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“New Infrastructure” Plan Will Facilitate the Arrival of an Intelligent Economy and Society, Says Robin Li at WAIC

Baidu's chief says AI is progressing through three stages of historical development and will eventually transform entire industries

 Robin Li, the co-founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Baidu, set out his elaborate vision for the future of AI during a keynote speech at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC). Li said that new infrastructure will accelerate the intelligent transformation of various industries, with Baidu playing a key role in this process through its open-source AI platforms that can empower other organizations to adopt AI applications. Li also believes that the development of AI is only in the middle stage of a three-stage historical trajectory, but that AI has already demonstrated its potential to transform economies and societies.

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In line with this year’s WAIC theme “Intelligent Connectivity, Indivisible Community”, Li spoke about the impactful role AI is playing, and will play, in tackling the world’s biggest problems, including the COVID-19 pandemic, economic stagnation, and widespread unemployment. Li stated that the ongoing development of new infrastructure will facilitate the widespread application of AI, which will boost efficiency in transportation, energy, health care, and other fields, driving economic growth. Likening it to the U.S. information superhighway concept of the 1990s that ushered in the internet age, Li said that China’s “New Infrastructure” plan should be seen as “the largest-scale infrastructure expansion engineering project” for supporting intelligent transformation and “has great potential to bring about comprehensive AI in China.”

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Li explained that Baidu aims to make a significant contribution to the building of new infrastructure. Baidu has invested heavily in developing AI platforms—such as the deep learning open platform PaddlePaddle, Baidu Cloud, AI open platform Baidu Brain, and the Apollo autonomous driving platform—all of which will enable other organizations to adopt AI applications. Baidu recently announced plans to deploy 5 million intelligent cloud servers by 2030 and train 5 million AI experts in the next 5 years.

“As an AI platform company that is focused on empowering other organizations, Baidu hopes that every enterprise, no matter how small, is able to use capabilities and services provided by our platforms, just like they were water and electricity, to quickly and easily realize intelligent transformation,” Li said.

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