Sep 18, 2018 (China Knowledge) - The 2018 World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) opened yesterday in Shanghai, with the theme "New Era of Artificial Intelligence". WAIC gathered not only some of the most influential scientists in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI), but also some front-line entrepreneurs.
The chiefs of BAT (Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent), Robin Li, Jack Ma and Pony Ma attended the conference, and made speeches on different aspects of AI. Huawei's rotating chairman Xu Zhijun, Microsoft's global executive vice president Shen Xiangyang also attended the conference.
Robin Li in his speech said that modernization today is AI. Arguably, no company in the future can claim to have nothing to do with AI. In his opinion, a true AI company possess three qualities, which are, AI thinking, AI ability and the ethics of AI.
Li further explained that AI thinking means rethinking the company's strategy based on Internet of Everything (IoE). Whether it is the PC or the mobile internet, the main focus of the enterprise should still be on the software level. But in the era of AI, enterprises must pay more attention to the combination of software and hardware to find new innovation opportunities.
The AI definition, on the other hand, is the ability of companies to leverage AI technology rather than the invention of AI. Currently there are a large number of open source platforms in the field of AI, so people should combine industry characteristics and competitive environment to strengthen their own business.
Finally, the AI ethic mean that a true AI company must be "AI" not only technically but also culturally. The highest principle of AI is ‘safe and controllable.’ AI's vision of innovation is to promote equal access to technological capacity. The value, is to teach people to learn and to grow, rather than to replace and surpass them. The ultimate ideal, is to bring more freedom and possibility to human beings.
While there is a debate that development of AI will lead machines to replace humans which may result massive unemployment. Li seemed least concerned about it, he is of the view that "we see that every technological revolution is accompanied by a lot of people being replaced by machines, and a lot of new opportunities being created."
Alibaba’s Jack Ma said, "We are worried, hopeful and confused about the expectations of the technological revolution of AI." It is not only a technology, but it is a way we understand the external world, the future world, the human body and redefining our thinking.
Jack said that, in future, AI will transform manufacturing industry into service industry, which is the perfect fusion of both. The future of manufacturing depends on services, and the quality of services determines the quality of new manufacturing. Those enterprises, which do not comply with this intelligent transformation, will be eliminated.
The Internet, Jack Ma opined, is a relationship of production. Big computing is a productive force, and big data is a means of production. Big computing combined with cloud technology is the real future. The age of data is also a significant opportunity for supply reform and economic transformation.
He concluded that, if we fail to promote the transformation of manufacturing industry and the social transformation towards a greener and more inclusive society, AI, blockchain, and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies are meaningless.
Tencent’s Pony Ma expressed his opinion by saying that AI is a transnational and interdisciplinary scientific exploration project. Various enterprises and countries should strengthen the communication and connection in this field.
The development of AI technology is leading the era of "big social network". WeChat has 1 billion monthly active users, making it the first Internet product in China with that many users. Connecting people to each other through billions of nodes, but if connected people to things or services, the scale will grow to tens or even hundreds of billions. The key to the connection between human and object, and human and service is AI.
We also need to take into consideration the possible social impacts of future AI's development. AI technology in the future is likely to become a master key. For example, some people in China have used AI technology to make and distribute internet virus, or the use of this technology for network scams. All this force us to change the traditional security protection mode.
Pony Ma later posed the following questions to arouse thinking of the global AI practitioners:
I. Comprehensibility: Can AI algorithms become clear, transparent and explicable?
II. Controllability: How to prevent AI from harming the interests of humans or the whole civilization? And, will the decisions made by AI still hold specific people accountable?
III. Availability: Can AI be used by as many people as possible, sharing technological dividends and avoiding a technological gap?
IV. Reliability: Is AI able to repair its own vulnerabilities fast enough to truly achieve security, stability and reliability?
Other prominent political and business figures including President Xi’s economic advisor Liu He, Xiaomi’s founder Lei Jun and many others spoke at the event.
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