Chinese Tech Giants Discuss the Future of Technology during the Two Sessions

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The National People’s Congress and the Chinese Political Consultative Conference, namely the Two Sessions, is the most important political conference in China. Despite the heavy smog, the Great Hall of the people, where the sessions took place was filled with proactive voices and new ideas. Every year, delegates, the elites from all walks of life gather together in the capital to discuss the country’s most pressing issues.

Let’s have a look at some of the proposals from the big shots of the Chinese tech industry. It is interesting to see that their opinions match perfectly with the strategic moves of the tech firms they are leading.

Lei Jun, CEO of Xiaomi

Lei Jun (source: sinatech)

Space infrastructure is one of the most important measurements of a country’s high-tech productivity.”

Lei Jun, CEO of Xiaomi, handed in three proposals, with focus on 5G deployment, development of IoT as well as the aerospace industries and construction of internet accessibility for the disabled.

According to Lei, 5G now works as the driving force of the digital economy. Not only can the 5G technology be applied to smartphones and base station constructions, it is also expected to facilitate IoT, blockchain, the application of artificial intelligence. Since 5G technology ensures top network rates, stability and low latency of communication, the network can facilitate the application of IoT. Lei Jun encouraged the government to make 5G deployments in terms of industrial application in advance.

Another interesting proposal is about the commercialization of the space industry. Right now we are amidst a time of “craze for space”, or as NASA calls it “The era of Space 2.0”. Pioneer companies including SpaceX and OneWeb are putting big money into building a satellite network that covers the whole planet. Chinese tech giants including LinkSure are following suit.

The prosperity of China’s aerospace industry has everything to do with the rising of private aerospace companies. An increasing number of talents are flowing into the private sector, as reported earlier. However, Lei Jun points out that China remains the only major space power that lacks a sound aerospace legislature system.

As he wrote in the proposal, “we should accelerate the process of aerospace legislature, ensuring that private companies have the right to make use of space resources in a way that’s rational and effective in the long run.”

It is estimated that until 2023, the total market value of commercial aerospace will surpass one trillion yuan. The booming market heightens the necessity of the promulgation of aerospace legislature.

Pony Ma, CEO of Tencent

Pony Ma (source: 深科信)

As I’ve said on numerous occasions, we are doing this (prevention against gaming addiction) for real. We do hope Tencent can take the lead in the gaming industry in anti-gaming addiction, through a series of technological measures.

Pony Ma, CEO of Tencent has always been an active advisor during the two sessions. For the past seven years, he has handed over a total of 37 written proposals to the government. And this year’s seven proposals focus on areas including the development of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, cyber protection for minors, industrial internet, research on basic sciences, ethics and ecological problems.

As a major online gaming developer, Tencent has been a role model in protecting minors from internet corruption. On October 25, 2018, Tencent released an upgraded version of Arena of Valor, which is deemed “the healthy version”. Having adopted the strictest measures against gaming addiction, such as real name verification, the new version has successfully diminished average gaming time for young minors by 25 percent according to media reports.

This is the third consecutive year that Pony Ma has brought up the issue of cybersecurity for minors. In his proposals, he mentioned that the country should take the lead in setting up a “one-stop” network management platform for minors based on the existing prevention and control measures. The platform should work to control the total online time for minors, and exercise customized supervision on kids, which in turn also facilitates parental guidance.

Robin Li, CEO of Baidu

Robin Li (source: yicai.com)

There are definitely bubbles in the artificial intelligence industry, and they’re not small. However, I think it’s pretty normal.”

Baidu has been making proactive moves in the AI sector, from voice control operating system DuerOS to the Apollo autonomous-driving system. Up until now, DuerOS has evolved into one of the most prosperous AI systems on the Chinese market. According to Jing Kun, General Manager of Baidu’s Smart Living Group, the total number of activated smart devices equipped with DuerOS reached 200 million in December 2018, with monthly interactions doubling to 1.6 billion for the past eight quarters ending by the end of last year.

All three of Robert Li’s proposals are relevant to the development of artificial intelligence, with the first one based on the ethics of AI. According to him, it is necessary for enterprises to ponder over the pros and cons of artificial intelligence on its path of development from the perspective of society, government and the public.

“We need to make regulations in advance, make a prognosis, and make sure that artificial intelligence doesn’t evolve in the wrong direction and backlashes. For instance, how to avoid unemployment, how to ensure data security, and how to avoid hackers; these problems need to be thoroughly considered early on.”

Furthermore, Li believes that smart transportation is not only about cars, but more about transportation for society as a whole. Apart from the vehicles themselves, the prosperity of the autonomous driving industry also relies on the development of “smart roads”. “Smart transportation is a huge opportunity in the future. It is unsolvable by only one or two companies. The government needs to do a better job in Cooperative Vehicle-Infrastructure Systems (CVIS), and agree to cooperate in infrastructure construction to a larger extent.”

Featured photo credit to tech.ifeng.com

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