From healthcare to infrastructure, how artificial intelligence can make the world a better place


In the past few years, our world has faced a series of unprecedented and sometimes fatal challenges-from the covid-19 pandemic to severe weather conditions, as well as social problems that have emerged at the same time, including an aging population and urban areas. Congestion and unequal access to health care.

However, with the development of artificial intelligence (AI) and its applications, artificial intelligence technology plays an important role in responding to the socio-economic and environmental challenges faced by the modern world, and ultimately helps us improve our living standards.

Fill in the gaps and provide quality care

In recent years, one of the most promising applications of artificial intelligence has been to increase manpower in key departments that have been understaffed for a long time, thereby making significant progress in solving challenging social problems.

For example, in China, the medical system has been trying to solve the shortage of healthcare professionals for a long time, with an average of only 17.9 doctors per 10,000 people. The situation in small towns and rural areas is even more uneven, forcing many patients to travel long distances to cities to obtain quality medical care and specialist treatment.

Baidu’s Clinical Decision Support System (CDSS) was developed to address this urgent need. The system is based on medical natural language processing and knowledge graph technology to provide doctors with real-time help, inform their judgments, help them identify symptoms more accurately, and provide corresponding treatment plans. By introducing the expertise and resources of top medical institutions into local clinics, the system provides patients with treatment quality that would otherwise be out of reach. So far, Baidu’s CDSS has been applied to thousands of primary medical institutions, and the number is still growing rapidly.

“In the diagnosis stage, sometimes young doctors may ignore or ignore some symptoms because of lack of experience,” said a doctor in a Beijing hospital who has used CDSS for two years. “Through the consultation support and real-time reminder function of CDSS, we can provide doctors with more suggestions and references, and we can significantly improve the quality of our medical department.”

Solutions obtained through humanized technology

According to the China Development Foundation’s forecast, by 2022, approximately 14% of the Chinese population will be 65 years of age or older, and this number is expected to increase to more than 30% by 2050.

For the elderly, smart speakers and displays driven by artificial intelligence can be an important lifeline. Baidu has developed a popular intelligent display unit with computer vision functions and voice interaction technology, called Xiaodu, which can provide a wide range of basic services, including providing health tips, arranging shopping and transportation assistance, providing emergency care, and even daily conversations. And emotional support.

Xiaodu’s success has made it one of the recent stars of Baidu World, the company’s annual flagship technology conference, which explored how local welfare associations are increasingly distributing Xiaodu devices to the elderly.

The popularity of Xiaodu among the elderly highlights another key potential of artificial intelligence: breaking down barriers and inequalities in access to technology in the world today. Although previous generations have deprived older people of their rights due to the emergence of new technologies, artificial intelligence offers the possibility of applications that everyone can access.

Transform the infrastructure, innovate the society

In addition to solving targeted problems, new developments show that artificial intelligence has greater potential for reducing errors and improving the efficiency of systems that penetrate our daily lives, including urban infrastructure in more and more cities.

In China’s Shandong Province, Baidu Artificial Intelligence Cloud supports grid security inspections and provides instant alerts to avoid power outages that could affect millions of people. In Quanzhou, Baidu Artificial Intelligence Cloud is being used to accurately predict the water demand of the city’s main water treatment plant with a population of 8 million. The system analyzes a range of factors, from weather patterns to holidays, to help improve the efficiency of the factory and reduce its electricity consumption by 8%.

“We always need to ensure that the system is operating normally and the water quality is stable, but it is impossible for workers to stay awake and alert 24 hours a day and never sleep,” said Shen Peikun, a worker at the Quanzhou Water Plant. plant. “But now this system can handle the equipment and alert us in case of any sudden changes.”

Baidu’s artificial intelligence technology has completely changed one of the most common but important features of urban life: traffic lights. Intelligent transportation systems can monitor the flow of vehicles and pedestrians, analyze large amounts of data to predict future traffic conditions and optimize traffic flow. In Baoding, a city in northern China, the use of Baidu’s smart traffic lights has reduced the waiting time during peak hours by as much as 20%, allowing people to gain more time in their daily lives.

With the rapid development of autonomous driving technology, including Baidu’s Apollo Moon self-driving taxi launched earlier this year, a more comprehensive intelligent transportation infrastructure is taking shape, and each part is building each other to make everyone safer. , Travel more efficiently.

For example, Baidu found in its research on intelligent transportation solutions that even if the transportation efficiency is increased by 15%, the GDP growth of a specific area will also increase by 2.4%, because the time and resources that have been troubled by the daily inconvenience are released for use. Drive economic productivity. In an economy that seizes new growth levers and competitive advantages, optimizations like this can provide valuable solutions. Higher efficiency can also make better use of the earth’s resources and reduce carbon emissions.

As AI applications multiply — including in smart cities and autonomous driving — and become more integrated, their potential to unlock positive value and help find solutions to some of the world’s most pressing social problems will continue increase.

This content is produced by Baidu. It was not written by the editors of MIT Technology Review.


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