When change comes, embrace the future
Distinguished speakers and guests,
I am honored to address you at such an important and informative event, with many interesting speakers and a wealth of topics that reflect the vast role Artificial Intelligence is going to play in our future society.
The next session, I believe, will be very illuminating: a discussion on The Future of Work in the Artificial Intelligence era. How can AI change the way we approach our work in future? How can AI benefit human beings?
First of all, the one constant is change, and the technologies of the present should not be used to impede those that can shape the future positively.
When we look back the history, when the automobile gradually replaced the carriage, coach drivers did not lose their jobs, rather they became chauffeurs or evolved into bus or taxi drivers. Today, times have moved on and passengers can order a taxi by Uber. This continual application of new technologies will continue to make our world better.
Secondly, though, the process of change is slow, and the emergence of new technologies requires a process of universalization.
Ordinary people need time to understand how new technologies can change their lives, and this may take longer due to differing rates of development in various regions of the world. For example, from 2G to 3G and 4G, now we have entered the 5G era, but in fact, according to the latest ITU report, nearly half of all people in the world do not have a basic Internet connection.
Over the past three decades, Huawei has been committed to developing innovative ICT infrastructure solutions to enable people to enjoy better connectivity; these now serve a third of the global population. But I think this is just the beginning. In future, we hope to continue to focus on bringing digital to every person, family and organization, to build a fully connected intelligent world.
The same is true for AI technology. We were surprised when Alpha Go defeated Sedol Lee, but, actually, this technology had existed for 60 years. It is thanks to the efforts of our predecessors and the deepening of technology that we can finally make AI technology popular.
But why is AI so significant? Because AI is a general purpose technology; it can bring about important productivity improvements in most industries. On this basis, new jobs will be created and many professions will evolve. We need to embrace this wonderful future.
Huawei released its AI strategy at last year’s Huawei Connect conference. Our aim at Huawei is to accelerate the popularity of AI by providing a platform for more people to use it.
Europe's strength lies in its deep academic roots, open and equal democracies, and the economic potential of many SMEs.
So Huawei is extending three tentacles, if you like, aiming at academics on the one hand, developers on the other, as well as the general public, in order to explore the infinite possibilities of AI in Europe.
On the academic front, we are working with European universities to strengthen basic research, while enabling AI innovations to be applied and bring about change faster, building data in areas such as computational vision, natural language processing and decision-making reasoning (involving the demand for fewer data), energy efficiency (lower computing power and energy consumption), greater security and reliability, and automatic, autonomous, basic machine-learning capabilities.
For small and medium-sized developers, the Huawei Developer Enablement Plan will continue to see increased investment in the AI field, while helping 1 million AI developers over the next three years. At the same time, our self-developed AI chips will also go to market this year; these will reduce the cost of AI computing power, thus allowing more SMEs to benefit.
Finally, we want AI technology to help more people and families. For example, Huawei and the European Deaf Association has jointly developed a mobile application called StorySign, which can translate text into sign language to help them better understand books. In the future, Huawei will continue to invest in this initiative in order to help the 34 million deaf children in the world.
This is just one scenario. When AI technology becomes easier to acquire, the cost of computing will continue to decrease, and developers forming the ecosystem of the future will be able to introduce more applications that benefit more and more people.
Change is coming to us. Looking back through history, whenever new general purpose technology emerges, it helps us reduce the duplication of work and makes our human endeavor worthier of respect and appreciation. If we are willing to accept AI, I believe that we can embrace the future with open arms.
I hope you enjoy the following session, which I am sure will prove most enlightening.
Thank you for your attention.