificial intelligence application and build a new generation of artificial intelligence development system featuring technology leadership, industrial synergy, ecological cultivation and talent accumulation to take the lead in building artificial intelligence development highlands across the country. Within two or three years, AI industries in Shanghai will contribute annual output over 100 billion yuan, fueled by a new special AI fund over 100 billion yuan, 10 public platforms for AI innovation, TB-level public data collection, 6 innovative application demonstration zones and over 60 deep applications scenarios.