Beihang University could soon build a Chinese 'David' android from Aliens
David is an android in the film series 'Aliens'. Source: Twitter/@cineenserio

As China embarks on an ambitious agenda to be the world leader in Artificial Intelligence (AI), its first batch of graduate students majoring in AI started classes on Thursday, official press agency of the People’s Republic Xinhua reported.

120 graduate students at the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, now known as Beihang University, will be trained by both faculty and AI-related companies, where students are required to intern at for at least one year.

They will be studying cognitive science, visual perception, unmanned systems and robotics at the public research university located in the country’s capital, which focuses heavily on high level technological and scientific research. These will either be taught on campus or in company labs and beside production lines.

During their internship with one of the participating companies, students have to take part in project research and development.

An overwhelming portion of the teachers (90 percent) have experience or education related to AI obtained overseas.

Ambitious agenda

Cultivating talent is marked as a critical part of the country’s ambitious agenda to lead the world in AI.

The Diplomat reported that China’s State Council late July unveiled the “Next Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan”, which shows the country’s ambition to pursue a “first-mover advantage” to become the “premier global AI innovation center”. The agenda has three aims – addressing key problems in research and development, pursuing a range of products and applications, and building an AI industry – in its bid to surpass the US in this field.

The country seeks to build talent at home as well as drawing talent from around the world concurrently, through encouraging cooperation between domestic AI companies and leading foreign universities, research institutes, and teams.

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