NEWSROOM AT AI ASIA 2017

Would you care to share an Artificial Intelligence success story with our A.I community?

There are many stories that I can share across Asia. The ones that have the most impact on me are the ones that have helped improve people’s lives.

 

In healthcare services, for instance, we have Doctor2U, a digital health app developed by ALI Health, a member of the BP Healthcare Group of companies. Doctor2U uses Microsoft’s intelligent cloud services to integrate AI and machine learning to harness data insights and deliver more effective treatment plans for patients. Built on Microsoft Azure, Doctor2U uses Microsoft’s bot framework that allows users to chat with doctors, pharmacists, and nutritionists.

 

Another example is Volpara out of New Zealand. Volpara reduces mortality from breast cancer by

using machine learning to train from a large sample set of images to aid in early breast cancer detection from mammograms.

 

Our final example is Parasitica, a student tech project out of Bangladesh. Parasitica recently made it to the quarter finals of the Microsoft Imagine Cup with their machine learning platform, which was developed to detect tuberculosis and malaria from photographs taken from patient samples in remote locations. To improve the effectiveness of their model, Parasitica is partnering with the national TB and Malaria organization of Bangladesh to access more training images. The success of the service will enable patients to go straight from a photo to treatment, and not have to wait days or weeks for samples to be sent off and the inevitable wait for test results to be returned.

 

I have my own AI story as well. I have been tracking my personal health data using wearable technologies over the last four years. Tracking this information in combination with Microsoft Machine Learning has helped me move from asking reactive questions about my health and fitness ("what happened?" and "why did it happen?") to developing a more proactive stance. I now get a SMS message pushed to me when I am overdoing it or starting to get sick so I can adjust my behaviors and improve my health.

 

 

How has A.I evolved over the years? What does it signify in Asia?

The last five years has seen a breakthrough in deep learning. This breakthrough in deep learning is driving what we consider the latest AI boom. Deep learning is powered by deep adaptive neural networks that are modeled from the operation of neurons in the human brain. Deep learning requires a lot of resources to build and train a model but once trained the output can be accessible through standard endpoints like web services or on edge devices like cars and mobile phones.

 

The advent of cloud computing and access to vast amounts of computing power has helped transition deep learning from the lab and into the hands of businesses and individuals. Deep learning unlocks exciting new areas for AI. For instance, we're seeing the development of autonomous vehicles that can see the road and the traffic around them, and also projects like the seeing AI, which can narrate the world for the low vision community.

 

The AI evolution provides significant opportunities for people and organizations in Asia. Imagine what it would mean for our region if we could all understand each other? Microsoft Translator now enables up to 100 people speaking nine different languages to converse together in real-time. Although the work on natural language processing started almost 30 years ago, it has only been in the last year that we have seen the significant breakthroughs that make universal translation a reality.

 

Human trafficking remains the fastest growing criminal enterprise today. The number of men, women and children who end up victims of trafficking and exploitation the world over amount to nearly 21 million individuals. Asia-Pacific’s share accounts for a whopping 11.7 million, or over half the global number. Microsoft is partnering with Winrock International, a leading non-profit organization dedicated to improving lives and empowering the disadvantaged, to provide the USAID Asia Counter Trafficking in Persons (USAID Asia CTIP) program with the technical expertise, including new artificial intelligence services needed to address this issue.

 

 

If there is an advice for key leaders to prepare for the fast-changing world, due to the advancement of A.I, what would it be?

I encourage leaders to embrace AI but to do so with open eyes and open minds, and respect a set of design principles. Hollywood has created fear of the notion of intelligent machines in a comparable way to how they have created an innate fear of sharks.

 

People and machines bring different attributes to the table. People have creativity, empathy, and emotion. Machines can reason when provided with vast amounts of data and detect patterns that no human can discern.

 

Machines can augment and expand human capability in ways that are both tangible, and magical. Artificial Intelligence is teaching computers to be more human and this technology may ultimately make us better humans. It will give us “superpowers” to meet challenges of all kinds – including some of our biggest ones.

 

We must, however, follow some essential design principles. AI must be transparent and secure, set the highest bar for protecting privacy, while also being inclusive and respectful to all. Microsoft has five core AI design principles:

·       AI must be transparent

·       AI must maximize efficiencies without destroying the dignity of people

·       AI must be designed for privacy

·       AI must have algorithmic accountability

·       AI must guard against bias, ensuring representative research that doesn’t discriminate.

 

We seek to design technology that complements rather than substitutes human labor. We encourage business leaders to replace the labor-saving and automation mindset with a maker and creation mindset, and innovate with business models that will ensure their companies thrive in an AI world.

 

 

 

BACK TO NEWSROOM

 

Nigel Parker

Director, Technology Evangelism

 

Microsoft

 

 

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