In 2019, the National Academy of Sciences pointed out in a survey that Internet search is still the most valuable digital commodity today. According to its investigation, users need $17,530 in compensation to abandon the search engine for one year. Correspondingly, e-mail costs $8414, and digital maps are $3648.
In fact, if this survey is placed in 2020, it may be more convincing. This year, the demand for information search due to the epidemic has been amplified. Internet search giants under the epidemic have better fulfilled the key role of qualified information in terms of authoritative information popularization, information refutation, and keyword detection needs.
The value of search has evolved from Internet tools to Internet infrastructure. From the hot words of the year 2020 released by Baidu a few days ago, we will find another value of search engines, which is to record the development trends of popular languages, social culture, and technology.
Comparing Baidu’s 2020 and 2019 annual technology hot words list, we found some obvious changes.
- Top 10 technology hot words in 2019: AI, 5G, blockchain, robotics, VR, AI finder, smart home, Internet of Things, face payment, AR.
- Top ten technology hot words in 2020: mask face recognition, quantum computing, virtual human, brain-computer interface, unmanned taxi, industrial Internet, cloud server, industrial intelligence, artificial neural network, intelligent traffic light.
Compared with 2019, there are three obvious changes in technology hot words in 2020:
- Artificial intelligence is implemented to the micro product and technical level;
- New infrastructure is valued;
- Research on more cutting-edge technologies such as brain-computer interfaces and quantum computing is being paid more attention.
Catalyzed artificial intelligence
From the comparison of the list, within a year, the public’s focus on AI technology has shifted. The shift from the conceptual level to the product landing is closely related to the catalysis of AI under the epidemic.
A sudden epidemic this year has had a negative impact on the economic and social life of all mankind. While the global public health risks continue to increase, a new round of technological progress is also obvious.
The first is the development of detection technology. Since the outbreak of the epidemic, many countries have rapidly developed convenient and effective detection methods, which have greatly increased the speed of diagnosis.
In China, what is more noticeable is the development and application of AI technology. Technology giants such as BATH have opened up a rear battlefield in the country, penetrating AI technology into diagnosis assistance, epidemic screening and prevention and control, remote office/education, body temperature detection, factory production, unmanned vehicles/robots and many other aspects.
From Baidu to IflyTek, products such as AI temperature measurement systems and smart outbound calls are used for community epidemic prevention. In railway stations, airports, subways, Baidu, Shangtang, Megvii and other AI giants have come up with AI temperature measurement solutions, based on AI image recognition technology, infrared thermal imaging technology, etc., effectively solve the problem of wearing masks and hats. Difficulties in identification.
In addition, from the delivery of Huawei’s 5G unmanned vehicles to Wuhan to Baidu’s Apollo low-speed mini-vehicle kits are freely available to companies serving the epidemic, unmanned vehicles have become the vanguard of the unmanned economy. At the traffic level, smart traffic lights have been put into use in many cities in China.
In terms of auxiliary medical care, Alibaba Cloud announced that it will open all AI computing power to public scientific research institutions around the world for free, and Baidu Research Institute will open its linear time algorithm LinearFold to various genetic testing institutions and epidemic prevention centers for free. Huawei Cloud has launched AI-assisted quantitative analysis services for medical images.
At the level of resumption of work and production, Baidu Smart Cloud and Weiyi Zhizao have created a “surface defect visual inspection equipment” to help enterprises with the problem of insufficient manpower. Tencent Cloud provides massive cloud resources and collaborative office products for more than 100,000 small and medium-sized enterprises for free. Virtual people developed by enterprises have also begun to effectively help enterprises reduce costs and improve efficiency in areas such as live broadcast delivery and customer service.
Therefore, people are paying great attention to such landing AI products as face recognition masks, smart traffic lights, unmanned taxis, and virtual people. In essence, it stems from specific application scenarios such as reducing aggregation under the epidemic. Giants use AI technology to support social production and economic development, allowing people to clearly feel the value and significance of products and technologies.
Under the epidemic situation, personal epidemic prevention, travel and life have become the most concerns of users, and the show of AI muscle by technology giants is a kind of market education for users to some extent, which also makes a large number of users actively transfer to search engines to understand Tracing the causes and solutions behind the technology, the value of popular science of search engines has also begun to be re-recognized by more users.
The inflection point of the Gardner curve of AI technology is coming
We can see that the AI catalyzed by the epidemic has magnified the scene of empowering life. The application of new AI technology has effectively promoted the entire social production, online and intelligent process of life. From industry to consumers, the trust value and awareness of AI technology are becoming higher.
Where is the current AI technology? What are the future directions and trends? It also aroused the expectations of the capital and industry circles.
If you want to predict the future trend of AI technology, you can look at it through the Gartner Hype Cycle. The Gardner curve also refers to the technology maturity curve. According to this theory, the development of technology passes through five stages from birth to maturity: technology budding period, expectation expansion period, illusion period, recovery period, and stable production period.
When we correspond to the development of AI technology in these five stages, we will find that the budding period of AI technology is roughly in the 1960s and 1970s. At that time, the concept of artificial intelligence was proposed, and machine theorem proofs and checkers programs set off the first AI. climax.
