iFLYTEK is quite a famous tech company in China and has an emerging international reputation. Their voice recognition (Mandarin Chinese) technology is much superior than Google’s, probably due to the tremendous amount of Chinese speaking data available. In recent years, they put forward ambitious plans in smart technology, the internet of things and AI. I am intrigued.
Upon my visit to Shanghai, I had the privilege to visit their Shanghai branch. We discussed the role of embodiment in artificial intelligence, especially in the context of language communication. The idea is that for an AI to truly understand language, we have to map symbols (e.g. letters, characters) with other sensory information. As illustrated in the famous Chinese Room thought experiment, an agent can perfectly translate one language to another using a dictionary, without understanding the meaning of the language. There may be collaborative opportunities between academia and industry in building embodied AI to achieve ecological human-computer interaction. I suspect this AI is going to pass the Turing test.