Dai Wenyuan, Founder of 4Paradigm, Attended the 12th Annual World Economic Forum ‘Summer Davos’: the Shortage of Social Resources Provides Impetus for AI Development


On September 18th, 2018, the 12th Summer Davos Forum opened in Tianjin, China. The meeting convened leaders from all walks of life, including global politics and business, international institutions, civil society, academia, media, etc., and was far larger than previous forums. This year’s forum’s theme is ‘Shaping Innovative Societies in the Fourth Industrial Revolution’, with major focus on exploring the impact of the fourth industrial revolution driven by emerging technologies such as AI on the economic, social, and geopolitical landscape. At the official invitation from the Davos Forum, Dai Wenyuan, founder and CEO of 4Paradigm and a well-known scholar in AI, attended the core forum ‘Shaping the Future of AI’ with leaders in commercialization to have in-depth discussions on AI-related topics that all sectors of society are paying attention to.

Resource pressure provides circumstances and conditions for AI development

How AI will be applied to enterprises, industries, public services and urban management is a direction and topic that the government pays close attention to during the 2018 World Artificial Intelligence Conference held at the same time. The aim of the Davos Forum is to hold a global dialogue on the development of AI affecting people's well-being. People are paying attention to and discussing the social impact and changes caused by AI. Dai Wenyuan is very optimistic about the potential of AI’s development. He believes that the social pressure caused by resource pressure provides the greatest driving force for the development of AI. Where existing social resources cannot satisfy and wholly cover, including financial, medical, and Internet sectors, where people feel ‘uncomfortable’ and ‘inconvenienced’, constitute the best circumstances for AI to create value.

Taking the banking service as an example, a professional account manager at a foreign bank can provide you with two hours of dedicated service to solve a small problem. But in China, due to the scarcity of banking professionals and the huge number of customers, it is difficult for customers to get exclusive services, so we need to use AI to serve everyone. The term ‘intelligent investment consultant’ that has become popular in the past two years is a typical example. Through AI, everyone can get ‘one-on-one’ financial services. On the other hand, in the medical field, China now is facing problems like insufficient medical resources, shortage of medical staff, and over-concentration of high-quality medical resources. Through AI, more robot doctors can be trained for the medical industry in the short-term to cover all aspects of public medical health management and to improve the domestic medical environment, which is significant for the whole society and people’s well-being, And it also represents the weighty responsibility of AI in society.

AI includes widely applicable technologies, which can serve any industry that has data, and is replicable. Therefore, once a breakthrough is made by AI via a launch in a specific field, and machines are enabled to reach a professional level close to or even beyond that of a human, machines can become the main workforce in that scenario, releasing a lot of resources and potential in a short time to achieve rapid growth in industry productivity.

Developing AI doesn't mean sacrificing privacy; rather, AI wants to acquire knowledge of an industry

As the development of AI technology continues to accelerate, AI’s influence is also increasing, and debates related to AI and data privacy are also raging. The EU's GDPR was a key milestone, and the UK was even discussing the legal means for everyone to own their own data. There have been heated discussions about privacy issues in many forums. Dai Wenyuan believes that it is very important for everyone to respect privacy, but if you understand AI’s technical principles, it is not ‘invading’ privacy; to a certain extent, it is protecting privacy.

"In fact, AI does not need to know the privacy of the other party from the data, but needs to understand the knowledge, which means, it only recognizes the attributes of the user's clothing, food, housing, and transport, instead of the latitude information, such as users’ balance and personal privacy. Therefore, we have a lot of technologies which won’t invade personal users’ data privacy. Taking medical data as an example, it can be used after desensitization or with added noise, etc. In addition, the localization of technology is also a key issue in data privacy protection--- to let AI technology be in the hands of the company itself, instead of the companies that create AI and to avoid certain data risks.” Dai Wenyuan said.