From June 7th to 8th, the “Progress 1+1” series of press interview hosted by Ministry of Education was held at Zhejiang University. The interviews focus on the “Innovative Action Plan for Artificial Intelligence in Universities” (hereafter “Action Plan”) and its current implementation.
The Action Plan is based on the development of artificial intelligence in universities, taking into account the current social demand and long-term development. The plan has three phases of objectives. The first is to obtain the optimal layout of the technology innovation and discipline system for development of artificial intelligence in the new generation. The second is to significantly improve universities’ innovation capabilities and quality of talent training by 2025 and to obtain a number of original achievements with international influence, which will effectively support China's industrial upgrading, economic transformation and smart society construction. The third is for Chinese universities to become the world's major artificial intelligence innovation centers and lead the development of the new generation of artificial intelligence, providing technological support and talents for China.
In order to accelerate technological innovation and talent cultivation in the field of artificial intelligence, the Ministry of Education has aligned with Zhejiang University to “focus on cross-disciplinary integration and major scientific areas, and strengthen key technology research and industry linkage” to lead the construction of an artificial intelligence collaborative innovation center. (Source: china.com.cn)
Artificial Intelligence Multidisciplinary Integration
Zhejiang University is one of the earliest universities in China to study artificial intelligence. In the fourth round of discipline evaluation by the Ministry of Education, Zhejiang University’s Computer Science and Software Engineering were ranked as first-class disciplines, both receiving A+ ratings.
Zhejiang University has made taken impactful initiative to promote multidisciplinary integration of artificial intelligence. The Artificial Intelligence Collaborative Innovation Center has recently been approved by the Ministry of Education. It collaborates closely with platforms including the Artificial Intelligence Big Data Technology Innovation Alliance, the Data Research Center and the Language and Cognition Research Center to fully integrate computer science, statistics, mathematics, medical service and design. The innovative network and symbiotic sharing system for artificial intelligence gradually emerges in Zhejiang University. (Source: xinhuanet.com)
Zhejiang University offers 62 first-level disciplines, with artificial intelligence being its core and brain science being the first layer of the discipline chain, complemented by other disciplines such as economy, education and urban planning. Under guidance of the Ministry of Education’s Action Plan, Zhejiang University is about to demonstrate the pivotal work of multidisciplinary convergence of first-level disciplines with artificial intelligence. This could be exemplified by intelligent education (artificial intelligence + pedagogy), intelligent medical care (artificial intelligence + medical science), and intelligent design (artificial intelligence + design form). (Source: china.com.cn)
Artificial Intelligence + Design
Located on the second floor of Yueya Building at Zijingang Campus of Zhejiang University, a variety of intelligent works are on exhibition. They are designed by students during a course called “Design Thinking and Expression”. This course is taught by a team of multi-discipline teachers and has more than 20 teaching assistants to guide students in practice. The course centers on real-life production and encourages students to integrate artificial intelligence into their design. (Source: Press Office of the Ministry of Education)
So what exactly is artificial intelligence + design? Professor Sun Lingyun, Vice Dean of the International Design and Research Institute of Zhejiang University, gave his answer: “traditional design approaches can no longer support the demand for unique products in the future. Therefore, we want to use artificial intelligence to augment our design capability to meet individualized demands and deliver content through richer interactive channels”.
When asked about whether artificial intelligence will eventually replace designers, Professor Sun Lingyun stated that, what we are doing is not to use artificial intelligence to replace designers, but to liberate them from tedious work so as to engage in more creative, challenging, and artistic work.
The artificial intelligence industry needs application-oriented talents to solve practical problems, which requires deep integration of technological innovation and industrial development. Therefore, school-enterprise cooperation cannot be limited to traditional teaching or conference.
Alibaba Group and Zhejiang University established the Alibaba-Zhejiang University Joint Research Center for Frontier Technology (AZFT) in April 2017. Relying on the research strength of Zhejiang University and the platform of Alibaba Group, it attracts top-notch talents both at home and abroad. AZFT focus on integrating production, education and research, and conducts research on cutting-edge technology to support the company's strategy. (Source: jyb.cn)
The IDEA Lab is one of the six joint laboratories of AZFT, led by Researcher Paul of the Alibaba DAMO Human-computer Interaction Laboratory, Professor Sun Lingyun of Zhejiang University, and Hua Xiansheng, Alibaba Senior Researcher of machine intelligence. The IDEA Lab members mostly come from the research team of the CAD&CG State Key Laboratory and the International Design Institute of Zhejiang University, as well as the Alibaba DAMO Human-computer Interaction Laboratory and Alibaba's machine intelligence team.
School-enterprise cooperation can facilitate the integration of production, education and research, transforming scientific research findings, and increasing economic output. It can also attract more top-notched talents; cultivate application-oriented talents that are in line with the trend of artificial intelligence, which eventually creates a talent pool. (Source: china.com.cn)
In the future, artificial intelligence and design will be more closely linked under the framework of the Action Plan. Relying on the new school-enterprise cooperation model, the combination of artificial intelligence + design will surely bring magnificent social and economic benefits.