AI is the Transformative Force Revolutionizing Future Human Development Over the Next 40 Years, Says Baidu CEO Robin Li at WAIC 2021

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Baidu CEO Robin Li discusses the social value of AI during a keynote speech at the WAIC (Source: Baidu)

Robin Li, the Co-founder and CEO of Baidu, Inc. (NASDAQ:BIDU and HKEX:9888), today said that AI will undoubtedly become the transformative force revolutionizing future human development over the next 40 years during his keynote speech at the annual World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC).

Li highlighted that the intelligent transformation ushered by AI towards industries and societies is to ultimately fulfil the needs of people, proclaiming that technology is meaningful only if it serves humanity through the creation of more value and contributing towards society.

In light of this year’s WAIC theme, “Intelligent Connectivity, Inspirational Cities”, Li contended that the value of AI to human society extends far beyond economic growth, stating his belief that the social value of AI deeply correlates with the human desire for a better life. The annual event was held at the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition and Convention Center, aiming to promote the exchange of global AI innovation and build a world-class industrial cluster of AI. 

“Baidu’s approach towards AI technology has always revolved around delivering equitable outcomes by making technology more accessible, providing freedom and possibilities for all,” Li said.

Some parts of the world are facing an aging population issue; China’s elderly population is slated to exceed 300 million residents, creating a new challenge that will impact the country’s economic growth, social security, public services and more, Li said in his speech. In this regard, AI solutions are proven to be highly dependable in providing health monitoring, rehabilitation care, emergency aid, emotional support and meal or transport assistance for elders.

Natural language processing (NLP), multi-modal interactive AI assistant and computer vision capabilities have enabled Xiaodu – Baidu’s signature smart display product – to provide elders with immediate assistance and virtual companionship around the clock, improving their quality of life greatly while remotely reassuring family members of their health and safety. 

In Li’s view, the application of AI technology is reshaping the landscape of industries to become the transformative force revolutionizing future human development over the next 40 years. Baidu’s multi-faceted AI solutions are collectively addressing the socio-economic and environmental challenges faced by the modern world, to ultimately accomplish better living and sustain high-quality development for all of mankind.

“Baidu has been preparing for many years to embrace this digital revolution. Our advanced autonomous driving technology has positioned us as a global leader of the smart transportation industry. Not long ago, we launched Apollo Moon, the newest generation of Baidu’s robotaxis that aims to create a fully autonomous ride-hailing service that will be more affordable than existing vehicle-for-hire platforms. Baidu plans to expand its robotaxi ride-hailing services across 30 cities in China in two to three years to serve a wider range of users. Baidu is also rapidly developing a new intelligent vehicle, and we estimate that everyone will be able to experience the arrival of new species, ‘robo-vehicles’, in two to three years,” he added.  

Li also spoke about the impactful role Baidu Apollo has been playing as many Chinese cities continue to construct world-class intelligent traffic systems. Smart transportation solutions have been shown to facilitate a 15% improvement in traffic efficiency, which translates into a 2.4% GDP growth, demonstrating considerable commercial value to society.

On July 7, Robin Li visited Jidu Company’s Modeling Studio to witness a clay modeling of their car’s future design. According to publicly available information, following the launch of Apple’s car-building plan, Baidu formally announced the establishment of a smart car company at the beginning of this year to make its entrance into the automobile industry. Geely Holding Group is a strategic partner of the new company.

In March, Geely and Baidu established a joint venture company, named “Jidu Automobile Co., Ltd.”, and the brand marketing campaign reads, “the great achievement of Baidu AI capability”. The current registered capital of the company is about RMB 2 billion, and Xia Yiping is the legal representative.

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At present, the R&D team of Jidu is embarking on the engineering development stage based on the pre-determined modeling design scheme.

Robin Li said: “Baidu began to develop autonomous driving technology in 2013 and announced the establishment of Jidu in January at the beginning of this year. We can say that Jidu embodies Baidu’s dream of building cars, and we hope to bring the most advanced artificial intelligence technology to the market as soon as possible.”