Dutch- Stage bij het Nederlandse Consulaat-Generaal te Shanghai

Het Nederlands Consulaat-Generaal te Shanghai (Innovatie Attaché Netwerk) is op zoek naar een stagiaire voor een periode van 4-5 maanden, beginnend in de eerste week van maart 2018. Volg je een universitaire opleiding en ben je op zoek naar een stage waarmee je resultaten kunt bereiken? Zoek je een stage waarbij je tegelijkertijd je horizon én je netwerk kunt verbreden?

Achtergrond

Het Innovatie Attaché (IA) Netwerk (in het Engels; Holland Innovation Network) zet zich in voor de versterking van de Nederlandse concurrentiekracht op de langere termijn d.m.v. wetenschappelijke en technologische samenwerking. Het IA-netwerk in China vertegenwoordigt de innovatieve sectoren van Nederland en informeert Nederland over trends, ontwikkelingen en kansen in China. Er wordt veel samengewerkt met bedrijven, universiteiten, kennisinstituten en overheidsinstanties vanuit onze vestigingen in Beijing, Shanghai en Guangzhou.

Werkomgeving

Het Nederlandse Consulaat-Generaal in Shanghai behartigt de belangen van Nederlanders en Nederlandse bedrijven/organisaties uit verschillende sectoren (hightech, chemie, energie, agricultuur etc.) in Shanghai en omliggende provincies. Door de toegenomen relevantie van China in de mondiale kenniseconomie is wetenschap en technologie een belangrijk deel van de activiteiten van het Consulaat-Generaal.

Stageomschrijving

In de lente van 2018 zal een automotive missie worden georganiseerd in het kielzog van ministerieel bezoek aan China met een focus op New Energy Vehicles (NEV) en Intelligent Connected Vehicles (ICV). Daarnaast zal tijdens CES Asia een delegatie van start-ups worden verwelkomd op het Holland Pavillion. We zoeken een stagiaire die kan helpen bij de organisatie en promotie van evenementen en gerelateerde activiteiten.

Daarnaast zal de stagiair zich bezighouden met de dagelijkse werkzaamheden van het IA-netwerk; het in kaart brengen van de relevante netwerken en kansen op het gebied van R&D, in diverse sectoren gerelateerd aan innovatie, technologie en/of wetenschap bijvoorbeeld binnen. De intentie is om activiteiten op life science gebied verder te ontwikkelen

Profiel van de stagiair(e)

 Van de stagiair(e) wordt flexibiliteit en improvisatietalent verwacht. Je dient na een korte introductieperiode in staat te zijn redelijk zelfstandig te functioneren. Idealiter heb je een technische opleiding en affiniteit met China. Je hebt een ondernemende geest en legt gemakkelijk contacten. Je bent je bewust van de openbare rol van een Consulaat-Generaal.

Verder:

  • Ben je de gehele duur van de stage beschikbaar.
  • Bezit je een uitstekende beheersing van zowel de Nederlandse als Engelse taal. Kennis van het Mandarijn is een pre.
  • Affiniteit met start-ups, de automobiel industrie en/of life science is een pre.
  • Je bezit de Nederlandse nationaliteit.
  • Je volgt een universitaire opleiding bij een erkende onderwijsinstelling (nationaal of internationaal).
  • Je staat gedurende de gehele duur van de stage ingeschreven.

Wat bieden wij

Het Nederlandse Consulaat-Generaal in Shanghai biedt een uitdagende, leerzame en veelzijdige stage, waarbij je snel eigen verantwoordelijkheden kunt verwachten en een groot netwerk op kunt bouwen.

Huidige stagiair: “Tijdens de stage kom je veel te weten over de nieuwste technologische ontwikkelingen, werk je met innovatieve bedrijven in de regio en bouw je unieke ervaring op met zakendoen in China”.

Voorwaarden en vergoedingen

Algemene voorwaarden en vergoedingen. Het betreft een voltijdaanstelling (40 uur per week) voor een periode van vier tot vijf maanden.

Meer weten en/of solliciteren

Stuur je CV en een motivatiebrief naar shanghai@hollandinnovation.cn. Een aantal kandidaten zal worden uitgenodigd voor een Skypegesprek.

