US, Chinese firms talk innovation

Source:Xinhua-Global Times Published: 2018/8/10 0:03:40

Cooperation in food safety possible, despite competition


People watch a JD.com Inc drone deliver a package in Xi'an, Northwest China's Shaanxi Province. File Photo: VCG

Senior business executives, researchers and industry leaders from some of China's major tech giants and US Silicon Valley companies met last weekend in Mountain View, western California, to decode innovation and game-changing technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and big data that power social and economic life.

Chief executive officers, investors, researchers and entrepreneurs from China's top hi-tech companies and big-name US firms including IBM and Google, as well as Stanford University, exchanged their insights on technological innovation at an annual event that bridged Silicon Valley and China's tech industry. Some of those major domestic companies in attendance included China's biggest online retailer JD.com, Chinese search engine giant Baidu, leading Chinese retail, internet and AI technology conglomerate Alibaba Group and China's top hail-sharing operator DiDi.

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, discussed extensive tech-related topics. Those topics included investment, blockchain and AI technology in particular, which matter most to future innovation.

CTO Chen Zhang 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 warehouses and supply chains.

He said that 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.

Tech in food safety

He noted that people in China nowadays 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 has become such a tremendous concern for people," he said.

The Chinese online retail leader has provided loans to farmers in remote villages where they raise chickens and let them run in the wild instead of in cages.

He said that 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 had taken."

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 helps improve their livelihoods, 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 of IBM's Cognitive Systems Business Unit, said that AI technology has been widely used in enterprises, which account for 20 percent to 30 percent.

He said that 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 is 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 that AI technology has been used in a wide range of areas like traffic monitoring on roads or even for 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 and at the video to find cracks in the pipeline. It turns out that most humans after 25 minutes of watching the video have a 50 percent error rate," he said.

"In other words, they get tired, and after 25 minutes they cannot watch videos anymore," 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.



Posted in: INDUSTRIES,CHINA-US

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