IFlytek Co Ltd, a Chinese company that develops Siri-like speech and language technology, confirmed on Dec 18 that it will build the country’s first national lab of cognitive computing, in an effort to propel China’s AI research forward.
“Our lab will carry out two major research projects. We will study cognitive computing based on current deep learning technologies and analyze how humans construct and use their knowledge network,” Hu Guoping, vice-president of the company, told Thepaper.cn.
According to the company’s official website, the construction of the lab has already been approved by China’s Ministry of Science and Technology. The lab is expected to conduct research on cognitive reasoning, the auto-construction of knowledge networks, as well as human-machine interaction.
Dealing with symbolic and conceptual information rather than just pure data or sensor streams, cognitive computing aims to help machines improve their capability in reasoning and understanding, therefore it is widely recognized as the most sophisticated form of AI technology.
“Computers have already surpassed humans when it comes to calculating and sensory abilities, but they still cannot fully understand natural language, or conduct logical reasoning,” said Hu, who noted that the lab’s establishment will give China an edge in AI research.
The high-tech sector has became one of the pillars of China’s economic growth along with the service sector and consumption as the economy shifts from a labor-intensive, credit-fueled growth model to one based on high technology, innovation, stronger consumer spending, and services.
According to Xinhua, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology on Dec 14 released an action plan to substantially improve the emerging technology in the next three years, eying breakthroughs in basic research and wide application in multiple areas ranging from smart automobiles to robots and drones.