The defeat of top Go player Ke Jie to Google’s AlphaGo is pushing discussions about AI technology to new heights this week. After a series of human vs computer matches, more and more people can see that AI will fundamentally change our lives.

Beyond the hype media attention, however, most of the AI technologies remain in the R&D stage are still finding possible ways to be applied in real-life scenarios. The situation is changing gradually with the maturity of the technology itself as well as the market surrounding it. Maybe AI is not something that end customers can use directly, but it is finding its way into nearly every vertical.

i-Lab is an accelerator program supported by Microsoft China, Shanghai Xuhui District government and state-backed electronics company INESA. At the i-Labs demo day held last week, the twelve startups addressed a wide range of problems from education, transportation, robots, and smart city. But if you take a closer look, there’s a common theme in nearly every startup — AI and big data.

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Emma Lee

Emma Lee is Shanghai-based tech writer, covering startups and tech happenings in China and Asia in general. We are looking for stories related to tech and China. Reach her at lixin@technode.com.