Meer informatie is te vinden op onze website: www.hollandinnovation.cn. Mocht je vragen hebben dan kan je David Bekkers, Bart van Hezewijk en/of Anouk van der Steen bereiken via shanghai@hollandinnovation.cn.

De deadline van reageren is 13 december 2017.

Dutch Eurosider China secures large technology order with First Automotive Works

FAW Group Corporation and the Dutch company Eurosider (Tianjin) Coating Technology Co., Ltd. have agreed on a long term-collaboration. The collaboration involves the upgrading of FAW’s production plants with efficient and environmental coating technologies. The upgraded production lines are expected to be fully operational in 2018 prior to Chinese New Year. The upgrading program involves amongst other the application of Nitrotherm equipment, a unique application with Globally Patented that applies which applies conditioned nitrogen as the carrier for spray-coating operations. This application not only leads to substantial savings in paint and time, but also improves quality, reduces harmful VOC’s emissions and enhances overall operating stability.

The first step involves the purchase of 18 Nitrotherm units for FAW’s truck production plants. The signing of the contract was carried out by FAW representatives and Eurosider China’s board director Albert van Lawick van Pabst in the presence of Eurosider China’s General Manager Hao Haibo and several representatives from FAW’s technology purchase departments. For FAW the decision to work with Eurosider China is part of its commitment to continuous green innovation, ongoing streamlining of its production efficiency and quality improvements. The company aims to spread the efficiency improvements achieved with Nitrotherm to other FAW-operations such as car-manufacturing. For Eurosider China – says General Manager Hao Haibo – the contract with FAW represents the next step of its aim to become the leading efficient spray painting solution provider to China’s booming automotive and vehicle sector. Eurosider is already serving leading brands all over China in the segments car manufacturing, interior & exterior car component suppliers, bumper molding companies, car-lighting makers, composite manufacturers, & consumer electronics.

Chemistry Delegation

A delegation of three public-private partnership consortia with a focus on Chemistry visited Beijing and Shanghai 13-16 November. The aim of the participants was too look for ways to set up strategic collaboration with top notch researchers in China, as well as innovative companies. The mission was led by the Dutch Top Sector Chemistry, and organized by IA China. The three consortia were the established Advanced Research Center Chemical Building Blocks Consortium (ARC CBBC), and ARC initiatives Soft Advanced Materials (ARC SAM) and ARC GoChem.

Two seminars were hosted by the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Organic Chemistry in Shanghai (CAS SIOC), and CAS Institute of Chemistry in Beijing (ICCAS). Next to that a number of visits to universities were organized.

 

At SIOC

At ICCAS

 

Brain-inspired Artificial Intelligence in China

Future world supplier of AI products

Saudi Arabia is rich in oil and is able to supply a large part of the world’s demand. Similarly, China has the potential to become the world largest supplier of artificial intelligence products. Consider the inputs needed for artificial intelligence: access to capital, cheap, easy to get (cloud) computing power, a large pool of university-trained IT specialists and above all lots and lots of data. China has it all. Especially the wealth of data is striking. China has 750 million mobile internet users eager to experiment and explore the possibilities that a connected life offers. Most of them use apps belonging to the three largest ecosystems: Tencent, Alibaba and Baidu. Also the government and public services are avid collectors of information.

China invests heavily in the development of AI technologies and products, with good reason given the societal challenges it faces. The country has a population ageing at an unprecedented rate even while it’s education system is struggling to train young people to the level and skills needed. China is a middle income country with the incidence of non-transmittable diseases of a rich one, especially life-style related diseases. It is a rapidly urbanizing society, but it struggles to keep people and goods moving in its cities. AI can play a role in meeting these challenges, for instance with better diagnosis and following of a patient’s or elderly person’s behaviour. China expects AI technology to play an important role in the country’s industrial development as well. It aims to be an smart industry and intelligent vehicle superpower by 2025, for instance.

The Chinese government is creating a policy framework to foster a healthy environment for AI development. The main building block is a national AI policy paper with specific development goals for the next 15 years.

According to the plan, China is to match the world leaders in AI technology and applications by 2020, to make major breakthroughs in AI theoretical research by 2025 and to become a “premier global AI innovation center” by 2030. The value of China’s AI industry is expected to exceed 150 billion RMB (20 billion Euro) by 2020 and reach 1 trillion by 2030.

