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~Jon Russell

China’s largest search engine Baidu is planning to work with Indian institutions on “intelligent economy”, announced Baidu CEO and Chairman Robin Li, who is also the Co-Founder of Chinese search engine. An Intelligent Economy can be defined as economy driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI) or Human-Machine interaction such as using AI-based virtual assistant to open bank accounts or personal assistants for students.

According to estimates by a McKinsey report, AI could add around 16% or $13 trillion to global output by 2030.

Speaking at tech fest Shaastra 2020 event held at IIT Madras, in Chennai, on January 4, Li said “Baidu is looking to work with Indian institutions in future to make a better world through innovation”.

Li was not very specific to Baidu’s commitment in India, though he said –

India is one of the fastest growing smartphone markets in the world, and very large developing country, right next to China. Both the countries have been growing at a fast pace in the last few decades. “For the next decade, we will be more optimistic.

Once in the age of AI, search will be very different from what is seen today. Once we transform the search into a different product, we will be ready to launch that internationally

Li, who is also the creator of search technology Hyperlink Analysis, said that the previous decade was that of the Internet but the coming decade is that of intelligent economy with new modes of human-machine interaction. AI is transforming a lot of industries for higher efficiency and lower services. For instance, banks are finding it difficult to open branches but virtual assistant is used to open an account. Customers are more comfortable with virtual person than a real person.

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In the education sector, every student can have a personal assistant while the pharma industry accelerate the pace of drug development with many start-ups already doing this. AI is also transforming transportation by helping reduction in traffic delays by 20-30 per cent, he said.

Founded in 2000, Baidu offers several Google-like services but uses Chinese-language search terms. Baidu had also led a US$12 billion worth of joint investment with Alibaba Group, Tencent, JD.com and Didi Chuxing in China Unicom, a Chinese state-owned telecommunications operator of China.

In 2016, Baidu open sourced its PaddlePaddle deep learning platform , which Baidu claims is a machine translation program that need less code when compared to other famously used deep learning platforms.

According to Li, AI Baidu helped in finding missing people in China and 9,000 missing people have been found already. Li said “AI can make one immortal. When everything about you can be digitised, computers can learn all about you, creating a digital copy of anyone.”

The name “Baidu” was inspired by a Chinese poem written more than 800 years ago during the Song Dynasty. The poem compares the search for a retreating beauty amid chaotic glamour with the search for one’s dream while confronted by life’s many obstacles. The poem goes like — “…hundreds and thousands of times, for her I searched in chaos, suddenly, I turned by chance, to where the lights were waning, and there she stood.”

Baidu, whose literal meaning is “hundreds of times”, represents a persistent search for the ideal.

Via ~ Business Line

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