During my stint at Tragic Kingdom, one of the theme parks at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, I was overtaken by the feeling of nostalgia, almost as if the entire park was a time capsule. While there were constant renovations and new construction — otherwise known as “Pixie Dust” — occurring throughout the 107-acre property, almost every attraction within the park seemed to be dated and not featuring anything new or current about them. While the park featured an overarching futuristic theme called “Tomorrowland”, it seemed to be based on what those alive at some point in time thought the universe-trotting future would hold, as opposed to a future where everyone is snap-chatting and tweeting. Although the newly added Avatar and Star Wars attractions built into Hollywood Studios are in keeping with the times, they are still not sufficient particularly for place where Mickey Mouse had more of a “Walking Dead”, Negan-Saviors like relationship, as opposed to a boss-employee one.   

 

Even with the addition of New Fantasyland in December of 2012, the entire park just possesses a late 60’s-early 70’s vibe with the exception of Frontierland which has an obvious late 1800’s vibe. Instead of these iconic outdated rides, imagine a multi-billion dollar park entirely based on artificial intelligence? To continue their ever growing influence and presence in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) and game-changing technology, China recently announced their initial plans to construct an AI technology park, or a park where the infinite forms of technology will be further developed and studied upon.

 

Zhongguancun Group's S&T Park

Zhongguancun Group’s S&T Park (meinhardtgroup)

According to a CNBC report, the 54.87 hectare park located in the suburban Mentougou district in western Beijing will focus on “high-speed big data, cloud computing, biometrics and so-called deep learning, a strand of AI” and will have access to the much anticipated cellular internet generation of 5G. The report further states that construction of the park, will cost about 13.8 billion yuen — or $2.1 million over a five-year period — produce an output value of 50 billion yuen per year, and further China’s goal to become the world leader in AI development by 2030. Owned by Zhongguancun Development Group, a “a hi-tech commercialization platform backed by Beijing government,” the park will feature products from over 400 companies; Zhongguancun Development Group also has plans to collaborate and create partnerships with universities, institutes and companies that focus on machinery and AI domestically in China and abroad.

 

Collaborations between American with Chinese companies employing these types of hi-tech research, or the creation of new AI companies are already been happening. For instance, in November, Reuters reported that Google announced plans to deploy an AI research team in Beijing to better understand and tweak products in their existing portfolio.   

 

The Chinese government has also hinted at an overall plan for a “major breakthrough” in artificial intelligence in 2025, as well as plans to extend its AI technology to military projects. Whatever that major break could potentially be, I hope it is not a development of a T-800 robot from “The Terminator;” but instead innovation that will catapult China to be a front runner in artificial intelligence research and production.

 

Have you seen the new plans for the “technology park” in Beijing? If so, tell me how you feel about it at @CaptainKasoff on Twitter.