The year 2020 was profoundly challenging for citizens, companies, and governments around the world. As covid-19 spread, requiring far-reaching health and safety restrictions, artificial intelligence (AI) applications played a crucial role in saving lives and fostering economic resilience. Research and development (R&D) to enhance core AI capabilities, from autonomous driving and natural language processing to quantum computing, continued unabated. Baidu was at the forefront of many important AI breakthroughs in 2020. This article outlines five significant advances with implications for combating covid-19 as well as transforming the future of our economies and society.
From the emerge of cognitive intelligence, in-memory-computing, fault-tolerant quantum computing, new materials-based semiconductor devices, to faster growth of industrial IoT, large-scale collaboration between machines, production-grade blockchain applications, modular chip design, and artificial intelligence technologies to protect data privacy, more technology advancements and breakthroughs are expected to gain momentum and generate big impacts the daily life. "We are at the era of rapid technology development. In particular, technologies such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence, blockchain, and data intelligence are expected to accelerate the pace of the digital economy," said Jeff Zhang, Head of Alibaba DAMO Academy and President of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence. "In addition to exploring the unknown through scientific and technological research, we are also working with industry players to foster the applications of innovation in different industries, making technologies more accessible for the businesses and society at large." Alibaba DAMO Academy, the global research initiative by Alibaba Group, provides its forecast of the leading trends that would gain pace in the tech industry in 2020.
Artificial intelligence has reached or surpassed humans in the areas of perceptual intelligence such as speech to text, natural language processing, video understanding, etc; but in the field of cognitive intelligence that requires external knowledge, logical reasoning, or domain migration, it is still in its infancy. Cognitive intelligence will draw inspiration from cognitive psychology, brain science, and human social history, combined with techniques such as cross-domain knowledge graph, causality inference, and continuous learning to establish effective mechanisms for stable acquisition and expression of knowledge. These make machines to understand and utilize knowledge, achieving key breakthroughs from perceptual intelligence to cognitive intelligence. In Von Neumann architecture, memory and processor are separate and the computation requires data to be moved back and forth. With the rapid development of data-driven AI algorithms in recent years, it has come to a point where the hardware becomes the bottleneck in the explorations of more advanced algorithms.
Although science fiction may depict AI robots as the bad guys, some tech giants now employ them for security. Companies like Microsoft and Uber use Knightscope K5 robots to patrol parking lots and large outdoor areas to predict and prevent crime. The robots can read license plates, report suspicious activity and collect data to report to their owners. These AI-driven robots are just one example of "autonomous things," one of the Gartner Top 10 strategic technologies for 2019 with the potential to drive significant disruption and deliver opportunity over the next five years. "The future will be characterized by smart devices delivering increasingly insightful digital services everywhere," said David Cearley, Gartner vice president and Fellow, at Gartner 2018 Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando, Florida.
Gartner, Inc. today highlighted the top strategic technology trends that organizations need to explore in 2019. Analysts presented their findings during Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, which is taking place here through Thursday. Gartner defines a strategic technology trend as one with substantial disruptive potential that is beginning to break out of an emerging state into broader impact and use, or which are rapidly growing trends with a high degree of volatility reaching tipping points over the next five years. "The Intelligent Digital Mesh has been a consistent theme for the past two years and continues as a major driver through 2019. Trends under each of these three themes are a key ingredient in driving a continuous innovation process as part of a ContinuousNEXT strategy," said David Cearley, vice president and Gartner Fellow.