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A Global Smart-City Competition Highlights China's Rise in AI


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Artificial intelligence identifying, and watching, cars on the road.

Last week, Chinese tech giants Alibaba and Baidu swept the AI City Challenge, an international competition created to encourage the development of artificial intelligence for real-world scenarios.

Credit: Getty Images

Four years ago, organizers created the international AI City Challenge to spur the development of artificial intelligence for real-world scenarios like counting cars traveling through intersections or spotting accidents on freeways.

In the first years, teams representing American companies or universities took top spots in the competition. Last year, Chinese companies won three out of four competitions.

Last week, Chinese tech giants Alibaba and Baidu swept the AI City Challenge, beating competitors from nearly 40 nations. Chinese companies or universities took first and second place in all five categories. TikTok creator ByteDance took second place in a competition to identify car accidents or stalled vehicles from freeway videofeeds.

The results reflect years of investment by the Chinese government in smart cities. Hundreds of Chinese cities have pilot programs, and by some estimates, China has half of the world's smart cities. The spread of edge computing, cameras, and sensors using 5G wireless connections is expected to accelerate use of smart-city and surveillance technology.

From Wired
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