The 2021 ABC Summit was held in Beijing on Thursday. During the event, Robin Li Yanhong, founder and CEO of Baidu, shared his observations on the development of science and technology and his prospects for the future of artificial intelligence (AI).
“The scene of cross-language real-time communication that everyone saw in the movie, The Wandering Earth, is becoming a reality.” He believes that over the course of the next decade, eight key technologies in the field of AI, including machine translation, will profoundly change our society.
Nowadays, competition in the industry is quite fierce. According to Stanford’s 2021 AI Index Report, the number of business translation systems increased from eight in 2017 to 28 in 2020. Baidu took the lead in realizing the large-scale industrial application of neural network machine translation in 2015. At present, it has accomplished translation services among 203 languages, processing over 100 billion words every day and serving hundreds of millions of users.
With the support of artificial intelligence, biological computing will see fast growth. With the help of AI and the development of single cell sequencing, the speed of new drug R&D will be greatly accelerated. Drugs that once took ten years to develop may be completed in just two or three years in the future.
The eight technologies mentioned by Li include machine translation, bio-computing and personal intelligent assistants, automatic driving, smart city operation, deep learning, knowledge management and AI chips.
In Li’s view, these are the key to winning the future AI era, for which companies should lay out plans in advance and invest continuously for a long period of time. “Many technological development processes are like this, with long investment ahead, even accompanied by internal and external pessimism and vacillation. Once the technology runs through and enters the landing process, it will grow at a high speed.
In terms of autonomous driving, Baidu has this year launched a new auto manufacturing strategy. In January, Baidu teamed up with Geely to establish a joint venture company, Jidu. In fact, as early as 2013, Baidu began to invest in autonomous driving technology, before the 2017 launch of Apollo, the world’s first open source self-driving vehicle tech platform.
As for AI chips, according to Robin Li, Baidu Kunlun are cloud-based universal AI chips independently developed by the company. Kunlun II, to be mass-produced in the second half of this year, will be applied to more production and life scenarios.