Co-organised by Wisers AI Lab and Hong Kong Society of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (HKSAIR), the first Hong Kong AI Forum on Language Technology was held at The Park Lane Hong Kong on 26 October, 2018. International and local experts and scholars were invited to share the latest research findings in the field of AI-based language technology and discuss opportunities and challenges in the application and commercialisation of AI technologies.
Wisers Information Limited, a Hong Kong-based world-leading provider of Chinese all-media big data intelligence with twenty years’ track record of technology innovation, was the sole sponsor of this event. The Forum also received the support from the Department of Systems Engineering & Engineering Management of The Chinese University of Hong Kong, WeChat-HKUST Joint Laboratory on Artificial Intelligence Technology (WHAT), Hong Kong Productivity Council, Guangdong Intelligent Innovation Association and Shenzhen Big data Industry Association.
“The explosion in the amount of Chinese language data produced every hour, and the increasing need for businesses, academics and governments to organize it and discover insights is driving a new wave of innovation and applications,” said Dr. Chao HE, Founder and Director of Wisers AI Lab. “The Forum, complimentary to the public, provides an opportunity for the Hong Kong AI community to gather and share research and perspectives on natural language processing and semantic analysis.”
The Forum has attracted close to 250 attendees, including AI practitioners and business decision-makers, as well as researchers. Of the participants, 16% were C-level executives; 26% vice presidents, directors and department heads; 29% data scientists, algorithm engineers and software engineers; and 5% students. Many participants described the forum as a rare opportunity in Hong Kong to have an in-depth yet interesting coverage on AI topics, and many said they walked away being more empowered and confident in applying AI technologies.
Dr. HE announced the forum open, followed by Dr. Qifeng LIU, Executive Vice Chairman of HKSAIR and Ms. Denise CHE, CEO of Wisers Information Limited, each giving a speech to express their support to the Forum and their confidence in Hong Kong AI development, especially in language technology.
Amazon top-selling AI book author Professor Tom GRIFFITHS, Director of the Computational Cognitive Science Lab at Princeton University, a world-renowned AI expert, enlightened the audience with the latest development of “Meta Learning and Meta Reasoning”, which allows machines to learn of learning and reason of reasoning processes themselves, from the perspectives of cognitive science and learning theories. His in-depth yet intuitive presentation style allowed even general audience to understand the concept of sophisticated learning theories.
In his talk “AI for Media Intelligence”, Dr. Chao HE explained how to utilise AI technologies, especially natural language processing, semantic analysis and image recognition, to automatically analyse and identify valuable information underlying big media data, with informative examples. He also shed light on how these technologies can facilitate the government, media and enterprises in marketing, business opportunities discovery, investment advisory and risk management. The audience showed a particular interest in how Wisers AI Lab overcame research barriers in AI application, which could serve as an invaluable experience for other companies doing research in the field.
Prof. Helen MENG from the Chinese University of Hong Kong spoke about “AI in Machine Listening and Speaking for Learning and Wellbeing”. She thoroughly reviewed how speech processing and recognition technologies can improve people’s learning experience and quality of life. Her demonstration of an AI-based syntactic correction technology capable of producing natural conversational speech for people with speech impairment was particularly impressive and encouraging, which allows us to foresee that more advanced AI applications for improving human’s wellbeing will arise.
The panel discussion on “The Opportunities and Challenges of Language Technology & Its Commercialisation” was moderated by Dr. HE. Joining the discussion were Prof. GRIFFITHS, Prof. MENG, Mr. Stephen LANGLEY, Head of Data Analytics Group, Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), and Ms. Denise CHE, CEO of Wisers. They discussed and engaged with the audience on the topics related to the development and application of AI in computational linguistics, as well as the opportunities and challenges of Hong Kong in the AI era from both academic and industrial perspectives. Mr. LANGLEY shared SFC’s experiences in applying natural language processing and big data technology in financial regulatory scenarios. Ms. CHE elaborated on Wisers’ 20-year experience in Chinese media data analysis to help businesses make smart decisions.
The forum was also graced by Mr. Yin ZHANG, Executive Vice Chairman of Guangdong Intelligent Innovation Association, showing Guangdong AI community’s support to this event. After the Forum, the guests mixed and mingled, exchanging ideas and views on technical innovation and resource integration in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
Established in Hong Kong in July 2014, Wisers AI Lab is dedicated to the research and development of innovative AI technologies for addressing challenges in automated analysis and mining of diversified real-world open-domain cross-media big data. The Lab was awarded HK$8.53 million from the Innovation and Technology Fund of the HKSAR government in April 2016 to pursue this path. The team is composed of scientists and engineers specialising in AI or computational linguistics with PhD or Master Degrees from major international universities. The Automatic Summarisation technology of Wisers AI Lab won the Champion in Automatic Document Summarisation Competition 2018 organised by the International Conference on Natural Language Processing and Chinese Computing (NLPCC 2018), standing out from 18 participating teams across top domestic institutions and corporate research institutions.
Hong Kong Society of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (HKSAIR) focuses on transforming academic research on artificial intelligence and robotics into valuable business and building joint projects in Hong Kong. The society closely collaborates with both the academia and industry, aiming to build an ecosystem involving government planning, academic research, product development and commercial application. Since established, HKSAIR has support from people of all circles, especially Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and a number of academicians of Chinese Academy of Engineering. HKSAIR sees itself as “4-connectors”: communicating with government and regulatory agencies on behalf of academia and industry, building academia-industry partnership, creating an educational training system to engage young talents and corporates, and closely collaborating with Hong Kong and Big Bay areas, which are also critical issues people need to figure out in developing innovative technology of AI and robotics in Hong Kong.