Learnings from AI Summit in Hong Kong

by Aastha Grover 4 September 2019

I was fortunate enough to attend the Artificial Intelligence International Business Summit held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center on 8th August 2019. This summit brings together delegates and speakers from the world’s leading organizations to explore what AI practically means for enterprises and how we can get prepared for an AI-powered future. This summit was supported by leading AI solution providers including AWS, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft and Facebook.

In this blog post, I would like to share my learnings and give an overview of the exciting and interesting topics that were discussed at the summit.

Building relationships with AI

AI has existed in most of our lives for quite a long time now in the form of chatbots/ virtual assistants like Siri or Cortana who have become more advanced with time. Sooner or later, humans are going to establish strong relationships with AI-powered humanoids with cognitive intelligence and multi-model perception. I got my first human-like AI experience in this summit after meeting Sophia, the first robot to get a citizenship. She was activated in 2016, by Hanson Robotics, whose vision is to develop socially intelligent robots.

Sophia is aesthetically designed with a human-like face, has a broad range of expressions and gestures and can initiate intelligent dialogue with people. She has appeared on the cover of Cosmopolitan, addressed the United Nations and became the first robot to receive a credit card.

Does it look like, in the not-too-distant future, humans in real world would be able to empathize with the actor in the movie ‘Her’?

Evolution of AI for a better today and tomorrow

AI has dipped its toes in various facets of business and has brought a revolution in numerous industries. This summit had speakers from different sectors discussing the implementation of AI in their business. Let’s see how AI is delivering real value:

  • Transforming healthcare: Baidu, a technology company in China, is massively scaling its AI to improve healthcare. Baidu’s AI Fundus Screening System is a simple way to detect eye diseases in early stages. Its AI-powered cameras can detect three eye diseases including Glaucoma with an accuracy of 94 percent. 1,136 patients have already been positively diagnosed with the system. Google has also been doing a lot of work in Deep Learning with image dataset that would be able to identify diseases in a non-invasive manner. A few on-going projects are screening for diabetic retinopathy with a level of accuracy on par with a human retinal specialist and locating cancer via image screening.
  • AI in construction: Arup, a multinational professional services firm, makes use of a digitized approach for façade inspection that facilitates site recording and reporting on a 3D model. Drones are used for inspection in places which are difficult to reach. Also, Hong Kong’s new sea bridge has various AI tools to accelerate border operations. The bridge is equipped with sensors and is constantly monitored.
  • AI for shopping mall transformation: Red Star Macalline, one of China’s biggest furniture retailers, operates 364 shopping malls. They use AI and VR technology to make their shopping malls intelligent. Their Immersion Box uses VR, naked-eye three-dimensional display method technology to create a real-size design and immersion experience to enable window shopping anytime and anywhere. Service Robots are deployed in shopping malls for cleaning, guidance, advertising, and security.
  • AI for customer relationship: Being customer-centric is the new golden rule for every business. A lot of businesses are already deploying AI to maintain good relationships with their customers. AI solutions from SAS use the data-driven approach to deliver the right services at right time. Using Natural Language Processing (NLP), every voice from the customer can be heard and sentiment analysis can be applied to improve customer satisfaction.

Responsible and ethical AI

Autonomous technologies are no longer limited to sci-fi movies. We have already seen how AI can do things that were once unimaginable. But as it expands, it also raises concerns about the damage that it can cause to our society. It is therefore important to embed good ethics in the technology from the design stage. The Partnership on AI to benefit people and society is an industry consortium established to formulate the best practices on AI technologies, and serves as an open platform for discussing new technologies. Open AI LP is a “capped-profit” company whose mission is to ensure that artificial general intelligence (AGI) benefits all of humanity, primarily by attempting to build safe AGI.

There is no denying that if used ethically, AI can be the force preventing damage. Dark Trace, a billion-dollar startup can vouch for that! It is using AI to track cyberattacks. Its tech takes inspiration from a human’s immune system and the way it fights diseases.

Asia Pacific: Leaders in AI

Asia Pacific is positioned as a full-stack AI provider with proficiency in hardware, software, and services across Taiwan, China, and India respectively. Below are some of the main APAC AI market drivers:

  • China has set a goal to be a global leader in AI by 2030. The ambition would raise industry growth prospects for the Asia Pacific as a whole;
  • US-China trade war should strengthen in-house AI development in the region;
  • Region has the largest pool of user data (60 percent of world’s population).

The newer opportunities in AI can be explored by building country-level cooperation in data sharing, talent exchange, and supporting AI startups.

The world is evolving rapidly, and AI is predicted to contribute massively to the global economy. Let’s get geared up with an ethical AI-powered future! A few more observations before I conclude this post:

  • “Look beyond AI. Look to establish a solid foundation with data.”
  • “Incorporate AI in your IoT project. Thinking IoT? Think AIoT!”
  • “Crowdsource AI to solve real-world problems”

Aastha Grover is business process associate consultant at SAP. She has a Master’s Degree in Computer Science from Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani.

This post was originally published on Medium.