Artificial Intelligence

A man wearing a face mask looks at a robot at the China National Convention Centre, the venue for the upcoming the China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing on 3 September 2020. (Wang Zhao/AFP)

Chinese villagers: The unsung heroes behind China's rapid AI development

Yin Ruizhi points out that China’s AI industry was able to scale up so quickly thanks to an army of rural folk ready to do the laborious yet essential task of data annotation.
Robin Li, co-founder and chairman of Baidu.com Inc., poses during a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, on 23 January 2008. (Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg News)

What happened to Baidu, once China's golden boy of innovation?

Wang Yanbo picks apart news of Baidu’s alleged plans to raise up to $2 billion over three years to invest in a biotech start-up, which would use AI technology to develop drugs and help diagnose diseases. Is this yet another example of business giants flailing into unchartered territory to seek new growth? Wasn’t China’s multi-billion dollar search market Baidu’s to harvest once Google ceased its Chinese operations in 2010 amid cyberattacks and censorship issues?
Pedestrians in a crowded street surrounded by small shops in the city of Changsha, China's Hunan province, 7 September 2020. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

China's e-commerce giants saving youths from the brink of suicide

Statistics show that approximately 100,000 China youths die of suicide every year. In times of coronavirus, the risk of people having suicidal thoughts and possibly acting on them has also increased. Help comes in the form of “suicide interventionists” from China's e-commerce platforms. As online shopping becomes more prevalent, these portals are fast becoming the front lines of shopping for self-harm. Zaobao journalist Zeng Shi looks at how e-commerce companies are taking a proactive role in suicide prevention.
Delivery workers wearing face masks ride scooters in front of Lujiazui financial district, in Shanghai, China, 10 July 2020. (Aly Song/File Photo/Reuters)

Socialism and universal basic income: Creating happy societies in the age of the knowledge economy

Lance Gore analyses that the knowledge economy offers great potential for bettering the lives of people. But capitalism may not be the best route to take. Power in the hands of a few, income gaps, job losses and wage cuts in the digital age bear this out. Can China offer a third way as it seeks to marry socialism with a market economy? The West is already considering some proposals with a socialist bent such as the Universal Basic Income (UBI). Surely, proponents of socialism can think of even more revolutionary ideas?
A police robot keeps watch on a shopping street in Shanghai, following the Covid-19 outbreak, on 16 June 2020. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Smart cities: The future of ASEAN-China cooperation

In the post-Covid-19 world, global supply chains are expected to be reconfigured as countries look to reduce their reliance on China. Enter greater room for ASEAN-China cooperation, particularly in areas related to the digital economy, such as in the development of smart cities. Associate Professor Gu Qingyang of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP) sets out the arguments.
GPS-enabled trackers ensure delivery trucks take optimal routes for their deliveries (iStock)

Industry 4.0: The Chinese "student" has surpassed the Singapore "teacher"

Kwek So Cheer warns that Singapore faces the risk of being irrelevant in a new world going through a fourth industrial revolution. In that respect, it has much to learn from China, who plays a leading role when it comes to advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, 3D printing and the Internet of Things.
Chinese youths in debt crises due to uncontrollable spending habits: Suffocated by their debts and left at wit’s end, some went to the extremes and took their lives. (iStock)

Online lending is feeding the insatiable purchasing desire of Chinese youths

China’s young generation of overspenders is rapidly on the rise, fueled by the presence of an expanding online lending market. What will it take to stop them?
Fully Automated Luxury Communism (FALC) by Aaron Bastani explores the future of human work.

A fully automated luxury communism for China’s future?

Every month, anthropologist Bram Barclay discusses a book or concept and how it relates to contemporary China.