【新浪财经】谢祖墀:从人工智能到增强智能

文 | 谢祖墀

人工智能会让人类社会变得更美好,它会让人类更了解“我们是谁?”这一宗教和哲学的终极命题

今年5 月,我受谷歌邀请参加了乌镇人工智能峰会,有幸听到了人工智能公司DeepMind 首席执行官杰米斯·哈萨比斯(Demis Hassabis)以及首席研究员大卫·席尔瓦(David Silver)的讲话,有两点感悟分享给大家:

第一,AlphaGo 战胜九段棋手李世石和世界排名第一棋手柯洁,其取胜原因不仅是因为它有先进的棋局大数据和搜索算法,更是因为它有深度学习和不断自我进步的能力。换言之,5 月与柯洁对阵的AlphaGo 已经比3 月对阵李世石的机器更加聪明。

第二,虽然失利,李世石和柯洁感叹AlphaGo 启发了他们新的围棋打法,也促进了人类棋手的进步。

在1956 年的达特茅斯会议中,“人工智能”的概念被正式提出。1980 年代,“反向传播”算法的出现使得大规模神经网络的训练成为可能。2006 年,随着杰弗里·辛顿(Geoffrey Hinton)提出“深度学习”神经网络概念,人工智能性能获得了突破性进展。如今,它已成为学术和商业世界的热门话题,不少人工智能应用也开始融入日常生活。为什么说人工智能进入了前所未有的高速发展期?我认为主要有以下原因:

广泛普及的互联网和各种智能设备产生的海量数据能够支持人工智能快速学习。
从中央处理器CPU 到图形处理器GPU,再到专为机器学习定制的张量处理单元TPU,计算机运算能力大幅提升,运营成本降低,使得人工智能规模化变成可能。
科学家不断改进人工智能算法,使其能够适应复杂的网络,提升运算效率。

在人工智能爆发前夜,不少科学家和学者亦做了大胆预言。奇点大学(Singularity University)执行董事长彼得·戴曼迪斯(Peter Diamandis)预测过去人类的线性增长模式,将被人工智能等新技术的“S型”指数级增长取代。人工智能专家斯图尔特·罗素(Stuart Russell)相信人工智能将发展成为协助人类的技术,机器通过观察和学习人类行为和其背后的价值观,最大化实现人类意志。著名物理学家加来道雄(Michio Kaku)也在演讲中提到未来所有的物品都将具有智能,并且通过网络实现互联互通,科技将大大改善人类生活,进化人类文明。

人工智能的出现可能为中国创造科技领域弯道超车的机会

过去几个世纪,中国在科技领域落后于先进国家,我认为人工智能的出现可能会改变这种局面,为中国创造科技领域弯道超车的机会。政策层面来看,《中国制造2025》、《机器人产业发展规划(2016-2020 年)》以及《“互联网+”人工智能三年行动实施方案》中,人工智能都被列入核心发展对象。

同时,大量中国公司和资本涌入,带来技术进步。比如百度正在尝试领导中国人工智能领域的发展,它正在研发从虚拟个人助理,无人驾驶到数字化医疗等不同场景的应用。新兴的人工智能公司出门问问,拥有自主语音识别、语义分析、垂直搜索技术,成立不久便获得谷歌和德国大众汽车战略投资。此外,百度、腾讯和滴滴出行等中国科技巨头以及若干中国初创企业均在美国设有人工智能实验室,招揽全球人才,大力发展尖端技术。根据白宫科技政策办公室数据,中国在深度学习领域发表论文和被引用数,2014 年起已成为世界第一。

另外一个非常重要的原因是中国七亿多互联网用户会产生大量使用数据,尤其在网络交易、智能医疗、移动出行等领域,为人工智能提供了快速学习和训练的机会。例如滴滴出行通过优化算法,学习乘客出行习惯,为其提供便捷的出行解决方案。

虽然中国在先进算法、智能设备和数据的准确性上落后于先进国家,但复杂的中国市场能产生多样的数据和应用场景,促进中国人工智能技术整体的进步,反哺海外,比如利用人工智能技术预测犯罪行为、协助发放贷款、通过无所不在的闭路摄像头缓解交通堵塞等。在中国政府和公司的长期投入下,中国有很大可能在人工智能领域全球领先。

