Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) is a public university founded in the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone of China.
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Microsoft's Corporate Vice President arrived at SUSTech on November 12 2017 to give a lecture in the first teaching building. The theme of the talk was "Bringing Artificial Intelligence to emotions", and it was presided over by Zhou Yongming, director of the SUSTech Social Science Center.
Wang Yongdong is currently Corporate Vice President for Microsoft Asia’s Internet Engineering Institute as well as Microsoft Asia Pacific R & D Group chief technology officer. He was a PhD student in computer science at the University of California, Berkeley, before joining Microsoft in 2009.
On the site of the lecture
Although it was on a cold and rainy Sunday, the 111 classroom quickly filled up as the students were keen to listen in.
Wang Yongdong’s lecture
Algorithms and Data - The Explosive Development of Artificial Intelligence
Wang started off by explaining what artificial intelligence is in a series of sci-fi movie clips, pointing out that "early AI was something from the realm of science fiction".
He then talked about Microsoft's AI with an infrastructure-service-application-medium that highlighted the tremendous impact it will have on many domains (including voice services, language services, search services, computer vision, machine learning, etc.). The rapid development of statistics and algorithms in the era of big data explains why artificial intelligence has achieved explosive growth in recent times.
Intelligent EQ - exploring coexistence
After talking about the development background of artificial intelligence, Wang explained the development of intelligent EQ with the development of a search engine as an example, and proposed the wonderful Imagination of intelligent EQ (Artificial Intelligence Adapting to Humans) that we will need in the future.
He said that artificial intelligence and humans coexistence lies in building a common emotional bond. Different scenes presenting the AI robot "Microsoft Xiaobing" left a deep impression on the audience in the way it can interact emotionally with humans.
Wang then went on to introduce the AI voice service with a video showing Xiaobing at the China Science and Technology Museum’s phone booth, and mentioned that in the future it would be possible to have active voice calls provided the owner gave permission.
He concluded that "The development of artificial intelligence not only requires skills, but also requires focus on emotions, so that it can be better integrated into human society."
Wang went on to detail the important social role that AI will take on in the near future, as well as its creative potential through pictures and poetry created by the machine. He believes the key is for it to develop IQ and well as EQ, and that it must create rather than replicate.
Q & A session
Wang Yongdong’s lecture was humorous but also thought-provoking, and the students had the chance to exchange with him at the end of the lecture. Wang answered as many questions as possible one by one ranging from the improvement of AI skills to the potential of personal services that may be provided in the future. To conclude, he signed the university’s guestbook with a message of gratitude and encouragement.
Text: Student Press reporter Zhang Jia Chen
Photo: Student Press reporter Xu Haiwen
Translated by: Jeremy Welburn
Proofread by: Yingying Xia