Nobel Laureates, Alibaba CEO Discuss Role of AI at Work

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Nobel Laureates, Alibaba CEO Discuss Role of AI at Work

  • AI will help to reduce people’s working hours
  • Employers must invest in technology training for employees as AI use grows

Speakers on stage at Luohan Academy's Digital Economy Conference in Hanghzou.Photo credit: Alibaba Group

Three Nobel Prize winners weighed up the opportunities afforded by AI during a panel led by Alibaba Group CEO and Chairman Daniel Zhang on Tuesday.

The discussion was part of the annual Digital Economy Conference hosted by Alibaba’s collaborative open-research institute Luohan Academy in Hangzhou. The three speakers are also Luohan Academy Committee Members.

Founded in 2018, the institute works in collaboration with scientists from around the world to study the social and economic effects of emerging technologies like generative AI, which can be used to create new content from videos to text.

This technology may help shorten working hours, according to 2001 Nobel Laureate Michael Spence, who joined Zhang on stage.

“This will be a very important long-term trend,” Spence told the audience.

Christopher Pissarides, who was awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, highlighted the importance of employee training to understand the AI technologies they will be working with in the future.

This may even give rise to a new industry of “artificial intelligence consulting companies,” Eric Maskin, the winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, chimed in.

More businesses are deploying AI at work.

Earlier this year, Alibaba’s cloud computing subsidiary Alibaba Cloud rolled out a large language model called Tongyi Qianwen to help corporate users with simple tasks like automated meeting transcription to capture key talking points.

“As we gradually integrate the Tongyi Qianwen model into our products and services, we hope users can reap the benefits from these compelling AI innovations for their work, study, play and interaction with each other,” said Zhou Jingren, CTO of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence, in a statement this month.  

In the future, incorporating this type of technology could be non-negotiable for businesses.

If your company fails to keep pace with budding AI technology, “you may be the loser for the next generation,” Zhang said during Siemens’ annual Digital Economy Forum last week.

Zhang announced earlier this week he would step down as Chairman and CEO of Alibaba Group to dedicate his full attention to Alibaba Cloud Intelligence Group, which is exploring the potential of AI technology.

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AIAlibaba CloudAlibaba GroupDaniel ZhangLuohan AcademyTechnology
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