Robin Li (front center), CEO of Baidu Inc, and Lei Jun (front right), founder and CEO of Xiaomi Corp, at the 4th World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province. [Photo by Zou Hong/China Daily]
Artificial intelligence will play an important role in reshaping an array of major industries such as retail, manufacturing and healthcare.
Leading senior executives told the 4th World Internet Conference on Monday that rapid technological changes will transform companies and society.
Robin Li, CEO of Baidu Inc, felt that in comparison with mobile internet technology, which revolutionized consumer services, AI will have a far bigger influence on how companies run their businesses.
"For instance, Baidu is leveraging AI to help supermarkets better manage their supply of fresh food, by analyzing and predicting which products are most popular," said Li, who runs China's largest search engine.
He pointed out that such solutions had effectively reduced food waste and boosted the profit growth at pilot stores.
In other sectors, AI can be used to help coal mining companies reduce accidents by bringing in precautionary measures, while steel mills will be able to automatically check product defects.
Li's comments came as China starts to accelerate artificial intelligence applications in manufacturing, healthcare, automobile, consumer electronics and other key sectors.
In July, the country unveiled a national development plan to build a 1 trillion yuan ($151 billion) AI core industry by 2030. This is supposed to stimulate as much as 10 trillion yuan in related businesses.