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U.S., Chinese business executives talk on tech innovation, application of AI technology
Last Updated: 2018-08-07 16:43 | Xinhua
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Senior business executives, researchers and industry leaders from some of China's major tech giants and U.S. Silicon Valley companies met over the weekend in Mountain View city, west California, to decode innovation and game-changing technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) that powers social and economic life.

Chief executive officers, investors, researchers and entrepreneurs from China's top hi-tech companies such as the biggest Chinese online retailer JD.com, China's search engine giant Baidu, leading Chinese retail, Internet and AI technology conglomerate Alibaba Group, China's top hail-sharing operator DiDi, and U.S. big-name firms including IBM and Google, as well as Stanford University exchanged their insight on technological innovation at an annual event that bridges Silicon Valley and China's tech industry.

The heavyweight speakers, who drew an audience of more than 700 from Silicon Valley startups, tech companies and universities at the SYNC 2018 Silicon Valley: Decode Innovation Conference, which opened Sunday, discussed extensive tech-related topics that covered investment, blockchain and AI technology in particular that matters most for future innovation.

Chen Zhang, chief technological officer, said AI has played a significant role in JD.com's strategy in developing smart logistics driven by driverless trucks and autonomous delivery robots, automated warehouse and supply chain.

He said JD.com is the third largest Internet company in the world and it is using AI-based big data to redesign products and reshape supply lines.

He noted that people in China now are more concerned about their food quality and health, and they are more ready to opt for green or organic products.

"JD.com is doing a program called 'running chicken, because we know food safety became such a tremendous concern for people," he said.

The Chinese online retailer leader provided loans to farmers in remote villages where they raise chicken and let them running in the wild instead of in cages.

He said they have a small device attached to the chickens, "something like the kind of things we wear on our hand" which can even calculate how many steps the chickens were running."

People love those chickens raised in the wild, which can be two or three times more expensive than regular chickens, and the profits usually go to the cash-starving farmers, which eventually help improve the farmers' livelihood, Zhang said.

Meanwhile, big data technologies are used to recommend desirable products to customers who prefer healthy and eco-friendly food, said the CTO.

Sumit Gupta, vice president in IBM's Cognitive Systems business unit, said AI technology has been widely used in enterprises, which account for 20 percent to 30 percent.

He said nowadays many enterprises are embracing open-source AI software, and nearly 60 percent of them are using AI-powered on-premises cloud resources, because most of the data are on-premises or stored in computers housed in the building of those companies.

"You hear a lot of work get done via AI-based cloud, in (such companies as) Google, Amazon, Microsoft and IBM," he said.

He said AI technology has been used to a wide range of areas like traffic monitoring on road or even pipeline inspection in oil and gas plants.

Pipeline inspectors "were flying drones on top of their pipelines, and they were tasked to look at the images at the video to find cracks in the pipeline. It turns out that most of the humans after 25 minutes watching the video have a 50 percent error rate," he said.

"In other words, they get tired, and after 25 minutes they could not watch videos any more," he stressed, but AI doesn't get tired, he said, adding that better accuracy means better safety.

The day-long event was organized by PingWest, a leading Chinese online tech media company that targets audiences in the Greater China region, including the Chinese mainland, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

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