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Digital vision for the global economy

Views from Seattle smart city policy adviser and the chairman of Deloitte China were also shared with delegates

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Will AI and the Internet of Things replace mobile as the defining technologies?
Will AI and the Internet of Things replace mobile as the defining technologies?

Within the next 10 years, artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) will replace mobile technologies as the world’s “defining digital technologies”, is the bold prediction from the vice president of Chinese online sales giant Alibaba.

 

Speaking at a forum at the first Smart China Expo (SCE 2018) in China’s western city of Chongqing, Liu Song, along with other industry leaders, projected a future in which big data reshapes the way businesses and governments operate, cooperate, and compete.

 

Embracing the digital revolution

 

Song explained to delegates that is the rationale for Alibaba investing heavily in the three areas of big data, network synergy and smart data. His view was echoed by Cai Yongzhong, chairman of Deloitte China, who urged traditional businesses to actively embrace innovation in the face of the upcoming digital revolution.

 

Some 650 participants attended the expo summit forum where they heard a vision for how the world’s digital economy will evolve under the theme, “New Digital Economy, New Growth Engine.”

“Smart cities have challenged cities to be innovative. It has been the inspiration for cities to jump forward using technology"

New forces being unleashed by current innovations threaten to disrupt the existing economic growth models of many industries, as digital information is predicted to rise to the same status as land and capital as a key element of productivity.

 

Meanwhile, governments around the world are building smart infrastructure as they seek to use technology to upgrade power grids, railways, ports and toll roads, and seek to integrate everything.

 

Big data technology also helps build smart cities boost consumption and improve social welfare programmes ranging from education to philanthropy to healthcare, delegates were told.

 

Smart city management

 

“Smart cities have challenged cities to be innovative. It has been the inspiration for cities to jump forward using technology,” said Kate Garman, smart city policy adviser to the mayor of Seattle, who shared her insights into smart city management at the event.

 

Despite huge progress, China still faces many hurdles in developing a digital economy, according to Li Yizhong, former head of China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

 

“Chinese manufacturers lag in the application of smart manufacturing, and businesses need to accelerate their digitalisation process.” Li pointed out that issues like how to balance improving efficiency and protecting jobs, and how to protect commercial secretes in the age of internet "also remain challenging".

 

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