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原创翻译:龙腾网 http://www.ltaaa.com 翻译:神刀 转载请注明出处

World’s most populous nation lacks one thing to be AI leader: people


World’s most populous country lacks the one thing it needs to become an AI powerhouse: enough talented people


China faces a severe talent shortage in its quest to become a global powerhouse in artificial intelligence by 2030


David Wei’s employer, a Beijing-based artificial intelligence start-up, doubled his previous salary and offered share options to entice him to come and work on the company’s AI-powered software for the legal industry.

David Wei的雇主,一家总部位于北京的人工智能初创公司,将他的薪水提高了一倍,并提供了股票期权,以吸引他来公司开发为法律行业服务的,基于人工智能的软件。

“My friends advised me to stay put and complete at least a full year so that it won’t look bad on my resume,” said Wei, who has a postgraduate degree in applied mathematics from Harbin Institute of Technology, one of China’s best-known universities, along with Tsinghua and Peking University, when it comes to science and engineering.


But with more than 10 recruiters calling him with job offers since the start of the year, the advice from his friends is looking increasingly outdated.


China aims to outspend the world in artificial intelligence, and Xi Jinping just green lit the plan


The conference sets the course for key economic policies over the next year and delegates will likely discuss measures needed to achieve the targets set out in July when the State Council issued a roadmap to develop an AI industry worth over 1 trillion yuan (US$150 billion) by 2030.


Dubbed the fourth industrial revolution, the rise of AI – powerful supercomputers crunching data to identify patterns and teach themselves tasks – has fuelled concerns over its potential to put people out of work. One estimate by management consultancy McKinsey forecasts that 800 million jobs worldwide are at risk of being lost to automation by 2030.


In China, technology companies like Alibaba Group Holding, which owns the South China Morning Post, are experimenting with unmanned convenience stores and warehouses, and using AI to determine credit scores for Chinese consumers. JD.com, the online retailer, just announced an investment into driverless vehicles and is using drones to deliver parcels. Insurers and banks are using AI technology to power their ATMs and improve the customer risk-assessment process.

在中国,拥有《南华早报》(South China Morning Post)的阿里巴巴集团(Alibaba Group Holding)等科技公司正在试验无人便利店和货栈,并利用人工智能来确定中国消费者的信用评分。在线零售商京东(JD.com)刚刚宣布投资无人驾驶汽车,并使用无人机送货。保险公司和银行正在利用人工智能技术为他们的自动取款机供电,并改善客户的风险评估过程。

All of these artificial intelligence initiatives, ironically, require an abundances of human brainpower, which is why people like Wei are in such demand.


As of March, there were more than 1.9 million technology professionals working in the AI sector globally, according to LinkedIn statistics. While the US accounts for the lion’s share with 850,000, China ranked seventh with just over 50,000, trailing India, the UK and Canada and on par with Australia and France.


China’s demand for AI professionals may surge to 5 million in a few years, Peop le’s Daily reported, citing Zhou Ming, an education vice-director at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.


So far, China has been importing most of its AI talent from overseas because its home-grown AI talent remains scarce, according to LinkedIn’s Global AI Talent report published in July.


Roughly nine out of 10 AI positions advertised on the mainland go unfilled, unless companies venture out of China to hire, according to the professional networking platform. The number of China-based AI job postings on LinkedIn surged more than eight times over the past three years, from about 50,000 in 2014 to 440,000 in 2016, said Wang Di, vice-president of LinkedIn China.


About 44 per cent of the overseas AI talent working in China come from the US, followed by the UK and France as the second and third source countries, according to LinkedIn.


Researchers in machine learning, smart chips and algorithms are the most sought-after, according to Wang. Demand will continue to grow, with a survey by global risk advisory company Willis Towers Watson showing that Chinese tech firms project an average 20 per cent expansion in their AI teams next year.

据王说,机器学习、智能芯片和算法的研究人员是最受欢迎的。需求将继续增长,全球风险咨询公司Willis Towers Watson的一项调查显示,中国科技公司明年将在其人工智能团队中平均扩张20%。

“Many Chinese tech companies now visit top universities and headhunting firms on a regular basis, keeping an eye out and learning about the market. Their overseas recruitment plans would even have no limit when it comes to headcount or budget,” said Willis Towers Watson managing director Edward Hsu.


In terms of recruitment strategies, Hsu said Chinese companies first try poaching AI talent from leading peers as well as hiring fresh graduates from home and abroad. Longer term, they are setting up overseas labs to attract foreign researchers and expatriate Chinese unwilling to return to China, while some are looking at outright acquisitions of competitors as a means to acquire the talent, he added.


Indeed, a Silicon Valley presence is now seen as standard procedure for any mainland Chinese company serious about working in AI. Car hailing company Didi Chuxing, China’s answer to Uber, opened a US-based research lab in March after successfully poaching seasoned cybersecurity experts, including a former Uber researcher known for being able to hack cars with a laptop computer from miles away.