Part of this plan consists of “National Key AI projects”, large-scale research projects aimed at developing enabling technologies. These focus on big data, cloud computing, robotics, brain-inspired AI, quantum-accelerated machine learning, quantum telecommunication and brain sciences. In parallel the government is taking measures to mitigate the impact of AI on the labor market as well as addressing the legal and ethical challenges this new disruptive technology implies.

China’s is the world’s biggest producer of scientific publications on AI in the period from 2007-2016[1], appearing on 26% (compared to an average of 15% across all science fields) of the world’s publications and accounts for 23% of the world’s patents in AI[2]. In terms of quality of AI science, China is on a par with the world average[3], with local hotspots where scientific quality is comparable with or better than the West. One of these is brain-inspired intelligence.

Nature knows best

From a technological point of view, brain-inspired AI is one of the most exciting areas within AI. Essentially a biomimetic science, the subfield draws from knowledge about how our brain works to construct better working AI systems for specific purposes. It tries to translate results of neurosciences, where knowledge has often been obtained with the goal of curing diseases in mind, to useful computer programs or hardware.

The most popular applications of brain-inspired AI nowadays are neural and deep neural networks, with prominent examples like Deep Mind (Alphabet/Google), and reinforcement learning, having shown its worth in many applications for AI.

Brain-inspired AI is particularly strong in complex, non-linear environments. Once properly trained, a brain-inspired AI system can also be very attentive – meaning that it can very quickly select the most important information from a huge stream of input signals. Weaknesses of such systems are that they require a lot of data and computing power to learn, and because of their flexible nature offer little insight in underlying processes. It is therefore no surprise that systems like these are used in application where plenty of complex data is available, and the output can be rather fuzzy, such as in image recognition and natural language processing. Next to that, simulating brains at different scales can be necessary for self-organizing systems with many functions.

In brain-inspired AI, China is world leading in numbers of scientific publications and patents. Chinese affiliations appear on 28% of all scientific publications and the Chinese jurisdiction accounts for 48% of all patent applications worldwide from 2007-2016. These numbers highlight brain-inspired AI has a special focus within China. Table 1 and 2 display the largest scientific institutions and Chinese jurisdiction patent applicants in the same period[4].

The prevalence of universities among the patent applicants shows that this field is still very much academic in China, but is heading towards applications fast. The Research Centre for Brain-inspired Intelligence under the Institute of Automation of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) is one of the hubs from where this will most likely happen. See the interview with prof. Zeng Yi for more information on their activities.

Interview Prof. Zeng Yi 

Vice Director Research Center for Brain-inspired Intelligence, Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

What do you hope brain inspired AI will bring in the future?

Most efforts on Brain-inspired AI in the world focus on a better learning system. While brain-inspired learning is of course important, it is not the whole story. My ultimate goal for Brain-inspired AI is to build a Brain-inspired Cognitive Engine (BrainCog) for future machine and robots. BrainCog should enable intelligent machines to have various cognitive functions (at least 150 cognitive abilities at different scales) and autonomously coordinate in a self-organized way. In addition, it should enable future robots to be living conscious individuals in our society.

What are the biggest advantages compared to general AI?

Brain-inspired AI aims at realizing artificial general intelligence through building an intelligent model inspired by the brain from the structure and working principles perspectives. Most of the current AI models focus on building a model to fit a certain type of task or even dataset, not really on building biologically realistic AI models. To me, Brain-inspired AI is seeking to realize intelligence through computationally reverse engineering the brain and mind from some perspectives, and try to make an even better conscious brain for robots.

What do you see as the biggest challenges?

There are many grand challenges. Currently, a major question is how to self-organize more than 100 cognitive functions to solve very different kinds of problems. Next, and this seems to be philosophical but is actually very practical, can we realize a truly conscious robot, and in which way can we ensure the robot is conscious? What is the difference between conscious and unconscious robots? Last but not least, with a brain-inspired cognitive engine, can a robot really be living in our society, instead of just existing?

How are you cooperating with companies?

I am interested in deploying our brain-inspired models for various kinds of robots, especially social robots and service robots. I am also seeking for collaborators who are visionary to build truly conscious robots.

Who do you work with internationally?

