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Tech forum highlights China's sci-tech progress, commitment to openness, cooperation

Updated: May 9, 2024 Source: Belt and Road Portal
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A woman walks past an art installation at the Zhongguancun International Innovation Center, venue for the 2024 Zhongguancun Forum (ZGC Forum) Annual Conference, in Beijing, capital of China, April 25, 2024. (Xinhua/Ren Chao)

The 2024 Zhongguancun Forum (ZGC Forum) Annual Conference, which closed on April 29, saw China's strides in science and technology, underlining its continued commitment to openness and cooperation.

Themed "Innovating for a Better World," the five-day forum attracted scientists, entrepreneurs and investors from over 100 countries and regions, and held nearly 120 events such as conferences, technology transactions and competitions.

-- Cutting-edge technologies

At the ZGC Forum, Vidu, a text-to-video large artificial intelligence (AI) model capable of creating a 16-second, high-definition video in 1080p resolution with a single click, debuted in Beijing. The China-developed large AI model is able to simulate the real world as well as generate content based on imagination, featuring "extended duration, exceptional consistency and dynamic capabilities."

Since AI is an important issue for this annual conference, the forum specially set April 27 as the AI-themed day, with all events on that day focusing on cutting-edge hot topics such as large models, embodied intelligence, and trustworthy AI.

It has been a consensus reached by the academia and the industry that the future development of large models will occur on the credibility, security, intelligence and economy of large models. The future ecology of large models may include model training, database, knowledge base, and agent platforms. Therefore, the way to establish a high-efficiency and high-performance data system is very critical, said E Weinan, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and a professor at Peking University.

Besides, the event also featured a number of sessions for "idea exchange" and "debuts" for cutting-edge technologies and products, concerning high-end chips, metaverse, and humanoid robots.

-- Sci-tech commercialization

The commercialization of scientific technologies is a key link of scientific innovation. According to Aaron Ciechanover, an Israeli biologist who won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry, over 80 percent of technologies are produced in universities, while sci-tech commercialization is a worldwide challenge. Barriers such as intellectual property and benefits allocation need to be overcome to make technologies beneficial to the society.

In this regard, the forum for the first time organized commercialization-themed conference in a university, to gather representatives from research institutes and enterprises, strengthening the new mode involving various stakeholders, such as universities, enterprises and governments.

The conference of commercialization is only part of the forum's efforts to highlight sharing and commercialization of technologies. This year, the forum also held themed events such as international technology transaction fair and cutting-edge technology competition, providing platforms for trading and sharing for over 3,000 technologies from about 40 countries.

Located in northwestern Beijing, Zhongguancun houses more than 17,000 national high-tech enterprises. It is China's first national high-tech industrial development zone and is known as "China's Silicon Valley."

Relying on Zhongguancun as the main arena, Beijing is making great efforts to build a powerhouse of technology commercialization and trading by establishing comprehensive communication and cooperation platform and building ecological circle of technology trading.

In 2023, Beijing saw breakthroughs both in the number of technology contracts and transaction volume. The city recognized and registered 106,552 technology contracts, an increase of 12.1 percent over the previous year, with the transaction volume reaching 853.69 billion yuan (about 118.16 billion U.S. dollars), an increase of 7.4 percent year on year.

-- Technology for the world

With a new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation, the world needs international cooperation and open sharing more than ever before, to solve the common issue of development.

Open cooperation and shared future are the key words of this year's session of ZGC Forum, which brought Chinese and foreign guests from more than 100 countries and regions together to discuss topics, including artificial intelligence, brain-computer interfaces, blockchain and privacy computing, data security governance and development, global health and development, and carbon peak and carbon neutrality, global intellectual property protection and innovation.

This year's forum saw extensive participation from international community, with over 50 percent of foreign speakers in various sessions and over 40 percent of international projects in the cutting-edge technology competition.

Piero Scaruffi, president of the Silicon Valley Institute of Artificial Intelligence, said that the annual meeting of the Zhongguancun Forum demonstrated a crucial "international spirit" and created an interdisciplinary and interprofessional communication channel for guests from academia, politics and etc.

This year's forum also for the first time organized field trips for tech diplomats and held key country technology trade matchmaking conferences, to further promote international science and technology exchanges and cooperation, and transnational project transactions.

"International cooperation is not an option, but a necessity," said Mustafa Shenhu, president of the World Federation of Engineering Organizations, proposing that more creativity and technology should be translated into practical solutions, not only for the present, but also for the future.

(Edited by Li Shimeng with Xinhua Silk Road, lishimeng@xinhua.org)

Editor: Yang Yifan