SHANGHAI, July 9, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Robin Li, the co-founder, chairman, and chief
executive officer of Baidu, Inc. (NASDAQ: BIDU), today set out his
elaborate vision for the future of AI during a keynote speech at
the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC). Li said that
new infrastructure will accelerate the intelligent transformation
of various industries, with Baidu playing a key role in this
process through its open-source AI platforms that can empower other
organizations to adopt AI applications. Li also believes that the
development of AI is only in the middle stage of a three-stage
historical trajectory, but that AI has already demonstrated its
potential to transform economies and societies.
In line with this year's WAIC theme "Intelligent Connectivity,
Indivisible Community", Li spoke about the impactful role AI is
playing, and will play, in tackling the world's biggest problems,
including the COVID-19 pandemic, economic stagnation, and
widespread unemployment. Li stated that the ongoing development of
new infrastructure will facilitate the widespread application of
AI, which will boost efficiency in transportation, energy, health
care, and other fields, driving economic growth. Likening it to the
U.S. information superhighway concept of the 1990s that ushered in
the internet age, Li said that China's "New Infrastructure" plan should be
seen as "the largest-scale infrastructure expansion engineering
project" for supporting intelligent transformation and "has great
potential to bring about comprehensive AI in China."
Li explained that Baidu aims to make a significant contribution
to the building of new infrastructure. Baidu has invested heavily
in developing AI platforms—such as the deep learning open platform
PaddlePaddle, Baidu Cloud, AI open platform Baidu Brain, and the
Apollo autonomous driving platform—all of which will enable other
organizations to adopt AI applications. Baidu recently announced
plans to deploy 5 million intelligent cloud servers by 2030 and
train 5 million AI experts in the next 5 years.
"As an AI platform company that is focused on empowering other
organizations, Baidu hopes that every enterprise, no matter how
small, is able to use capabilities and services provided by our
platforms, just like they were water and electricity, to quickly
and easily realize intelligent transformation," Li said.
"I believe even more strongly that as AI technology platforms
are open sourced, more and more applications can be conveniently
developed, benefiting more and more aspects of our society and
economy," he added.
Li also pushed back on the rising pessimism about the power of
technology, and of AI in particular, comparing the current malaise
to that which prevailed in the early 2000s about the internet,
before it became universal. "During that period, I never lost faith
in the power of the internet—and I feel the same way about AI
today," Li said. "I still consider AI as comparable to the big wave
of the industrial revolution—AI will definitely change every
industry we have today."
Li highlighted the impressive record of existing AI applications
in fighting COVID-19, such as Baidu's AI-powered LinearFold
algorithm, which has reduced the prediction time of the
coronavirus's RNA secondary structure from 55 minutes to 27
seconds, significantly increasing the efficiency of vaccine
R&D. He also pointed to Baidu's AI temperature screening system
and autonomous vehicles, which have contributed to COVID-19 control
In Li's view, these applications of AI are just the beginning of
a wider transformation of all industries and societies. "AI
development is progressing through three main historical stages,"
Li explained in his remarks; at present, we are only in stage two.
In the first stage, Li said, "AI scholars focused mostly on
introducing concepts, technological exploration, and limited
applications like playing Go. In this stage, AI had not become an
industrial or economic phenomenon."
The second stage is the intelligent transformation of the
economy. Along with the rise of the internet and growth of data, AI
is starting to play a broader role in several industries. Li
believes this specific stage consists of two halves: the first
half, which has passed, saw the development of general AI
capabilities and platforms; the second half, now underway, is
seeing the application and commercialization of AI in more and more
sectors, such as search, newsfeed recommendation, autonomous
driving, and healthcare. The third and final stage is the
intelligent transformation of society, when AI will permeate from
economic aspects to wider social aspects.
In line with its vision to empower other organizations to adopt
AI, at the WAIC Baidu reached a strategic partnership with Shanghai
Pudong Development Bank (SPDB) to accelerate the application of AI
in the finance industry. The new agreement will build on their
previous achievements in establishing the first laboratory for deep
learning in the finance industry, initiating a fintech innovation
competition for college students, leveraging Baidu's blockchain to
build a new information sharing mechanism, and using AI to develop
a virtual customer service platform. Baidu will continue to support
SPDB in its digitalization and application of AI, with the goal of
achieving the intelligent transformation of finance.
Baidu's natural language processing (NLP) framework ERNIE
(Enhanced Representation through kNowledge IntEgration) also earned
the WAIC's highest honorary prize, the SAIL (Super AI Leader)
award. Receiving over 800 submissions from leading companies, SAIL
aims to inspire technology breakthroughs, application innovations,
and AI projects that change people's lives. ERNIE has made
significant advancements in NLP, which is important for training AI
machines to understand human languages.
Baidu, Inc. is a leading search engine, knowledge and
information centered Internet platform and AI company. The
Company's mission is to make the complicated world simpler through
technology. Baidu's ADSs trade on the NASDAQ Global Select Market
under the symbol "BIDU". Currently, ten ADSs represent one Class A
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SOURCE Baidu, Inc.