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China pushes artificial intelligence education in colleges, to train 5,000 students

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Artificial intelligence (AI) could become another popular major in China's college and universities, experts predicted, after an education ministry working plan was released to encourage the cultivation of AI talent in higher educational institutions.

The notice, announced on April 3, encourages colleges and universities to explore engineering courses that integrate AI with other subjects such as computer science, mathematics, statistics, physics, biology, psychology, sociology and law, and to train innovative people.

According to the plan, 100 special majors that combine AI and other subjects and 50 AI colleges and research institutes or interdisciplinary research centers will be set up by 2020.

"AI will be the trend during the next 30 to 50 years. For students who have an interest in related fields such as mathematics, biology and data analysis, AI should be an important subject worth their study and effort," Zuo Shiquan, head of the equipment manufacturing research institute under the China Center for Information Industry Development, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Experts also noted that the AI education should also include courses on ethical issues involving AI, so that the advanced technology will not develop out of control and harm society.

Colleges focusing on research and development in AI technology have been set up in several universities in China, such as Xidian University, Chongqing University of Posts and Telecommunications, National University of Defense Technology and Nanjing University.

An AI top talent experimental class has been set up in Xi'an Jiaotong University in Northwest China's Shaanxi Province, an enrollment official from the university told the Global Times on Thursday.

Peking University launched an AI talent international training program, supported by the Ministry of Education and Innovation Works, a Beijing-based incubator platform, on April 3.

The program plans to invite national and international experts as instructors and provide training for 100 teachers and 300 students in 2018, and 500 teachers and 5,000 students within five years.

The Boao Forum for Asia in South China's Hainan Province held a sub-forum Wednesday to discuss what the AI revolution means to human society and how the technology will improve people's lives.

"In the next five to 10 years, a growing number of companies will pay more attention to AI as they did on the internet 10 years ago. AI technology is deeply integrated in every industry," chinanews.com reported, citing Zhu Guang, Baidu senior vice president.



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