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AIR News|Tsinghua Professor Ma Weiying: China with its Favorable Condition Could Overtake the US in Smart Healthcare

Source:       Time:2021-02-06

Few countries or regions can mobilize and coordinate these resources and make them work in a sustainable cycle that iterates fast. China is indeed capable of that and could even overtake the US in this sense.

This is a century of AI and life sciences. The two disciplines are growing ever more connected on their track of development, with smart healthcare aspiring to develop interdisciplinary AI talents. So, how is interdisciplinarity going to move science forward? What industrial development is to be expected in this area? To what extent is China in a favorable condition for such development? On “Dialogue with the Future: Trans-Pacific Future Forum 2020” held by Phoenix TV and, Tsinghua AIR’s Chief Scientist and Chair Professor Ma Weiying and《知识分子》(Intellectuals) Editor-in-Chief Lu Bai gave their answers.

Professor Ma believes that in smart healthcare lies opportunities for China-US cooperation. As its new national policy enables the mobilization of resources from hospitals, companies in pharmaceuticals and genetic sequencing, and the biochemistry field, China holds huge advantages in this field, and is likely to get ahead of the US.

Professor Lu agrees with Professor Ma that interdisciplinarity is the primary engine of scientific progress, and adds that China’s centralized data propel the development of AI.

Following is a transcript from the forum:

Professor Ma:My research at AIR is in three fields, and one of them is smart healthcare. The aim is to develop next-generation interdisciplinary talents in AI who will forge in-depth cooperation with these domain experts. This is the most exciting opportunity right now and will definitely deliver tremendous industrial progress in the next decade. I feel glad discussing with Professor Lu recently, which is really inspiring. I believe China is in a favorable condition for this.

An important reason is that China has moved it to a national level. Smart healthcare is more like a public domain, instead of a simple To-C market where consumer-oriented products are manufactured. We need clinical research from the hospital, resources from pharmaceutical companies, companies devoted to genetic sequencing, and the biochemical field.Few countries or regions can mobilize and coordinate these resources and make them work in a sustainable cycle that iterates fast. China is indeed capable of that, and could even overtake the US in this sense. Though China is still catching up in some areas, I see there are leap-forward opportunities. I think they are pointing to cooperation possibilities between China and the US.

Professor Lu:I agree with Professor Ma. Science progresses in various ways, but the primary one is interdisciplinarity, especially that between very distant disciplines. For example, the integration of AI and life sciences still sounds quite unlikely, but when they do integrate, that will be a great leap forward.

And I’m excited to know that Professor Ma will invest efforts mainly in using AI technologies to solve biomedical problems. That’s why I agree that China might stand a great chance to overtake the US in this.

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