对于擅于学习先进技术并创造新商业模式的中国企业,人工智能将会成为他们的新核心竞争力

我认为人工智能将会深入运用到不同行业中,正如曾建立谷歌大脑和百度大脑的吴恩达不久前在D.Live Asia 大会上提到,人工智能是未来的电力,它将颠覆不同行业,并极大提高生产效率和改善生产环境。我认为在人工智能的推动下,不同行业之间的边界会变得模糊,产生更多“水平型企业”(Horizontal Organization)。“水平型企业”以用户和用户数据为中心,借助人工智能将横向业务单元或伙伴企业连接起来,“跨界激活”不同领域的业务单元或企业,促进各个板块互联互通,形成生态系统,最终,为用户提供个性化服务,创造商业价值。例如谷歌由搜索引擎公司向覆盖多领域的高科技公司转型。通过将人工智能与其他业务融合,开拓多领域机会、扩大业务布局,为公司带来了创新产品和增长点。

综上所述,我相信未来不同行业的发展将围绕数据的获取、分析,以及科技的开发、利用展开。人工智能将带来新的范式转变,今天我们熟悉的“互联网+”数字化转型,明天就可能成为“AI +”人工智能转型。对于擅于学习先进技术并创造新商业模式的中国企业,人工智能将会成为他们的新核心竞争力。

根据一份牛津大学的问卷调查,人工智能在未来10-15 年将取代大量简单重复的人类劳动,这会给社会和经济带来巨大变化。如同新晋的NBA 总冠军金州勇士队利用大数据分析提升球员表现,伊隆·马斯克提出将人工智能与人合为一体,创造终极智慧生命体,人类长寿有限公司(Human Longevity,Inc.)运用人工智能分析人类基因,治愈疾病,延缓人类寿命。我认为人工智能并不会完全取代人类,站在人类的对立面上。人工智能(Artificial Intelligence) 更应是增强智能(Augmented Intelligence),增强人类理解世界并付诸行动的能力,实现人与广泛互联世界之间更有效地感知、管理和交互,进而发掘人脑潜能,进化人类。

在阿里巴巴主席马云看来,人工智能在围棋里不会犯错,丧失了犯错所带来的乐趣。但是,正是蚂蚁金服在人工智能领域的大力投入,未来才可能为全球用户提供普惠的金融生活服务。人类不可能在计算、储存、理性、持久度上胜过人工智能,但人类富有感情、同理心和创造力,这些都是难以取代的。人工智能会让人类社会变得更美好,我认为它会让人类更了解“我们是谁?”这一宗教和哲学的终极命题。但是,科技也是一把双刃剑,它可能使未来世界变得更加不可预测。

1641 年,著名法国哲学家笛卡尔提出了哲学命题“我思故我在”,成为人类认识论的起点,存在是思考的必要条件。如今,计算机的指数式发展使得“思考”的意义被重新定义。人工智能时代必然来临,将为“我是谁?我从哪里来?我要到哪里去?”的经典哲学难题带来新维度和可能性。

本文发布于新浪财经,原文摘自《亚布力观点》(2017年6月刊)并保留所有权利
(注:本文图片均来自网络)

关于作者:
谢祖墀博士(Dr. Edward Tse)是高风管理咨询公司(Gao Feng Advisory Company)的创始人兼首席执行官。中国管理咨询业的先行者。过去的20年里,他创立并领导了两大国际管理咨询公司在大中华区的业务。外界评价他为“中国的全球领先商业战略家”和 “谢博士之于中国企业界就如大前研一之于日本企业界”。他曾为数以百计的公司(总部设在中国及其它地区)咨询过所有关键战略和管理方面的业务,涉及中国的各个方面和中国在全球的地位。他还为中国政府在战略、国有企业改革和中国企业走出国门等方面做过咨询。他已发表200多篇文章并出版了4本书,其中包括于国际获奖的《中国战略》和《创业家精神》。谢博士获得了加州大学伯克利分校工程学博士、MBA以及麻省理工学院的工程学学士、硕士。

 

China’s Tech Companies Seek Profits in the Medical Industry

By Dr. Edward Tse and Jason Zhang
May 4, 2017

Aging societies are driving growth in innovation and new business models

China’s health care industry is infected. Not with some lingering malaise, but with a passion for high technology that promises a cure for the problems of a rapidly graying population.

The widespread application of advanced technology, such as artificial intelligence, big data and the internet of things (IoT), is transforming how the country views health care.

With the largest online population in the world, a vibrant startup and venture capital ecosystem, and growing demand for healthy lifestyles, China has seen explosive growth in both technology and innovative business models. The numerous problems with health care — lack of qualified doctors, disparity in distribution, and inefficient hospital operations, to name a few — are actually seen as sources of opportunity by a new generation of players.

But given the dynamism of China’s market and abundance of disruptive technology, incremental strategy is no longer sufficient for companies to succeed in this environment. Traditional competitors are being tested, and new types of players are constantly emerging.

