AI is becoming smarter by the day. Source: Shutterstock

AI is becoming smarter by the day. Source: Shutterstock

When will AI capabilities be able to replace the human brain?

THERE is no doubt that artificial intelligence (AI) is advancing quite rapidly, powering everything from business automation to autonomous vehicles.

However, will it ever be able to replace the human brain? Well, according to Alibaba Cloud Chief Machine Learning Scientist Min Wanli — nobody in the AI programming world is capable of doing that, even to an entry-level approach.

In an interview with CNBC, Min explained that AI still has a long way to go, despite the quick progress that the technology is making in China, Singapore, and the rest of the world.

Recently, Min demonstrated some of the capabilities of AI. He predicted the winner of a Chinese reality TV show called ‘I Am Singer’ using a data machine, and helped city officials in Hangzhou optimize traffic lights to reduce congestion — among other things.

AI will be delivered over the cloud

The Alibaba Group understands the importance of AI and machine learning (ML) and the potential that those technologies can have when delivered via the cloud.

Hence, the company’s CEO Daniel Zhang (to succeed Jack Ma as Alibaba Chairman next year) has decided to make the Cloud business its “main business” starting next year.

“We strongly believe that every business in the future will be powered by the cloud. We are very happy to build this cloud infrastructure in a new digital era and support all business,” Zheng told the media.

Although Alibaba’s cloud business has been growing rapidly, it only accounts for seven percent of the total revenue in the quarter (ended 30th September) versus five percent in the same period last year.

Furthering China’s AI ambitions

Although Min says Alibaba and all other players in the market are far away from building an AI that can replace the human brain, China’s leading companies are working hard to improve its AI capabilities faster than competitors in other parts of the world.

Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent (collectively known as China’s BAT companies) are all making significant strides towards AI in hopes of meeting the country’s goal to build the technology into a US$1 trillion industry by 2030.

In fact, China’s AI boom has given birth to 14 unicorns (businesses valued at US$1 billion or more) and have a combined valuation of US$40.5 billion.

Given the great interest, investments, and advancements in AI — especially in China — its evolution to a form that’s as smart and capable as the human brain is quite likely (and hopefully, coming soon).