Founder and CEO of Baidu Robin Li spoke on Thursday at the Baidu World Conference 2016 in Beijing, introducing the four major parts that make up the Baidu Brain.

“Gone is the era of PC, and soon will we say goodbye to the era of mobile internet,” said Li. “We believe that coming is the era of artificial intelligence (AI), which to us is the Baidu Brain.”

With Baidu’s leading capabilities in algorithms, computing, and data, the Baidu Brain covers fields including voice recognition and synthesis, image recognition, natural language processing, and user profiling.

Speaking of AI, it could be said that voice recognition and synthesis is a mostly mature field. With a recognition rate of 97%, Baidu receives about 250 voice recognition requests daily. According to Li, most requests come from users who prefer to listen, instead of reading, online novels – and the audio version of novels could be customized to the voice that a user likes. Li said that Baidu can now build a voice model for anyone – all you need to do is to speak 50 sentences. “Next time you have to work late at office, your kid could fall asleep listening to a story that is read by your voice,” anounced Li, smiling.

Image recognition is also reasonably mature now. Baidu has applied this technology into augmented reality (AR), Baidu Maps, facial recognition with a recognition rate of 99.7%, and autonomous driving vehicles.

Although natural language processing is relatively less developed than the above two fields, it is nevertheless already applicable to scenarios such as making sports commentary, and translating and interpreting. Baidu Translation is now capable of translating between 27 languages.

User profiling has only recently been considered as a field under AI thanks to the use of big data and machine learning. Baidu has built a portrait pool of over one billion users, according to Li.

Chief scientist at Baidu Andrew Ng said that Baidu’s deep learning platform PaddlePaddle will be open to third parties this month.

The discovery and use of electricity has changed the world, and AI is the next electricity, as Baidu sees it.

(image taken from Baidu image)

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Ke graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a Master's Degree in English and has worked on projects with Ipsos MORI and SDI Media. She's particularly intrigued by China's thriving technology scene and is eager to write about this flourishing industry.

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