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October 23, 2020

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COVID-19 listed as year’s top concern

COVID-19 and Shanghai’s three core industries — integrated circuits, biological medicine and artificial intelligence — have been the topics of most concern so far this year, according to a report released at the Pujiang Innovation Forum yesterday.

The report on the global trends in cutting-edge technology was released by the Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China and the Shanghai Institute for Science of Science.

The report found COVID-19 was second only to biological medicine as a major concern with people paying more attention to devices and treatments to combat the virus.

In biological medicine, tumors were the main concern with various cancers more worrisome than other diseases.

Mental illnesses, especially depression and Alzheimer’s, were also worrying people. Their impact was no less than that of physical diseases, the report said.

The report also showed that artificial intelligence was not only powering everyday life but also revolutionizing the military field represented by the emergence of mosaic warfare. From design to manufacturing, major techniques and processes in the integrated circuit business also drew much attention.

Besides listing hot topics, the report also offered analysis of five cutting-edge studies — brain-computer interface, soft robotics, brain-inspired chips, genetic editing and graphene-like two-dimensional materials.

An interesting fact is that brain-computer interface started from science fiction, said Liu Qiyan, deputy director of the Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China.

Starting in the United States in the 1970s, brain-computer interface has quickly entered the stage of a technology boom.

In recent years, many countries, including China, the US, Japan, South Korea and Australia, have drawn up plans to develop brain and brain-like science.

Across the world, tens of billions of US dollars have been poured into brain-computer interface research.

In China, Chengdu has formed a cooperation with Cuba and Canada to research the subject. Shanghai is also a major research place of world renown.

Hefty investments have paid off and the topic is developing well by combining with artificial intelligence.


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