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Humanizing robots


02-21-2017 08:19 BJT

We all use machines to help our daily lives, but how smart could they get and how close are they to our daily lives? China's artificial intelligence industry is embracing new momentum, with many enterpreneurs coming in with high hope.

This is a popular television contest between human and machines. They are trying to recognize one performer by using only pictures taken when she was a child. And eventually, the robot beat human.

The droid’s face recognition skill is one function of AI, or artificial intelligence, which analysts say, enables machines to behave like humans.

"Artificial intelligence has four functions - enable machines to think and make decisions, to see, to listen, and to walk and fly. These four aspects are supporting one another and interrelated," Zhang Yun, analyst with Ireserach Consulting Corp., said.

Gao said making machines smart is an old idea. But a wave of emerging technologies has lifted the industry since 2012, enabling robots to do things unforeseeable before.

"The robot we want to build must be useful, must be hard requirement."

Bill Huang is hoping to make something that could replace human power.

The veteran technician turned entrepreneur has held key positions for the world's leading telecom companies, including China Mobile Research Institute, UTStarcom, and AT&T Bell Labs.

"Many companies and organizations have tried in the past to provide blind guiding functions. What they are missing, is the cloud. by having this cloud robot. By connecting to the handset. The handset would back all the signal. video image, all the surrounding object," Huang said.

Huang said the cloud based robot is due within the year.

The upheaval also draws attention from young entrepreneurs. Gavin Young, a Ph. D in material science, decided to quit the job in Wall Street and seize the opportunity. His mission now is to build the operating system for other robot makers.

"I think the robot industry is facing a low-end trend, as many robot companies do not have their own technology. We hope to use our built-in AI technology to solve the issue. Plus, our business model is quite necessary. The industry chain is rather long-including research and development, making viable products, and sales and marketing. Nobody is able to cover the whole chain efficiently. So we decide to cover the core system's development while our clients cover the application," Young said.

This one and half year old start-up is having its third version of the its core products,- miivii brains, and has plans to expand from consumer service to new territory.

And the big fish in the pond.

Baidu has been laying the ground in the sector for years, including global research centers, talent recruitment, as well as mergers and acquisitions.

General manager for Duer business Eric Jing said 2017 could be a breakthrough year for AI consumer market.

"To B scenario, health-care, financing hugely improved by AI technology. Tremendous potential in consumer market.... 2017 will be the year for conversational computer, use natural language, using voice," Jing said.

Jing said the AI technology is just like electricity more than 100 years ago, which ushered human beings into a new industrial era.

Nobody could fathom how large the industry could become. But the potential is huge.

According to the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planner, the country plans to speed up the development of its A-I sector and create a market worth more than 15 billion US dollars by 2018. For individuals, experts say it is possible that every household will have a robot in the future.

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