The RISE of AI

At this year’s RISE in Hong Kong, AI was the biggest star.

The conference, which brings together knowledge leaders, startups, solution providers and venture capitalists, showcased the emergence of two key technologies: AI and blockchain. AI grabbed the most attention.

At Williams F1, AI is already helping the team to race better. Analytics helped the pit crew to shorten their times for changing tires from “three and a half seconds to 1.92,” Graeme Hackland, CIO, Williams F1 Team said at the conference.

Williams F1 is no stranger to data analytics. The company developed its first connected car in 1979 that had a 64K data logger. “Today, we use a combination of data, such as telemetry, tire, weather, competitor information and video, turn it into information and improve driving in near real time,” Hackland said.

With AI, the same data is offering new ways to improve the team’s performance. For example, the company is using AI to determine when the car needs to make a pit stop—a decision that can determine the final race outcome.

Hackland and his team are also using AI to improve the manufacturing process so that a factory can learn from ongoing races to develop parts for the next race and reduce wastage.

Thanks to AI, robots are becoming smarter.

David Hanson, Founder of Hanson Robotics, going further. He is working with Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) to allow his robots to use abstract information from one context and apply it to another.

“It is how humans solve problems,” Hanson said.

Hanson noted that the data alone would not make robots "cleverer." "You need human intelligence plus the body. Then you apply to developmental psychology and allow social interactions," he said. 

It is why Hanson designed its renowned robot - Sophia - to be human-like. "If you want robots to learn and be more intelligent, we need to give them social capabilities and be socially meaningful for people,” he said. “Robots are after all operating in a human world.”

Hanson pointed to the symbiotic relationship between humans and dogs as a clear example. He noted that dogs have “evolved” to have human-like emotions on their faces and read human emotions “better than other humans.”

Meanwhile, Baidu, China’s Google equivalent, took a page from the latter’s playbook to launch Kunlun, a range of AI chips designed for machine learning workloads.

Kunlun will use Baidu’s AI ecosystem that includes its open source based deep learning framework PaddlePaddle. The company hopes that future autonomous vehicles will run on Kunlun AI chips.

The future of AI is Automation AI, according to Anita Huang, CMO and Operating Partner of Sinovation Ventures. Her company is also betting its money on it.

Huang noted that AI already underwent three waves of AI innovations. First was the internet AI wave led by machine learning of web data. Next came business AI where business applications used AI engines to learn and augment human decisions.

“Then we had Perception AI where sensors and camera technology is helping to improve decision making,” she said, adding that China is ahead of the US in this area.

The next wave, Automation AI, will steer by advances like autonomous driving and intelligent factories that already operate in the dark with no human intervention.

Huang, who sees autonomous driving as a separate operating system, noted that Automation AI would change the way we live and do business. Her company is already investing in robots that are taking over menial tasks like dishwashing and take over the duties of an educator. 

Speakers (left) Ben Goertzel, Chief Scientist, Hanson Robotics / Founder & CEO, SingularityNET, SingularityNET, and David Hanson, Founder, Hanson Robotics (right) converse with (center) Sophia the Robot. Credits: Photo by Harry Murphy / RISE via Sportsfile