On August 29, the WAIC 2019 - International Forum on Vision of Next Generation AI with the theme “Bottlenecks and Breakthroughs in the Development of AI” was held in Shanghai.
The Big Data and AI Research Center of Shanghai Academy was inaugurated at the conference. Li Youmei, First Vice President of Shanghai Academy, and Yang Qiang, President of IJCAI, Chairman of the Hong Kong Society of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, CAIO of WeBank and Director of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology attended the ceremony.
Guests speeches at the conference were divided into three units.
Zhou Hanmin, Member of the CPPCC National Committee, Vice Chairman of the Central Committee of China National Democratic Construction Association, Vice Chairman of Shanghai CPPCC and Director of the Shanghai Committee of China National Democratic Construction Association, made a keynote speech titled “AI Creates a Better Life”.
He offered his thoughts on two questions: first, what does the booming digital economy mean? Second, how can AI be best employed to provide education that satisfies the needs of the public? As the digital economy surges throughout the world, it has also become the nucleus of China’s economic development. “China is cultivating a number of builders and inventors who represent the future of AI. Take software engineering for instance. About 30% of the world’s software engineers are in China.”
In Zhou’s opinion, AI has great promise in bridging the education gap and running education that satisfies the requirement of people. He offered three suggestions from three perspectives, namely “poor countryside”, “crowded city”, and “weak teaching staff”: firstly, using AI to build an online platform to deliver public compulsory education and letting the market to play a decisive role in the allocation of resources while government plays an active role; secondly, making a serious effort to combine the Internet and education; thirdly, unswervingly opening up to the outside world and strengthening international cooperation in education. About the relationship between AI and China’s education, Zhou said, “the former is intrinsic and the latter extrinsic. The relationship cannot be reversed or neglected. A solution must be found, not for ways to make high-tech fly higher but for ways to employ the means of high technology to benefit the people.”
Wang Yansong, Vice President of Shanghai University of Engineering Science, made a speech on the topic of “building the model of industry-university-research institute collaborative innovation and cultivating high-end applied AI talents”. He first introduced Shanghai University of Engineering Science. As one of the first pilot universities of the Ministry of Education’s excellent engineer education and training program, a leading entity in national new engineering construction of local universities, and a trial entity of Shanghai’s construction of high-level applied universities, Shanghai University of Engineering Science has cooperated with industries and enterprises to run schools, educate people and innovate. For instance, it set up the AI industry research institute, built a 5G AI application innovation lab together with Shanghai Unicom, and jointly developed an intelligent garment customization system with Orient Group. Regarding AI research and application, Wang Yansong gave two suggestions: first, research institutions must research basic theories at a deeper level; second, along with improvement of hard AI power, attention must also be paid to studies in AI-related soft disciplines, such as technical route, business mode, and application ethics of AI development.
Wang Xiaofan, Vice President of Shanghai University, made a speech on the topic “people-oriented” smart campus construction”. He said Shanghai University had its distinctive advantages both in terms of campus application and studies of AI technology. The AI transformation scheme of Shanghai University’s Yanchang Campus has been included in the second batch of AI application demonstration scenarios of Shanghai. Regarding how to build a smart campus, he pointed out that work must focus on how to promote reform of higher education through demonstration applications of AI and Shanghai University must play a leading role in promoting AI research, education, and talent training.
Ye Hui, Investment Promotion Officer of UNIDO ITPO Shanghai, gave a speech on “Investment promotion 4.0 in Industry 4.0”. She first introduced UNIDO, United Nations Industrial Development Organization, which was established in 1966 as a specialized agency of the United Nations in the field of industrial development. UNIDO ITPO Shanghai is one of UNIDO’s nine global offices, dedicated to introducing advanced technologies and foreign-funded enterprises and leading Chinese enterprises to go global. Regarding the history of investment promotion, Ye Hui said, “investment promotion 1.0 is an economic investment endorsed by credit between acquaintances or friends; the second generation is based on the development of the PC; the third is based on the Internet; and the fourth on big data. With big data, we could link global data and update regional industrial resources.”
The second unit of speeches focused on “bottlenecks and breakthroughs in the development of AI”.
Michael Wooldridge, Director of the Department of Computer Science of the University of Oxford, former President of IJCAI and Academician of the European Academy of Sciences, held that the current learning efficiency, scalability, and computing resource requirements of artificial intelligence are bottlenecks.
