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China is leading new round of technological revolution: Nobel Prize winner

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-01-16 13:59
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JERUSALEM - China has strong brains, resources, economy and wise decision makers, and the country is able to lead the new round of technological revolution and in fact is now playing a leading role, said Dan Shechtman, the 2011 Nobel Prize winner in chemistry, in a recent exclusive interview with Xinhua.

Artificial intelligence (AI), cyber security, genetic engineering and quantum technologies, etc. are all viewed as main representative high technologies in the current new round of technological revolution. China is making great efforts and huge investment on the development of these high technologies, said Shechtman.

The Nobel Prize winner attended the World Internet Conference held in east China's Zhejiang Province in early December last year and he was deeply impressed that there were so many industry leaders participating in the conference and held deep talks with Chinese partners.

When talking about the AI, which is being developed as one of major high technologies in the new round of technological revolution and is attracting great attention for development, Shechtman said there is great progress and machines that now can do very precisely what people tell them to do.

In the next stage, the AI technology will not only enable more interactions between human beings and machines, but also enable a machine robot to think independently on human destruction, Shechtman added.

Autonomous driving is currently viewed as an important implication for the AI technology. Almost the world's all automobile giants are doing R&D on the technology. In Israel alone, named "the Nation of Start-ups," some 450 Israeli start-up companies are currently working on smart mobility solutions for vehicles, and Innoviz and Mobileye are two outstanding examples in the field.

Shechtman believed that China will be one of the first countries to facilitate autonomous driving for experiments and enable autonomous vehicles running on the road.

As for the quantum technology, Shechtman said "it is very difficult to work on the quantum technology, but the benefit is amazing. That is why now many countries such as the United States, European countries, China and Israel as well, are devoting their resources to the quantum technology."

Quantum technology in general will develop rapidly in the next 5-10 years, Shechtman predicted. "We will have quantum computing and quantum measurements, and the quantum technology will be in an explosion."

Israel invests in almost every line of technology and especially Israel is strong in cyber security with good expert teams mainly in cyber defense, said Shechtman.

The cyber security technology is now used in both civilian and military sectors in Israel, and more than 400 hi-tech start-ups are being operated in the sector in the country. Nowadays when everything is connected through the internet and big data, cyber security is believed to continue to be the major battlefield for the development of high technologies.

With regard to genetic engineering, Shechtman said Israel is starting to understand the real causes for cancer and other diseases, thanks to the development in deciphering or analyzing the human genome.

"Based on this, the medication will be subscribed to an individual based in his special genomic characteristics," he said. "There will be great hope to have personal medicine."

Great concerns are always focused on the applications and impacts over human beings with the technological revolution.

"People will live longer because we will understand the source of the disease based on the individual buildup of his or her body and then we will be able to postpone the end of our lives by better medicine, better treatments and other means," Shechtman noted.

Quantum computing, analysis and measurements will help advance many aspects of people's lives, and everything will be done faster and more accurately, he added.

People will understand better and better the human brain, communicate better with each other, and have safer roads as well with the development of these high technologies, Shechtman deemed.

In the eyes of Shechtman, there are two key factors pushing forward the development of high technologies. One is resources such as capital and infrastructures, and the other, also the most important, is the brains of the people with innovative and free thinking.

Thus, Shechtman, who has persisted in teaching the technological entrepreneurship class in Israel Institute of Technology (Technion) for 30 years, said education is vitally important to foster talents for technological innovation. "In order to develop human ingenuity, we need to invest a lot in education, which is a main issue in the long turn not only for next 5 years but for the next 100 years."

When asked about any other new technologies likely to emerge in the future 5-10 years, Shechtman said "it is very difficult to predict developments because new developments are based on new discoveries, and we can not predict discoveries."

"We can predict technological evolution, but we cannot predict revolution," he emphasized.

"Anybody who can pay for new technology will benefit," Shechtman added. He also called for collaboration among different countries to promote the hi-tech development because each country can only be one part of the world's science.

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