The 1970s and 1980s was a period of expectation expansion. At that time, there were expert systems that simulated the knowledge and experience of human experts to solve problems in specific fields, and achieved certain results in the fields of medicine, chemistry, and geology, which raised people’s expectations of artificial intelligence. However, from the 1990s to 2010, the illusion of AI was disillusioned, and the shortcomings of the expert system’s single reasoning method and difficulty in practical implementation were exposed.
After 2011, with the development of information technology such as big data and cloud computing, especially after the victory of the Google AlphaGo Li Shishi man-machine war, AI ushered in a period of recovery. In 2020, under the outbreak of the epidemic, AI applications have accelerated to show a sudden growth, and AI technology has reached an inflection point between the recovery period (the fourth stage) and the stable development period (the fifth stage).
To a certain extent, the development and application of AI technology actually conform to the law of technology maturity curve development. The early stage has experienced a long period of market expansion and a period of disillusionment. With the further development of technology, there will be a sudden growth. At this stage, more companies are beginning to enjoy the dividends of technological development. Technological development has gone through a recovery period and ushered in a stable period of technological development.
We have seen that in the past three years, giants from BAT to Huawei, SenseTime, and Megvii have experienced a period of critical and deployment of AI technology. In the special window period under the epidemic, the opportunity to land has been seized, and AI technology has shown sudden growth.
Therefore, the current development of AI technology is in fact entering the inflection point of the upward curve. The most significant moment of a technology is not the moment when it was born, but the moment when it was widely accepted by the public.
From quantum computing to brain-computer interface: the giant anxiety behind the cutting-edge technology competition
In Baidu’s boiling point technology hot word list, the new generation of quantum computing, brain-computer interface, and artificial neural network technologies are on the list. This is actually a higher stage of AI technology evolution.
The essence of brain-computer interface technology is to establish a channel for information transmission between humans (or animals) and external devices. In the past, this technology was more of a science fiction movie. But in September of this year, Musk showed the latest achievements of brain-computer interface with Xiaozhu, and the industry began to realize that-brain-computer interface (BCI) is likely to be an emerging and potentially disruptive technology field. According to Musk, the resulting computing power of Neuralink will enable humans to compete extensively with rapidly developing AI.
Behind the boom in quantum technology, on the one hand, the progress in the field of quantum computing in China is visible to the naked eye-the “nine chapters” of domestic quantum computers, which process “Gaussian Bose sampling” faster than the current fastest supercomputer “Fuyue” “One trillion times faster.
On the other hand, quantum technology is also the direction of competition and upgrading in the future technology industry. Because the core advantage of quantum technology is to achieve high-speed parallel computing, with the characteristics of increasing computing power and reducing energy consumption, its big imagination lies in the deep integration of high-quality quantum computing platforms with AI and cloud computing, which may create more powerful AI , To be applied in more fields. According to the forecast of IQT Research Corporation, by 2026, the quantum computing market will reach 2.2 billion US dollars, shifting from academic theories to large-scale commercial applications.
Therefore, for Internet giants, quantum computing may be an area that is about to break out in a dark battle. At the moment, a number of Internet giants represented by BAT are already rushing to deploy quantum computing, opening a new round of talent grabbing battles and quantum ecological landing battles. Behind this is the anxiety of the giants competing for tickets to the next era.
For Internet giants, how to follow up the law of technological upgrading and form technical barriers to the industrial layout is the key to the competition in the quantum computing business competition in the next few years.
This time, the ambitions of the giants are also upgrading-from Baidu to Tencent, the layout direction is more inclined to the role of basic technology and the bottom of the platform (operating system and bottom chip in the quantum computing era), which means that in the next In the past 20 years, what Chinese companies want to do is no longer introduced innovation, but original innovation. A new ecological platform battle in quantum technology will also start in the next year or two.
Therefore, the changes in technology keywords in 2020 actually reflect a new round of technological competition and are also redefining the value of search engine portals.
In the past, the value of search engines was to connect users with information scattered on the Internet, but now, search engines such as Baidu are in fact becoming a searchlight for industry trends.
Key words such as AI products, quantum technology, brain-computer interface, etc. have become hot words in the annual search, reflecting the attention of the whole society to this technology direction, and also reflecting the trend of the technology track-people are shifting from pursuing application-level innovation to paying more attention to basics Underlying hard-core technology innovation, it will be an inevitable trend to focus on long-term investment in basic technology in the future. This is a direction for the giants to evolve, or an important direction and hidden trend of the capital market based on technology track investment bets in the next year or two.
In addition, people have focused on smart homes and the Internet of Things in the past year to industrial intelligence and industrial Internet this year. It also has a certain vane significance-it maps the upgrade route and trend of the Internet of Things to the Industrial Internet. Therefore, the annual keywords of the search engine reflect the hot spots and industry trends of netizens. On the one hand, it has a certain guiding significance for the upgrade direction of enterprises, and on the other hand, it can also spy on the hot spots and trends targeted by the capital market in the future.
In this sense, how to improve the detection capabilities of various industries for user needs and track investment through big search, and how to serve industrial upgrading and trend insights is a topic worthy of research.