ai forum

Insider London was delighted to be invited to the recent AI Forum, “Gateway to China: the Future of Innovation in Artificial Intelligence”. We were invited by our good friend Helen Wang from BGTA. The event was held in Cambridge’s Clare College and even before entering the event location it was exciting to see Giles Gilbert Scott’s library. People who visit Tate Modern (or come on our Modern Architecture tour) would have no difficulty in recognising the architectural style as it has a ‘mini’ Tate Modern quality.

Cambridge Library

This afternoon event was chaired by Professor Alan Barrell who is a director of Cambridge Innovation Academy (CIA) and has years of experience with technology and business. Professor Barrell has also visited China on numerous occasions and was well aware of what the market can offer UK based companies.

The keynote speech came from Mr Lu Sen, Deputy Director Shanghai Development Research Centre of Economy and Informatization. He explained the current state of play regarding the technology developments in Shanghai and the vision the city has for AI and invited companies to join the AIWIN challenge at the AI World Conference in Shanghai in August. AIWIN attracts AI talent and companies around the world to jointly build artificial intelligence in Shanghai and given that the conference attracted 200,000 visitors last year it feels like an unmissable event for everyone involved in the AI sector

A panel discussion explored different aspects of the AI market with particular attention paid to how best to approach the Chinese market. It was interesting to hear from Jeremy Sosabowski (co-founder of AlgoDynamix) and his experiences of setting up in Hong Kong and the issues around then moving to China. The panellists from China including Helen Wang and Shanghai Morrow CEO Janice Liu, were convinced that the Chinese market offers huge potential but explained that it is essential that UK companies will need to develop contacts in China if they are to realise that potential.

Shanghai is currently focusing on four areas for AI development: transport, healthcare, education and mobility. One of the most alluring aspects of this market is to be given access to the data sets available in Shanghai and there is clearly a great deal of effort being put in to attracting the very best startups to Shanghai.

The afternoon was concluded with short presentations by the MP for Cambridge, Daniel Zeichner and the leader of Cambridge City Council, Lewis Herbert. The fact that these local dignitaries turned up the day after council elections that kept them up till the small hours was testament to how seriously they take the concept of collaboration between Cambridge (and the UK) and Shanghai (and China).

This was an excellent forum with a fascinating array of delegates from across the AI sector. It is undeniable that the UK (and London in particular) represents one of the leading centres of AI development and that entry to the Chinese market is and will continue to be one of the most dynamic in the world.