LONDON - One key impediment to China’s avowed goal of becoming the world’s premier artificial intelligence (AI) power by 2030 is a relative dearth of talent. China was home to the second-largest pool of AI scientists and engineers by the end of 2017, some 18,200 people, trailing the US at about 29,000. The country was a mere sixth in its tally of ace AI researchers, however, according to the 2018 China AI Development Report published by Beijing’s prestigious Tsinghua University.
One major stumbling block is that a good share of China’s AI talent goes abroad to acquire its expertise and tends to stay there. One effort underway to lure these highly skilled elites home is for AI institutes to offer plush salaries, two to three times those of other professors at the university, e.g., at the Institute of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics at Xi'an Jiaotong University, according to its Founder and Director Zheng Nanning, UK science journal Nature reported in August 2019.
In an effort to redress this shortcoming the country has come out with ‘Several Opinions on “Double-First-Class” Construction of Universities, Promoting Discipline Integration and Accelerating Postgraduate Training in the Field of Artificial Intelligence’ by the Ministry of Education, National Development and Reform Commission, and Ministry of Finance.
This document states that “It is an important mission of colleges and universities to cultivate and gather high-level talents with innovative ability and cooperative spirit.” It then notes that “Compared with developed countries, there is still a big gap in the basic theory of AI, original algorithms, high-end chips and ecosystems in China.” It says its mandate is to “promote the construction of "double-first-class" collegThe content herein is subject to copyright by The Yuan. All rights reserved. The content of the services is owned or licensed to The Yuan. The copying or storing of any content for anything other than personal use is expressly prohibited without prior written permission from The Yuan, or the copyright holder identified in the copyright notice contained in the content.