Biz / Tech

Artificial intelligence converges with human ingenuity

Zhu Shenshen
Artificial intelligence may seem like a remote idea swirling in the realm of technology eggheads, but it actually is being adapted to many practical areas.
Zhu Shenshen
Artificial intelligence converges with human ingenuity

Artificial intelligence to many people may seem like a remote idea swirling in the realm of technology eggheads, but it actually is being adapted to many practical areas more familiar to the public.

For example, the digital technology is helping protect the priceless ancient Buddhist relics of Dunhuang, improving electricity networks and assisting malaria medical research.

The World Artificial Intelligence Conference 2019, which opens on Thursday in Shanghai, won’t be focused only on jargon like “algorithms” and “adversarial networks.” It will be discussing the ways in which artificial intelligence (AI) is being integrated in daily life, in a range of industries and in the transformation of the economy.

The conference also reinforces Shanghai’s leading role in the new technology, amid plans to turn the city into an AI global hub of the future. New policies, investments and business opportunities will be announced at the event.

“Artificial intelligence has become a core driving force for the new round of industrial transformation and is exerting a profound impact on the world’s economy, social progress and human life,” said Wu Jincheng, chairman of the Shanghai Commission of Economy and Information Development.

Wu called the event “a top-level global stage for AI industry development and technology innovation.”

The theme of the conference is “Intelligent Connectivity, Infinite Possibilities.” The event, to run from August 19-31, will be held in the Pudong New Area and the Xuhui District. It has attracted almost 300 speakers, including scientists, entrepreneurs and government officials from around the world, who will talk about the new technological frontiers and industry trends in a wide variety of disciplines.

More than 400 exhibitors will show the latest AI technologies and applications. All venues of the conference will offer 5G connection, which provides Internet speeds up to 50 times faster than 4G networks.

The conference is expected to attract 200,000 visitors, including 70,000 professionals, said the commission, which is the local industry regulator and a major organizer of the event.

Attending the various forums will be United Nations officials, corporate executives and academics who include Turing Award winners. Business leaders include Elon Musk from Tesla, Chen Wei from Didi Chuxing and Lee Kaifu, chairman and chief executive of Sinovation Ventures, who has previously worked for Microsoft, Apple and Google.

Top executives from multinational giants Amazon, Baidu, Huawei, iFlytek, Microsoft and Xiaomi are scheduled to speak on topics spanning artificial intelligence chips, 5G, smart driving and smart cities.

A special section of the conference will be held on August 28 in the Xuhui District, with nine speakers giving 18-minute speeches in a TED-style.

TED, which stand for “technology, entertainment and design,” is a nonprofit media organization devoted to spreading new ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks.

Wu Jian, director of the Culture Heritage Digitalization Institute at the Dunhuang Academy, will deliver a speech on how digital and AI technologies are being used on the fringes of the Gobi Desert in China’s northwest to protect grotto relics and mural paintings dating back almost 2,000 years.

The ancient statuary and frescoes in the famed Mogao Caves are at risk of deterioration due to environmental changes and booming tourism.

AIWIN, a competition event, has chosen 40 projects this year from 514 entries. Final winners will be announced during the conference.

Artificial intelligence converges with human ingenuity
Ma Xuefeng / SHINE

The autonomous ship in AIsland uses driverless technology and carries a

garbage sorting facility. 

Startup AI firms, involved in realms such as restaurant robots, financial information sorting, smart drone management and traffic control, will be strutting their latest technologies under AIWIN, hoping to get professional feedback and attract potential investors.

Special events, including AI International Day and AI Developer Day, will also be held during the conference.

As part of the event, a Global AI in Healthcare Summit will be held with over 100 scientists and industry leaders. Speakers will include members of the research team of Tu Youyou, who won a Nobel Prize for her breakthrough in the treatment of malaria.

An optimized grid network, featuring data collection, 5G and the Internet of Things technologies, will be displayed by the State Grid Shanghai Electric Power Co. The system improves efficiency and gives more power options to consumers.

Yi Jun, newly appointed chief data officer of Shanghai-based Huifu, will talk about AI’s applications in finance and payments.

The Hong Kong-listed company just announced plans to establish a high-level business division, called the Technology and Data Management Committee, to demonstrate digital advances in the sector.

The voice recognition and translation AI technologies of iFlytek will be used in all forums and activities during the conference.

Eric Zhao, vice president of iFlytek, said AI technologies have been used in courts, hospitals and schools in China.

The Shenzhen-listed company has set up its global headquarters in Shanghai and plans to explore market opportunities overseas.

In Pudong’s Zhangjiang High Tech Park, AIsland, an artificial intelligence innovation park, recently opened. It is advancing technologies such as smart garbage sorting, drones, autonomous ships, underwater robots and security robots.

The new park has already attracted top firms, including Cloudwork, IBM, Infineon and Microsoft.

A new display and exhibition center will open in the park later this year, highlighting AI’s integration with homes, schools, hospitals, finance companies and manufacturers.

Shanghai is keen to cement its reputation as an AI hub. About a third of AI talent in China has been drawn to Shanghai, especially in fields such as computer vision, speech recognition and brain engineering.

A city-level AI fund of about 10 billion yuan (US$1.43 billion) is also expected to be announced during the conference.

By 2020, Shanghai plans to have 60 city-level AI applications, covering finance, transportation, medicine, security and other sectors.

Artificial intelligence converges with human ingenuity
Ma Xuefeng / SHINE

A drone for security works in the Zhangjiang AIsland.

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