We have collaborators at Allen Institute for Brain Sciences (USA). We also have long collaboration history with the knowledge representation and reasoning group in Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, led by Prof.Dr. Frank van Harmelen. We would be very happy to develop potential collaborations with Universities and Institutions from the Netherlands.

First applications

Brain-inspired AI like neural networks have already led to a number of successful commercial applications in China.

Face recognition technology is now accurate enough for commercial use in China. Face++ has technology that can authorize payment using only face as credentials through Alipay (a popular mobile payment app developed by Alibaba). Jingdong, another e-commerce giant, is testing this convenient “show your face only” payment method in several offline shops in Beijing. Apart from secure and convenient payment, face recognition technology are developed also for surveillance purposes. The police can use the system to identify suspected criminals in video captured by surveillance cameras. Chinese search engine Baidu is working on applications that provide tourists access to tourist destinations without a ticket but by scanning and matching faces.

Another group of Chinese AI companies are specialized in intelligent speech and language technology. iFlyTek is leading in areas of speech recognition and text to speech conversion. The technology is used in popular personal assistance services (similar to Apple’s Siri). iFlyTek also developed an intelligent speaker called Dingdong. By talking to it, one can easily control smart devices at home, in a similar fashion to Google Home.

Baidu also tries to advance AI technologies with its tremendous data collection and data processing power. Last month, the company’s driverless car was tested in full autonomous driving mode under mixed road conditions in Beijing. Backed by machine learning technology and vast amounts of data, it succeeded in several challenging maneuvers including U-turns, changing lanes and joining the traffic from a ramp. This car is said to be available on the consumer market as early as 2020.

Opportunities and threats for the Netherlands

Data has been one of the most important elements for commercial AI. Tremendous amounts of raw data are created every day in China. Access to data has been relatively easy. The Chinese people are less concerned about privacy issues. Often, they are not fully aware of how data carrying their personal information are used and for what purpose.

Easy access to raw data in China can be an opportunity for the Dutch AI research and technology developers. But sometimes it isn’t as easy as it seems. A big portion of data is created by consumer electronics, such as people’s mobile devices. Such data is gathered by the big companies that developed the mobile apps or online platforms. The way personal and financial data, purchasing behaviour, whereabouts and much more can be retrieved from a single app such as Tencent’s multipurpose chat app WeChat is unmatched in the West. It is hard to get access to such data, and even harder to compete against it.

Another significant part of data is in the hands of the government, where it is often kept confidential. Examples are advanced demographic, economical, meteorological, water and soil, and remote sensing data. The recent digital policy of China advocates for cross-sector data sharing within different government agencies and with the public. How much AI players can benefit from such a policy still remains to be seen.

The recently published Chinese Cyber Security Law has imposed strict rules on cross-border data flow, data localization, and approvals required for companies handling significant amounts of consumer data (in short, data created in China shall stay in China). These rules apply both to domestic and to foreign companies, which might cause complications for joint AI R&D activities with and in China. The Netherlands needs to keep a close eye on the development of China’s data policy, complying in a way doesn’t compromise the Dutch party’s interests.

China is determined to lead the world in AI. Both private sector and the government invest significantly. Big internet companies and startups have a large consumer market at their disposal of open-minded Chinese people who are used to constantly embracing new technologies and the convenience they bring, and less concerned about privacy. Next to that, China has the big advantage of a well-protected abundance of data and a well-trained research staff. In such a situation, it makes sense to join forces with Chinese partners as opposed to setting up shop independently in China. Even outside of China, it is likely that Chinese parties will increasingly leave their mark in various applications of AI, and in areas such as brain-inspired AI.

 

[1] From Elsevier’s scientific publication database Scopus.

[2] Lens.org, categories under G06 computing, calculating, counting: G06F: electrical digital data processing and G06N: computer system based on specific computational models, G06K: recognition of data, G06M: counting mechanisms, G06T: image data processing.

[3] See CWTS Leiden Ranking, % of papers among top 10% most cited for whole China.

[4] For scientific publications: All publications in Scopus within AI and computer theory categories where author provided keywords brain, neur-, synap-, cortex are present. For patents, lens.org category G06N3: artificial intelligence based on biological models was used. *- estimation based on including unclassified CAS and State Key Labs publications linearly distributed according to classified amounts.