Artificial intelligence (AI) technology is on the cusp of going mainstream as a new engine for the growth of human civilization. Despite sitting at the center of discussions and witnessing rapid integration with various industries, the emerging technology is still premature for commercialization, according to Wu Shuang, Research Scientist at Chinese AI company Yitu Technology.

“Most of the efforts will still be focused on technology R&D and product definition in the next five years. It’s obvious that AI can integrate with different industries. But because of this industry practitioners will be at loss about the actual forms of products unless it’s being proved valid by the users. Take face recognition as an example, everyone doubted the feasibility of the idea before the industry came up with algorithms and solid products to prove its validity for users. It will be a gradual case-by-case process because of each application need the concerted efforts of lots of engineers. Revolution won’t happen overnight,” Wu told TechNode at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC).

For the time being, the most successful AI applications are business-facing, which is in line with the market predictions. Wu attributes this to the fact that the commercial value of business-facing applications is clear from the very beginning. “It may demand a deeper understanding of a particular industry. But once you passed that entry point, the company’s development thereafter is relatively predictable. For customer-facing applications, the value provided by each user are fewer and the development is relatively unpredictable due to a ton of non-technical factors,” he explained.

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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.