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China gets biometric edge in AI industry

By Fan Feifei | China Daily | Updated: 2017-01-12 08:24

Biometric identification, the automatic recognition of individuals based on their physiological and behavioral characteristics, is at the heart of the artificial intelligence industry.

The technology that allows identification through fingerprints, palms, the face and the eye scan prevent fraud, enhance security and help prevent identity theft.

At present, China is at the forefront of biometric identification technology, especially in the field of speech recognition, which accounts for about 60 percent of China's AI venture capital investment, while visual recognition takes up 12.5 percent.

Traditional industries will become the biggest beneficiaries of AI applications. AI technologies have been widely applied in healthcare, industry, agriculture, finance, business, education and security, according to industry research company International Data Corp.

At present, AI technology is more advanced in the fields of finance, retail, healthcare and smart cities. The technology has exerted a profound effect on innovation in these sectors.

IDC also estimated that the widespread adoption of cognitive systems and AI across a broad range of industries will drive worldwide revenues from nearly $8 billion in 2016 to more than $47 billion in 2020.

The market for cognitive/AI solutions is expected to experience a compound annual growth rate of 55.1 percent from 2016 to 2020.

Tech companies such as Facebook Inc, Google Inc and Microsoft Corp and domestic internet giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd have already tapped into the AI field.

According to iResearch Consulting Group, the worldwide AI market reached about 48.4 billion yuan ($7 billion) in 2015. It is estimated that China's AI market will reach 9.1 billion yuan by 2020.

Although the explosive growth of AI relies on more data, faster hardware and better algorithms, its success needs to be tested by commercialization. So the exploitation of application scenarios is a significant factor.

Wang Yue, senior research manager at IDC China, said: "We have entered an AI era and will see huge changes to society and the economy as a result of AI."

Wang added that AI companies must boost cooperation and work together, and the technology is to gain popularity among ordinary people in the future.

"Both the high-tech or traditional products will be embedded with AI technology. The AI Plus will drive the new round of economic development after Internet Plus."

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