News not Noise – 06/2018

by | Jun 27, 2018 | Artificial Intelligence, Business, Digital Transformation, News not Noise

This week’s focus is on major announcement in AI investments in Asia and Chinese companies going after US and Europe as new focus markets – starting with financial services. There are good arguments that we see the start of an AI race on national level, wich might lead to AI Nationalism.


AI Nationalism | Ian Hogarth

In this great essay Ian Hogarth argues that Machine learning is an omni-use technology that will come to touch all sectors and parts of society. The transformation of both the economy and the military by machine learning will create instability at the national and international level forcing governments to act. AI policy will become the single most important area of government policy. China is leading the pack. He believes that we are likely to go through a period of AI Nationalism before we get to a place where AI is treated like a public good, and that, to use Orwell’s distinction, a kind of AI Patriotism is likely to be a good thing for smaller countries in the short term.

Some more evidence for the AI race and China’s pool position 

Chinese city Tianjin launches $16 billion artificial intelligence fund | Internet of Business

Tianjin, a major port city in northeastern China (which many people in Europe may never heard of) has unveiled plans to launch a 100 billion yuan ($16 billion) fund to bolster the local artificial intelligence industry.

This is following a similar announcement In January, when Beijing unveiled plans to build its own 13.8 billion yuan ($2.2 billion) AI development park. Similarly, Shanghai has equally bold ambitions to be at the centre of a world-leading AI industry by 2020. 

If we compare this to the current plans in Europe , it becomes clear why Europe is challenged. The EU promise to increase investment in AI across the whole of the EU to at least €20 billion ($23 billion) by 2020, with €1.5 billion coming from the EU directly.

South Korea Aims High on AI, Pumps $2 Billion Into R&D | Medium

South Korea released an ambitious national plan to invest ₩2.2 trillion (US$2 billion) by 2022 to strengthen its AI R&D capability. The program includes the establishment of six new AI research institutes. The pressure comes from China and its aggressive plan to build an AI industry worth US$150 billion by 2030

How China Leapfrogged Ahead of the United States in the Fintech Race |

Tencent and Alibaba’s Ant Financial expanded into financial services like lending and asset management only after online payments were well entrenched. One key lesson from China’s experience is that these changes do not occur overnight. It took years to develop this infrastructure and for enough consumers to trust Internet companies with aspects of their financial lives. But perhaps most importantly, fintech innovation came about because a few companies would not accept missing pieces of their environment as a given. They built new, more efficient systems rather than waiting for incumbents to do it for them.

Why China’s Payment Apps Give U.S. Bankers Nightmares | Bloomberg

Alipay and WeChat have since swelled in popularity, boasting 520 million and 1 billion monthly active users, respectively. Consumers sent more than $2.9 trillion inside the two systems in 2016, equivalent to about half of all consumer goods sold in China, according to the payments consultancy Aite Group. For now, no company in the U.S. commands the kind of clout that Alipay and WeChat wield back home. Instead, everyone is trying to replicate their success.

Ant Financial valued above Goldman Sachs after $14bn funding | Irish Times

Ant Financial Services Group, operator of China’s biggest online payment platform, on Friday said it raised around $14 billion in what market watchers called the biggest-ever single fundraising globally by a private company.

Alipay launches in 20 European countries in 2018 |

Alipay, the biggest payments firm of China, will be available in 20 countries across Europe at the end of this year. The mobile payment platform is said to have signed deals with over 100 banks and 40 digital wallets companies in Europe.

And finally an interesting video from CogX event this year with a talk given by Alan Yui, VP and Chief Data Scientist at Ant Financial on stage. It gives you a glimpse why AI is at the core of their technology stack – and how the use this to deliver innovative products .