In a first, Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba on Wednesday opened its first ever joint Artificial Intelligence (AI) research center outside Mainland China. The venue is Singapore, and Alibaba will be operating this artificial intelligence research institute in partnership with the local university Nanyang Technological University (NTU).
Speaking on the initiative, Alibaba’s CTO Jeff Zhang said that this joint research and collaborative efforts were result of Alibaba’s DAMO Academy, which was kick-started last year. The central purpose of this joint AI driven research is to resolve social issues pertaining to elderly people and urban transportation problems.
The elderly problem is especially one of the raging and sensitive social challenges currently posing the Singapore society. This AI driven joint research will help in developing robotic companion for the elderly people. It will also try to create sensors that can help in diagnosing problems/diseases beforehand.
Singapore currently has a population of roughly 5.6 million people and elderly people constitute the majority. This has not only caused social problem but also economic woes for Singapore, since it is creating a huge labor problem for the Asian country.
Meanwhile, this project marks yet another AI push by a leading global tech giant. Currently, many well-known tech companies including Google, Microsoft and Apple are trying to harness AI’s potential in order to create better products and vital breakthrough in R&D.
Even Chinese companies are not lagging behind in their pursuit to adapt AI. Apart from Alibaba, Tencnet and search giant Baidu have already taken big strides on the front of AI research. In fact, the Chinese government has made it point that the Asian country does not lag behind in AI race. Last year, the country’s communist government unveiled its AI vision, wherein it has laid a roadmap on how it can catch up with west in the ongoing AI race.