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Shanghai hosts 2024 WAIC to champion AI Innovation, governance, talent attraction

By Lin Shujuan in Shanghai | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2024-06-21 13:21

High-rises dominate the skyline on both sides of the Huangpu River in Shanghai. [Photo by Gao Erqiang/China Daily]

As the host city of the 2024 World Artificial Intelligence Conference and High-Level Meeting for Global AI Governance, Shanghai is set to present the city's trajectory as a global epicenter of AI innovation and showcase its innovative solutions to steering the AI landscape toward responsible and sustainable growth through the event, scheduled from July 4 to July 7.

Co-hosted by nine ministries and national agencies in collaboration with the Shanghai municipal government, the four-day event stands as a premier platform for deliberating on the latest breakthroughs, hurdles, and prospects in the realm of artificial intelligence, according to a news conference by the event organizers in Shanghai on June 20.

Themed "Governing AI for Good and for All," the conference promises a dynamic agenda spread across four days, encompassing forums, exhibitions, awards ceremonies, and interactive engagements.

The conference will be not only a comprehensive showcase of cutting-edge AI technologies and applications on a global scale but also a platform for promoting values of collaboration, sharing, good governance, and wisdom on the international stage, said Zhang Ying from the Shanghai Commission of Economy and Informatization at the news conference.

As the governance of artificial intelligence is a focal point of discussion at the conference, Shanghai, which has been actively exploring governance initiatives, hopes to contribute its innovation solutions, Zhang said.

Zhang emphasized that openness has always been Shanghai's greatest advantage. The city has pioneered the establishment of an AI Ethics Expert Committee, experimenting with tiered governance and sandbox supervision to set up safety barriers for the benevolent development of AI. Shanghai is also striving to promote institutional openness in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, drawing on international experiences to jointly research the ethical and governance frameworks for AI technologies, Zhang said.

"These efforts aim to consolidate governance consensus and propel global cooperation and dialogue on AI governance," she said.

In addition, Zhang said the conference will also serve as a platform for attracting innovative talent to Shanghai, which, recognizing the transformative potential of AI, has solidified its standing as a premier hub for AI research and development.

By leveraging its strategic positioning and cutting-edge infrastructure, Shanghai has actively nurtured a vibrant AI ecosystem, attracting a burgeoning number of AI-focused enterprises that have formed an AI sector with a valuation exceeding 380 billion yuan ($52.34 billion), positioning it at the vanguard of the national AI landscape.

Shanghai's pioneering initiatives include the establishment of the Modal Innovation Center, the country's inaugural innovation ecosystem dedicated to large language models. The center has attracted more than 80 major model enterprises with its comprehensive suite of services. Presently, the city boasts 34 registered large language models, with applications spanning industries such as manufacturing, finance, and robotics.

Moreover, the city's strides in humanoid robot development have garnered substantial acclaim, with the unveiling of several versatile humanoid robot prototypes adept at bipedal obstacle circumvention.

Currently, Shanghai hosts a collective of 250,000 AI professionals, underscoring its magnetism as a beacon for AI expertise.

"Shanghai extends a warm welcome to outstanding talents and innovative teams to choose and establish roots in the city, promising to provide the optimal environment and the best stage for showcasing their talents," Zhang said.

Luo Bin contributed to this story.

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