The winners will be companies that develop game-changing strategies by challenging business-as-usual assumptions. These companies leverage technologies to develop radically new solutions that address major problems. In this way, they create paradigm shifts by exploring new markets and finding new ways to compete.

GAME CHANGERS

A number of Chinese startups have established themselves in the connected health arena, which fuses IoT technologies with the traditional health care sector. For example, WeDoctor, an online portal, focuses on hospital appointment services. Ali Health, a subsidiary of Alibaba Group Holding, is now a leading pharmaceutical e-commerce platform. And Chunyu Doctor provides a telemedicine platform for remote doctor consultation.

These companies have adopted an incremental strategy to alleviate problems in the health care industry.

The game-changers, however, are those like Shenzhen-based iCarbonX. The company has teamed up with seven other technology companies around the world to gather different types of health data; everything from metabolites and bacteria to sleep hours, fatigue and pain levels. It then uses AI to sift through the data. Based on the analysis, a digital avatar will tell the user what to eat, when to sleep and what activities they should be doing. Established in 2015, the company has raised $600 million in funding, as investors zero in on precision medicine, precision nutrition and other extended preventive measures.

Zhejiang POCTech Medical Corp. is also an interesting company to watch. It has developed a wearable device that enables continuous glucose monitoring. Using biosensors that gather information through 3,000 sensor data points updated every three minutes, the device allows doctors to diagnose and treat diabetes patients more accurately. China is the world’s largest market for diabetes-related medical products.

Source: Zhejiang POCTech Medical Corp. website

TAKING ON THE WORLD

After decades of its one-child policy, during which life expectancy rose and fertility rates fell, the country will soon find itself with more seniors than it can adequately care for. But China’s rapid embrace of a technological revolution in health care offers a rich breeding ground for a range of technology innovations that could have global significance.

Being aware of the many opportunities ahead, Chinese entrepreneurs will remain overwhelmingly positive. As Wang Jun, the founder and CEO of iCarbonX, said: “We represent a new model of an international Chinese organization. China has a legitimate shot to be a lead player on the international stage. Our technology can change the world.”

Edward Tse is founder and CEO of Gao Feng Advisory Co., a global strategy and management consulting firm, and the author of “China’s Disruptors.”
Jason Zhang is a Senior Associate of the firm.

 

China Daily | Pillars of Business Diplomacy

Monday, April 17, 2017
By Chen Yingqun in Beijing

Led by Jack Ma, elite entrepreneur club is building trust overseas to help Chinese firms extend global reach

Not only are they China’s most famous business leaders, they are also important envoys of public diplomacy eager to spread the word globally about the country and its thriving entrepreneurship.

Since 2011, the China Entrepreneur Club has made 12 overseas visits to countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy. At each destination, members engage with the highest echelons of government and leading companies and entrepreneurs to discuss a wide range of issues.

During Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s visit to China last August, his first public event was a meeting with the club. And in late 2015, French President Francois Hollande attended a breakfast meeting with them in Beijing during a state visit.

Zhao Qizheng, former minister of China’s State Council Information Office, has said he considers the club’s members “the business pillars of China’s public diplomacy”.

Established in 2006, the China Entrepreneur Club comprises 60 members made up of economists, scholars and founders of Chinese private companies. Their combined annual gross income is more than 3 trillion yuan (US$435 billion).

Jack Ma, founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba, succeeded Liu Chuanzhi, founder of the world’s largest PC maker Lenovo, to become the club’s chairman last May.

International visits are important annual events for Chinese companies on the lookout for overseas knowledge and opportunities, said Maggie Cheng, secretary-general of the club.

Last year, nonfinancial direct investment overseas by Chinese investors totaled US$170.1 billion, up 44.1 percent from the previous year, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

Cheng said the club works as a key platform to serve these entrepreneurs and to promote entrepreneurship in China. Its members all started their own businesses after the country’s reform and opening-up in the 1980s, and their companies rank in the top three in their specific industries.

A set of standards is in place for members joining the club: Their companies’ revenues must be worth tens or hundreds of billions of yuan; they must be leaders in their industries; and they must have a special approach to management, with involvement in corporate social responsibility programs, philanthropy and charity activities.

Even 10 years or so ago, when the engagement of Chinese companies around the world was relatively limited, many of those represented by the club had set out to test the waters overseas.

“We saw that in the process of globalization, Chinese companies were encountering very similar issues, such as complying with local regulations, market access and cultural integration,” Cheng said.

“We realized that the root of these problems was that there was this huge information gap between China and the world.”

