COVID-19 accelerates digital technology transformation: Jack Ma

Jack Ma (L) [File photo/Zhang Yun (NBD)]

The COVID-19 pandemic has not changed the trend of technological transformation, but instead has accelerated the pace of change for digital technology, according to Jack Ma, Co-chair of the UN High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation.

Ma made the remarks while attending the opening ceremony of the 2020 World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai on Thursday in a virtual forum via a holographic projection.

He recalled that during the WAIC last year, participants argued about whether machines would replace humans, and their impact on employment. However, the urgent issue now is how to make machines take over many jobs of humans as soon as possible.

"For instance, in virus-hit areas, we should make every effort to have problems solved by machines instead of human beings," Ma said.

An algorithm is applied to increase the efficiency of the COVID-19 diagnosis, Ma said. "It usually takes 15 to 20 minutes for a doctor to review CT images of a suspected COVID-19 patient. But now it takes only 20 seconds for a machine to analyze these CT images, 60 times more efficient than doctors."

Ma said preparations are needed for the acceleration of technological transformation as people relied on internet technologies to survive during the epidemic, and applications of digital technologies appeared in a variety of daily activities, ranging from holding a conference to seeing a doctor.

He called for solidarity, cooperation, and responsibility in the face of COVID-19. "The virus does not need a passport, and sees no national borders. Technology should never have borders."

The 2020 WAIC is being held in Shanghai from Thursday to Saturday. Themed "Intelligent Connectivity, Indivisible Community," the conference provides a platform for discussion and communication on cutting-edge technologies, major trends, and key topics in the AI sector. 

 

Email: gaohan@nbd.com.cn

Editor: Gao Han