China has recently published its first artificial intelligence (AI) textbook for high school students, following a plan by central government last year to include AI courses in primary and secondary school.
Under the joint efforts by the research center for MOOC at East China Normal University and AI startup SenseTime Group, the nine-chapter textbook, named Fundamentals of Artificial Intelligence, was written by eminent scholars from well-known schools nationwide, Xinhua reported on Sunday.
It includes the history of AI and how the technology can be applied in areas such as facial recognition, auto driving and public security.
"The textbook focuses not only on basics of AI, also on practical use of AI in daily life," said Chen Yukun, a professor at East China Normal University, who is also a contributor to the book.
At present, about 40 high schools across the country have joined the first batch of AI high education pilot program, by introducing the textbook in curriculum.
"The AI sector is facing a talent shortage globally. The publication of the book is a breakthrough as it takes AI technology out of the 'ivory tower' and makes it part of high school learning," said Lin Dahua, a professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
As early as 2016, the governments had estimated that demand for AI professionals may surge to 5 million in the coming years.
"Many industries in the future will benefit from AI technology, so the aim of the related courses should be to let students learn the basic idea and methods of AI," Lin said.
China has made significant progress in technological research and development in recent years. According to a report released by US-based venture capital database CB Insights in March, China has for the first time surpassed the United States in equity funding to AI startups.