(Yicai Global) July 13 -- Artificial intelligence (AI) is the mainstream of future world economic development.
The internet is by contrast only the appetizer, Robin Li, founder of Baidu, China's largest search engine, said recently
Li made this prediction in a July 11 speech he delivered to students at Shanxi University.
Innovation in information technology has mainly driven world economic growth in the past 40 years, but the internet industry, which is still growing, is only the appetizer, and artificial intelligence is the main course," Li said.
"Artificial intelligence is more fundamental for change in human society. The internet is just improved efficiency, while artificial intelligence renders the impossible possible," Li said.
On driverless car technologies -- one of AI's applications -- Li said that driverless vehicles will greatly disrupt existing society. "When driverless car technology matures, it's bound to be safer than human drivers," he opined.
"When driverless cars one day become truly mainstream, most people's lives can basically be ensured. Both its economic and social significance is huge," he said.
"The Chinese perform outstandingly in the research and development of artificial intelligence," Li noted, adding that, "Chinese now make up 43 percent of authors of AI-related articles worldwide, and China's AI patent applications are growing at a swift rate."
Both the proportion of young and middle-aged AI talent and the proportion with higher education is larger in China than the US. To continue in the lead, students should exercise interdisciplinary thinking and develop comprehensive ability.
Baidu published more than 2,000 Chinese patent applications in the field of artificial intelligence, he said. "Last year, the number of AI-related patents for which Baidu applied was more than the entire country of Japan did in one year," Li said.