Carles Sierra, Member of IJCAI and Deputy Director of Artificial Intelligence Research Institute of CSIC, said the course of development must be human dominated for better risk control.
Thomas Eiter, Academician of the European Academy of Sciences, Head of the Institute of Information Systems of TU Wien and Member of IJCAI, thought AI currently lacks the ability of logical reasoning, deep learning, and problem solving.
Rao Kotagiri, Professor of the University of Melbourne and Academician of the Australian Academy of Science, the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering and the Australian Academy of Engineering, was very concerned about AI application in medicine. Studies show that AI could help to diagnose diseases but AI systems are still primitive.
Zhang Chengqi, Chairman of the Australian Artificial Intelligence Commission, Vice President and Distinguished Professor of the University of Technology Sydney, talked about “talent introduction and AI introduction”, to solve issues like talent shortage and fund deficiency through international or domestic cooperation.
Tao Dacheng, Professor of Computer Science at the University of Sydney, a member of the Australian Academy of Science and a member of the European Academy of Sciences, said that AI, with a short history of 60-odd years, has a weak theoretical basis and many issues remain to be understood thoroughly.
Li Ming, Professor of the University of Waterloo and Academician of the Academy of Science of the Royal Society of Canada believed that natural language processing is the basis and even the only thing that separates mankind from animals and plants, so it’s most important for AI.
Zhang Mengjie, member of the Royal Society of New Zealand and Vice President of the Victoria University of Wellington, said there is a global upsurge of AI studies but most of them are “lacking in novelty and originality”.
Charles Ling, Distinguished Professor of the University of Western Ontario and Academician of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, presented a different point of view that there were no bottlenecks with AI and even if there were; they could be solved one by one according to certain rules.
Guests in the third unit mostly came from enterprises or institutions focusing on AI application.
Sun Jianping, Head of the Institute for Urban Risk Management of Tongji University, said AI was particularly suited to urban risk management but it may also give birth to security risks. Therefore, how far AI could go depends on how well safety and control is done.
Lou Wei, Party committee secretary of Shanghai Library, said “the next-generation libraries are smart libraries” with smart services, smart management, and smart operations. Li Junmin, Head of the Hematology Department at Ruijin Hospital affiliated to the School of Medicine, Shanghai Jiaotong University and Shanghai Saitu Mofei Medical Technology Co., Ltd. introduced the newly developed intelligent blood cell identification and classification system with a recognition accuracy rate of over 95% which could serve both patients and doctors.
Fang Ming, Assistant President of IFLYTEK Co., Ltd. predicted three trends for the next decade: the first major trend is that the Internet of Everything promoted by 5G will officially become the sixth wave of the IT industry, and voice will become the most important form of man-machine interaction; second, the trend of human interaction is irresistible and the Babel of human languages will completed in a decade; third, AI will profoundly change the mode of production and life of mankind and AI will empower all industries.
Fei Minrui, Head of the School of Mechatronic Engineering and Automation of Shanghai University gave his opinion about AI development from the perspective of engineering application. He believed the great engineering application of AI lies in the main battlefield of the national economy and the realization of intelligent manufacturing, but the current level of integration of application engineering and main production processes of mankind is not tight or complete.
Liu Bing, Chairman of Shanghai Zhongyi Energy Technology Co., Ltd. intended to explore how to integrate the needs of society and the power of big data with the real economy.
Yin Feng, Professor of Shanghai University compared the AI industry in China and that in the US, “generally speaking, there is still a gap between China and world leading level in terms of fundamental research, original work, top talents, basic platform, applied ecology, technical system, and standard specifications.”
The conference was guided by the Organizing Committee of WAIC, sponsored by Shanghai Academy, Shanghai Committee of China National Democratic Construction Association, Shanghai University, Shanghai University of Engineering Science and UNIDO ITPO Shanghai, organized by Survey and Data Center of Shanghai Academy and Shanghai Dianshan Lake Forum Development and Promotion Center, and co-organized by the Hong Kong Society of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, Australian Artificial Intelligence Commission, Shanghai Artificial Intelligence Technology Association, Shanghai Library, School of Mechatronic Engineering and Automation of Shanghai University and Chaozhong (China) Artificial Intelligence Development Co., Ltd.