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Events in Seoul foster artificial intelligence discussion and collaboration

November 11, 2016 | By Microsoft blog editor

By Miran Lee, Principal Research Program Manager, Microsoft Research Asia

More than 1,700 students and faculty members attended the 18th annual Computing in the 21st Century Conference 2016 last week in Seoul. It was the second time the conference, organized by Microsoft Research Asia, has occurred in South Korea since 2007.

From left to right: Marti A. Hearst, Professor of UC Berkeley; Adi Shamir, 2002 Turing Award Recipient; and Peter Lee, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Research NExT

From left to right: Marti A. Hearst, Professor of UC Berkeley; Adi Shamir, 2002 Turing Award Recipient; and Peter Lee, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Research NExT

The conference’s theme, “Human and Machine Working as a Team,” was accentuated in keynote speeches by Peter Lee, corporate vice president of Microsoft Research NExT, and Hsiao-Wuen Hon, corporate vice president, Microsoft’s Asia-Pacific R&D Group and Microsoft Research Asia.

Lee told attendees researchers must work to democratize access to the tremendous power of computing and algorithms. “We must democratize access to AI. We must work together to ensure that humans and machines work together as a team,” Lee said.

Hon emphasized that while computers are reaching human parity in recognizing images and speech, humans still have significant advantages over machines when it comes to creativity and reasoning. Hon emphasized that recognizing these distinctions is important, suggesting that humans can exploit AI by letting machines do what they’re good at, while focusing on the skills that are uniquely human.

Hsiao-Wuen Hon, corporate vice president, Microsoft's Asia-Pacific R&D Group and Microsoft Research Asia.

Hsiao-Wuen Hon, corporate vice president, Microsoft’s Asia-Pacific R&D Group and Microsoft Research Asia.

Other distinguished speakers shared their views on artificial intelligence and computing, as well. Turing award winner Adi Shamir discussed cryptography related to the Internet of Things (IoT); UC Berkeley professor Marti A. Hearst focused on the application of AI in education; Fred Schneider from Cornell University discussed internet security and related research; and Juliana Freire from New York University discussed her analysis of urban data by focusing on work she’s done related to New York City taxi data.

From left to right: Hsiao-Wuen Hon, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Asia-Pacific R&D Group and Microsoft Research Asia; Adi Shamir, 2002 Turing Award Recipient; Peter Lee, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Research NExT; Yong-Hak Kim, President, Yonsei University; Fred Schneider, Professor of Cornell University; Juliana Freire, Professor of New York University; Marti A. Hearst, Professor of UC Berkeley

Later in the week, the Microsoft Research Asia Faculty Summit 2016 was held at Yonsei University, bringing together more than 200 leading academics, educators and Microsoft researchers to discuss topics related to the theme “Intelligent and Invisible Computing.”

Yong-Hak Kim, president of Yonsei University, welcomed Summit participants, saying, “we are now living in an era where AI technology intersects with all other technologies, bringing a fundamental transformation to how we think, communicate and collaborate,” Kim said. “I am delighted and humbled to greet the most celebrated artificial intelligence scholars from around the world, gathered here at Yonsei University, for the advancement of AI technology that empowers humans to achieve more, bringing unprecedented progress to industry and academia.”

Welcome speech at Microsoft Research Asia Faculty Summit 2016 by Yong-Hak Kim, President, Yonsei University”.

Welcome speech at Microsoft Research Asia Faculty Summit 2016 by Yong-Hak Kim, President, Yonsei University”.

The summit presented a strong lineup of distinguished speakers from China, Japan, Korea, Singapore and the United States. The distinguished guests from various academic institutions helped set the foundation for additional discussions and sessions on the future of artificial intelligence. Two panel discussions on the “Future AI” and “Future Talent 2040” resulted in active discussions among the participants. In addition, attendees saw 34 technology showcase projects from Korean academics and Microsoft researchers.

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