Tencent Bolsters China Investment in Computer Vision and Inspection
On September 6th, Tencent YouTu Lab and Science, the official publication issued by American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), jointly announced the debut of the Tencent YouTu Computer Vision Summit in Shanghai. At the Summit, Tencent's Senior Executive Vice President, Dowson Tong revealed Tencent YouTu Lab's vision to become the company's Computer Vision research hub, as Tencent embarks on a major new investment in Computer Vision technology. Tencent YouTu Lab also confirmed its official partnership with Science, which aims to bring global resources together in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) frontier research through scholarships, industry-university-research exchanges and other means.
"As China's largest economic center, Shanghai is actively promoting the construction of the 'four centers' and the development of globally influential science and technology centers, in which AI is playing an important role. With Tencent YouTu Lab, we look forward to seeing more participation from Tencent in Shanghai's AI industry construction, and making technology more accessible and beneficial to our people," said Zhang Ying, Chief Engineer of Shanghai Municipal Commission of Economy and Informatization.
Tencent intensifies investment in Computer Vision with no KPI set
Computer Vision is an increasingly important and influential category of AI. Tencent's Senior Executive Vice President, Dowson Tong, believes that major breakthroughs in Computer Vision may even lead to a fundamental change for AI.
Tong has expressed a strong determination to promote the technology, boldly stating that "No KPI" has been set for the investment in technological research and development. Looking ahead, the company will join forces across industries, and academic and research sectors to promote the development of Computer Vision. Tencent YouTu Lab will also publish its technological achievements on Tencent Cloud for its partners to use.
"Tencent has benefitted from the development of Internet technology. The ongoing investment in the technology and the continuous exploration of science fit our company's developmental goals, as much as it is the responsibility of an Internet technology corporation," said Tong.
Tencent YouTu's development strategy: explore the "one core, four pillars and ten areas" of technology to improve people's lives
As outlined by Distinguished Scientist and General Manager of YouTu Lab, the Lab's core strategy will continue to centre around Computer Vision, with an emphasis on four key pillars, including social entertainment, industrial production, social advancement and exploration of the cutting-edge technology. The strategy seeks to embed the technology in ten strategic fields including healthcare, autonomous driving, industrial, retail, commercial, cultural, social welfare and others.
Following its establishment in 2012, Tencent YouTu Lab has emerged as one of Tencent's top three AI laboratories. With its mission to "powerfully connect technology and reality", Tencent YouTu has developed AI capabilities for Tencent's in-house products, such as QQ, Qzone in addition to other major corporations and organizations, including WeBank, Fujian Public Security Department, SF Express, China Unicom, Miss Fresh, Huaxing Optoelectronics, and China Southern Power Grid. To-date, Tencent YouTu's leading-edge technology has been widely used in various sectors including medical, retail, industrial and cultural fronts.
In the healthcare sector, Tencent YouTu's (which is also a fundamental supporting party to the company's branded medical imaging application, Tencent AIMIS) expertise and sophistication in medical image recognition has significantly advanced the application of AI technology, enabling significant progress in the early screening of lung cancer, diabetic retinopathy, and large-scale clinical trials. During the Summit, it was also revealed that Tencent YouTu Lab and Tencent AIMIS are partnering with professor Youlin Qiao from the Epidemiological Research Department of Cancer Hospital Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences. The partnership will focus on research around AI screening for early stages cervical cancer, with an ultimate goal to produce a smart screening tool for cervical cancer diagnosis. This tool, once developed, is also expected to help gynecologists identify cervical precancerous lesions and their potential locations more effectively, allowing for the customization of related biopsy treatments and medical programs.
In the retail industry, Tencent has collaborated with a number of offline stores to establish facial recognition payment in store, resulting in a significantly streamlined and more user friendly consumer experience. Recently, Tencent YouTu's joint venture with Tencent Cloud and Miss Fresh led to the development of a Smart Shelves solution, based on product identification technology. The solution automatically generates the bill after consumers take a product from the shelf and closes its door. With a transaction accuracy of over 99%, this innovative solution provides a hassle-free, grab-and-go shopping experience that is more seamless than ever.
Computer Vision is being increasingly adopted by the industrial sector as well. Tencent recently teamed up with display panel manufacturer Huaxing Optoelectronics to optimize and streamline the company's quality control protocols. The collaboration resulted in the implementation of more than 100 industrial quality inspections using Computer Vision and the establishment of a replicable industrial automation inspection system which can intelligently examine the quality of displays. Tencent also partnered with China Southern Power Grid, using drone technology to automatically identify key components through image recognition technology for smart grid inspection. The automated process can identify equipment defects three times faster than manual inspection.
Tencent YouTu forms strategic partnership with Science to promote global development of Computer Vision
During the Summit, Tencent's Vice President, Zhu Liang also confirmed the strategic partnership agreement between Tencent YouTu and AAAS academic journal, Science. A long-term, strategic partnership will be established and will include the sharing of resources and exchange of information about Computer Vision, with the aim of promoting the advancement of Computer Vision technology.
Bill Moran, Publisher of the Science family of journals, said, "Science and AAAS look for partners that share our mission and vision. We believe in working together to advance science and innovation for the benefit of people throughout the world. Tencent YouTu Lab shares that vision and is a partner with us in the field of computer vision. We will partner together to create events, prizes and a multimedia approach to communicating and fostering innovation in this still pioneering field. Our mutual goal is to bring together thought leaders in the field of computer vision to create a variety of forums that are open to all. The hope is these platforms will drive innovation that will in turn create applications and policies that will benefit society."
In addition to co-organizing professional conferences, both parties will continue to focus on Computer Vision by gathering global resources in a number of ways, including the provision of academic scholarships, enabling industry-university-research exchanges, conducting extensive cooperation in the field of artificial intelligence frontier research (which includes co-organizing "AI in medical" webinar), and joint establishment of global Computer Vision awards and other academic prizes.
Moving forward, Tencent YouTu Lab will continue to invest in AI technology, joining the world's leading partners to connect academics, governments and enterprises to promote the development of Computer Vision technology, its applications and knowledge popularization. Computer Vision will empower us to look "further beyond the future".