New AI-powered park opens in Beijing

Baidu teams up with local government in Beijing's Haidian district to co-build a new AI park in an effort to build a smart city and solidify China's place as global AI leader


A new AI park has opened in Chinese capital Beijing, co-built by local government in the Haidian district and tech giant Baidu, as Beijing looks to cement its place as the global hub for tech innovation and, in particular, a leader in AI development.

The smart park, powered by AI technologies, includes such attractions as AR Tai Chi lessons, smart walkways tracking steps using facial recognition software, fully automated shuttle buses, smart lamp posts that record exercise data and intelligent pavilions utilizing Baidu's DuerOS AI assistant.

Opened on November 1, the park is located in Haidian Park, northwest of the city in Beijing's Haidian district, an area which is home to China's biggest tech companies. This district contains Zhongguancun, China's answer to the "Silicon Valley", which is filled with a number of tech giants and unicorns.

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Last week, Lenovo became the latest tech heavyweight to move its headquarters to the Haidian region.

The park represents China's attempts to make Beijing, with a particular focus on the Haidian region, a smart city and to ensure that AI is more accessible for the country overall.

"Everyone can AI," Pei Haodong, a spokesperson for Baidu told The Global Times, adding that Baidu wants the park to lead other urban parks into the future and bring AI closer to everyday life.

Toward the end of 2017, the country announced it was embarking on an unprecedented and aggressive effort to master AI in an attempt to be the global leader by 2030, fortifying its position as the dominant global economic power. However, it has recently softened its stance on AI and this move to make the technology publicly available to its population reflects that.

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