AI to give fillip to new industrial revolution

By FAN FEIFEI | China Daily | Updated: 2023-12-27 09:46
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Visitors check out Baidu's smart speaker Xiaodu during the Baidu World 2023 event in Beijing in October.  ZHU XINGXIN/CHINA DAILY

Fast-growing frontier field will apply to wider range of sectors

Artificial intelligence has the potential to revolutionize various industries, and its meteoric rise will spearhead a new technological and industrial revolution, experts said.

The fast-growing generative AI technology will be increasingly applied to a wider range of sectors next year to empower such a transformation and upgrade traditional industries, they added.

Their comments come as major Chinese technology companies ramp up efforts to launch their own AI-powered large language models, which could turn into potential rivals of ChatGPT, an AI chatbot from US-based AI research company OpenAI that has taken the world by storm and triggered a new generative AI wave after it debuted in late 2022.

Generative AI refers to computer algorithms trained with huge amounts of data capable of generating content such as images, text, audio and video. It is the key technology underpinning ChatGPT, an acronym for chat generative pre-trained transformer.

As AI potentially becomes the driving force behind innovation, companies must adapt and invest in AI to stay competitive, the experts said.

The rapid growth in AI spending, the transformation of IT services, and the convergence of AI solutions are just a few of the significant changes foreseen in the technology landscape, they added.

Meanwhile, industry insiders said the commercial use of AI chatbots has raised concerns about how to regulate generative AI.

They called for ensuring responsible use of the technology and promoting its healthy advancement, considering the emergence of a new set of problems including ethics, privacy leakage and data security.

According to a report by global market research company International Data Corp, the announcement of the GPT-3.5 series from OpenAI in late 2022 captured the world's attention and triggered a surge of investment in generative AI, which will reshape the IT industry and the way businesses operate.

IDC expects that worldwide spending on AI solutions will grow to more than $500 billion in 2027, and most enterprises will experience a notable shift in the weight of technology investments toward AI implementation and adoption of AI-enhanced products and services.

The IT industry will feel the impact of AI more than any other industry, as every company races to introduce AI-enhanced products or services and to assist their customers with AI implementations, it said.

The consultancy also said that China's spending on AI will likely hit $38 billion in 2027, and account for about 9 percent of the global market, with a compound annual growth rate of about 25 percent from 2023 to 2027.

Kitty Fok, managing director of IDC China, said Chinese companies respond faster to AI deployments compared to their foreign counterparts.

AI technology is driving digital transformation across industries, including manufacturing, transportation, energy, healthcare and retail, Fok said.

"We are currently in a transitional stage in the application of generative AI," said Zhou Zhengang, vice-president of IDC China.

Zhou estimates that generative AI will speed up its integration with a wider range of sectors and evolve into a productivity tool next year. Meanwhile, an increasing number of industry-specific LLMs will emerge.

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