Tencent opened its own AI lab in Seattle, Washington state, in May while Alibaba pledged in October to invest over US$15 billion on AI research and development over the next three years with a plan to open seven labs worldwide aimed at beating similar research facilities built by IBM, Microsoft and Intel. Google this week announced the opening of an AI research group in Shanghai, its first in Asia, adding to existing facilities in New York, Toronto, London and Zurich.


Shortage of talent may become the biggest barrier for China to achieve its AI dreams, said James Lewis, senior fellow at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, a US-based think tank.


“Its AI road map is good, but China may need more time to build the workforce,” he said, adding that nurturing and growing a talent pool in technology can be a slow process.


Even so, China’s economic strength and willingness to spend money gives it an advantage over the US or Europe, Lewis said.


It is coming down to competition between US and Chinese companies for the small pool of talent, and the recent Chinese “brain drain” is being reversed now that good AI scientists are being offered a “fair amount of pay” to work in China, he said.


With over 700 AI-related companies in China, about US$2.6 billion of capital has flowed into the industry over the past four and a half years up to June, roughly one seventh of the amount going into the US but three times that of the UK, according to a joint report by Wuzhen Institute and NetEase.


For Wei, the AI programmer in Beijing, the talent shortage is good news.


“When I land at the next start-up, a 30 per cent pay rise will be the least I’ll get, although I could offer some discount if it’s already a tech giant,” he said, when asked about his salary expectations.


However, coming from a remote village in northeast Shandong province, Wei admits to being shy about discussing his salary, even with close friends, in a country where he earns almost 40 times the average wage.


原创翻译:龙腾网 http://www.ltaaa.com 翻译:神刀 转载请注明出处

Tador Efann
After reading her article, this writer does not appear to me talented.


This is no news. When the personal computer phenomena took off in the US, there was a severe shortage of Engineers. Now there are too many. With lucrative offers, the talent pool will soon be filled up.
Too early to worry.


It would serve China well for the world to continue to believe that China lacks the talents to challenge the rest of the world. I don't actually see much downside for China in this belief by the rest of the world. It's good for China to keep a low profile on such matter.


Obviously, SCMP lacks talented journalists! BTW, China also lacks talents to become a Ruby Union powerhouse.


A lot of Hype. Some in Ukraine, Russia, Bosnia etc. could be working on AI. China will also have lots of talents. Why rush?
The world of IT or AI is on where collective brainpower innovate and move forward. It is not one super brain. Soon even the brains will not be enough. The AI computer takes over and do it much faster. Humans then decide which option to take


Many writers/analysts talk as if TIME has ended and they are tallying the scores. If you haven’t noticed there is only one bill gates, one zuckerberg etc. There should be dozens of them. The truth is LUCK. The talent will emerge, eg Jack Ma. Only time will tell. And it has not ended. Just wait.


Here comes another "Freedom Fighter".
If what you said was true, then China would still be in the medi times.
Total Hog wash. 


Is this article a joke? I'll let you know that in my real life, I am a researcher. I read papers, and I regularly review papers for the top journals in my field. So I know very well that 'machine learning' is all the latest craze (even though this field is several decades old), and a large number of recent papers on this subject are done by either Chinese nationals working in foreign institutions, or increasingly, just Chinese researchers working from the mainland. There is no shortage of talent. China graduates many times more electrical engineers every year than the US. If there was one thing China needs to work on, it is holding onto local talent. Chinese are ultimately drawn by money wherever it can be made. So until China fully catches up on GDP per capita with the most developed countries (this won't happen until the 2040s-2050s), there will be an outward 'brain drain'. But note that as China gets rich, overseas Chinese are moving back, or working for Chinese companies in overseas research labs.


如果中国需要做一件事,那就是留住本地人才。无论在哪里,中国人最终都是被金钱所吸引。因此,在中国完全赶上最发达国家的人均GDP之前(这种情况要到2040 - 2050年才会发生),就会出现“人才外流”。但请注意,随着中国的富裕,海外华人正在迁回,或在海外研究实验室为中国企业工作。

I recently interviewed 32 graduate electronic engineers in Shenzhen. Not even one could draw a circuit diagram of a basic power supply unit sample given to them. A secondary school student from the west will do much better than that, I wonder how they got those nice buinder of certificates. Probably purchased from ALIBABA.


I suggest SCMP Remove rogersmith777 completely. He is damaging the normal operation of this forum. 

我建议SCMP完全删除rogersmith 777,他正在破坏这个论坛的正常运作。

China lacking in AI talent, then the world especially the west should be thankful. China Set it's own path and timetable, she will not be detoured or discouraged by the media. The more the media bad mouth about China development, the stronger it becomes. This has been proven times and times again in many areas.


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