Overcoming obstacles
Decades after China’s reform and opening-up, she added, the West recognizes China’s rapid economic growth but fails to understand the business dealings behind it all.

“So when it comes to entities in China collaborating with entities overseas, there are still many obstacles.”

The club’s international visits are a tool to communicate with the Western business world and to enhance understanding, Cheng said.

Ma Weihua, president of the China Entrepreneur Club and former head of China Merchants Bank, said he was highly impressed when he took part in the club’s visit to the UK in 2012.

During this trip, Chinese entrepreneurs and UK researchers and businesspeople at the Needham Research Institute in London discussed whether China’s institutional and economic systems were up to the challenge of promoting modern technological development.

“The British people raised many questions with us about China’s technological innovation, and we explained many things by drawing on personal experience,” Ma said.

The Chinese delegation gained a new perspective from the discussions, he said. “The way the idea sparks collided with one another was really impressive.”

Ma said that in visits arranged by the club, the Chinese businesspeople are always very astute when discussing issues such as visas and the business environment, and also with their explanations of how business in China operates.

When the club made its first visit to the US, many had no idea who these Chinese entrepreneurs were, let alone had much inclination to meet them.

“We really wanted to make an impact and bring about change, not just indulge in courtesy meetings. We wanted to broach important issues, and we needed to explain who we were, what the club was, what we were doing and why we were doing it.”

Cheng said that many businesspeople in the West were eager to learn more about Chinese business.

“The tales of Chinese entrepreneurs building their business empires from scratch are well-known in China, but few outside the country know these stories.”

She said a level of distrust was very likely when entrepreneurs were seeking potential overseas partners to work with.

“People might also have thought China was so far away and a little mysterious, and that one of the only things it could offer was low-end manufacturing. What we were able to do was set out the facts with these people face-to-face and sound out their views.”

The secret to success for businesspeople in China and elsewhere is identical, Cheng said.

“To be trusted you need to produce better products and offer better services, do well in competitive markets, respect competitors and customers, and take heed of the interests of all parties concerned.”

Ma, the club’s president, said that many businesspeople around the world are willing to participate in the club’s outreach activities, finding them invaluable.

“As individuals, most of us are unable to meet with that many people from the government and business worlds overseas, but as a group we can exercise influence,” he said.

“In these visits we can have candid discussions with people, some of whom may eventually become our business partners.”

Strong skill sets
Ma said all members of the club have strong entrepreneurial skills, can adapt to a changing business environment, have the desire to be innovative, are honest and trustworthy, have a sense of responsibility and are keen to repay society for their success.

Going global is a common challenge for Chinese entrepreneurs because the country’s economy is now so interconnected with the rest of the world, he said. Every company big or small, whether it makes products or provides services, needs global connections directly or indirectly.

“I’m very proud to be in a club in which I can learn so much by communicating with others,” Ma said. “When you are alone with no role model it is difficult to succeed. We are entrepreneurs, but we are also doing public diplomacy. I think Chinese
businesspeople could be good ambassadors to explain China to the world.”

The club also provides good opportunities for Chinese entrepreneurs to let the world know their ambitions, capabilities and the latest innovations they are working on.
Steve Tappin, CEO and founder of Xinfu, a consultancy that advises CEOs, said the China Entrepreneur Club plays a vital role as a bridge between China and the world.

The English businessman said that when he first met many of the top Chinese entrepreneurs, cultural and linguistic differences made it challenging to connect.
He recalled introducing Stephen Murphy, the former Virgin Group CEO, to Guo Guangchang, founder and chairman of Chinese conglomerate Fosun Group.

“It was not easy for them to deal with one another even though they were both outstanding businessmen.”

Nowadays it is very different, Tappin said.

“Guo has transformed himself by working hard on his English, his inner world via tai chi, and his understanding of global business dynamics. Western leaders need to make similar efforts to be successful in China.”

Cheng said that in the future, one key target for the club will be to consistently promote the globalization of Chinese entrepreneurs, “because we all believe that commercial competition cannot always be regional”.

“Strong companies need to face global competition,” she said.

The club is planning another event in the US later this year, she said.

Edward Tse, founder and CEO of Gao Feng Advisory Company, said that Western political and business circles are generally skeptical about dealings with China.

Moreover, many in the West think that China’s economy or companies are mainly State-owned and generally underestimate their value.

Tse said it would be of great benefit for more groups of Chinese entrepreneurs to communicate with influential businesspeople overseas. This would help both sides understand each other, he added.

“Entrepreneurs could represent China and explain its situation to the world. That would help change views about its companies and people, something that Chinese entrepreneurs need to keep doing.”