Back in 1995, Bill Gates published his first book, The Road Ahead. It was easy to understand and full of wisdom. People regarded it, at the time, as the best primer on what life would be like in the 21st century. In the book, Bill Gates summarized the implications of the personal computing revolution and described a future profoundly changed by the arrival of a global information superhighway. In the 20 years since, an information superhighway has been realized, and to some extent, today’s world has developed even further beyond what Bill Gates had imaged. We can foresee that the next stop on this information superhighway will be a new era dominated by Artificial Intelligence (AI).
When you reflect on the history of human innovation, from the discovery of how to make fire to the invention of the wheel, and from the creation of the printing press to the mastery of flight, you can see that these weren’t just solitary innovations, but accelerators that super-charged human progress in countless ways. And now, we are beginning to witness what may be the biggest accelerator of all time: AI. This is because AI not only extends human physical capabilities but also has the potential to bring new possibilities to the entire industry. We are the first generation of humans to coexist with AI. Where is our road headed?
Microsoft Research Asia’s biggest annual event, the Computing in the 21st Century Conference, will be held in Harbin, China on October 19, 2017, featuring the theme: AI, The Road Ahead. The conference is one of the largest and most influential conferences in the field of computer science education and research in China and the Asia Pacific region. To date, 18 sessions have been held in China, Japan, Korea, and Singapore, among other countries and territories, with a combined audience of more than 40,000 people.
This year, the conference is co-organized by Microsoft Research Asia and Harbin Institute of Technology, and features global computer science pioneers and AI industry leaders as keynote speakers and panelists. These include: Prof. John E. Hopcroft (Turing Award winner, NAS Fellow, and NAE Fellow), Prof. Raymond J. Mooney (ACL Fellow, ACM Fellow, and AAAI Fellow), Prof. Lise Getoor (AAAI Fellow and Professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz.) and Prof. Shang-Hua Teng (two-time Gödel Prize winner, ACM Fellow, and Sloan Fellow). In addition, Dr. Peter Lee, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft, and Dr. Hsiao-Wuen Hon, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft, Chairman of Microsoft’s Asia-Pacific R&D Group, and Managing Director of Microsoft Research Asia, will also be onsite to share their ideas.
Artificial Intelligence is attracting an increasing amount of public attention today. After years of research, the ideas and plots once thought to belong only to science fiction are gradually being realized in the real world. We hope you will be inspired at the conference this year, especially on where AI will be headed in the short term and the long term.
AI undoubtedly marks the road to the future, and we sincerely invite you to join hands with us and explore its possibilities.
Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research Asia