When an unmanned food delivery vehicle without a security officer drives on the street alone, it may encounter some troubles that can’t be imagined in the laboratory.
For example, a child riding a balance bike may follow behind the bike and flirt with it from time to time. This makes the unmanned vehicle dare not make a sudden brake action even in the face of danger, otherwise the child will hit it.
This is a real difficulty found in the advancement of its unmanned driving technology that the life service platform Meituan once mentioned. And this is just one of the many difficulties it has encountered.
Looking at it now, although Meituan’s unmanned vehicles, drones and other projects have been widely known through media reports, they are still far from real maturity, especially when they are delivered to the business side for large-scale commercial use.
Meituan is exploring the application of AI or artificial intelligence in food and beverage delivery and other fields, while the short video platform Kuaishou uses artificial intelligence to play “Fight Landlord”.
According to news from the new media platform Machine Heart in mid-June, Kuaishou’s AI platform department has achieved a new breakthrough in the Doudizhu game, defeating all known Doudizhu card game robots in just a few days, and reached Up to the level of human players. This tone is a little propaganda, but the fact is generally such a fact.
This is somewhat of a sign of Google’s technical prowess. From 2016 to 2017, Google’s company DeepMind, with its independently developed artificial intelligence program based on deep learning, AlphaGo, successively defeated Go world champions Li Shishi and Ke Jie.
It is surprising to study the landlord, but does this mean that you are not doing your job properly? Those who are familiar with Kuaishou must know that in August 2019, two years ago, Kuaishou launched a game called ” Love You Fighting Landlords”, which once topped the domestic free list in the APP Store. At that time, it also caused industry competition. Pay attention. Like Douyin, Kuaishou has high hopes for the gaming business, that is, on the basis of increasing user activity, it is hoped that it can leverage a larger business landscape.
In this direction, more than these two are arranging troops.
BAT is not to say, to the floor of AI technology is becoming the hard core US group, deft, byte beating , fight a lot of other Internet giants gain another victory of the new important bargaining chip. At a time when Internet platform anti-monopoly is still deepening and the situation is becoming more and more complex, these upstarts betting on high technology with greater intensity is no longer just as an image-building tool but simply to talk about it, it involves core barriers , The future position and path are correct. Of course, it is obvious that it is at least a high-profile efficiency revolution.
The difference between the two eras
Unlike the earlier generation of pioneers who became the dominant market force by seizing blank areas such as communications and e-commerce, the new generation of rising Chinese Internet companies rely more on the power of innovation to gain a foothold.
Today’s Toutiao, which emerged in the portal era, is a notable example. In December 2017, Zhang Yiming recalled in a speech that Toutiao was the first company to apply artificial intelligence technology to information distribution on a large scale.
No longer have the editor-in-chief in the traditional sense, and match personalized information for users through algorithms. This is the essential difference between Toutiao and portal news sites. “What you care about is the headline” points to the arrival of the era of reading efficiency. Relying on big data and recommendation algorithms, users no longer need to search in the vast ocean of information, they can quickly see the information that suits them when they open the APP, and the more they use, the more accurate the information recommendation.
ByteDance’s second largest platform-level product, Douyin, is the application of AI in the field of short video.
What do you look like in old age and infancy, which celebrity you look most like, these constantly updated special effects tools bring vitality to the short video platform, and also reflect the wide application of innovative technologies under market demand.
As far as Kuaishou is concerned, it initially studied deep learning, in fact, to combat piracy and violations.
At the end of 2015, Kuaishou established a deep learning department. In addition to identifying illegal videos, it gradually has more functions, such as helping users find favorite content and researching video content understanding.
It is difficult to extract text from short video content, and it is more necessary to recognize faces, action times, location scenes, etc. This involves a variety of studies including natural language processing, video retrieval, music retrieval, etc.
What is presented to users is interesting content that meets their entertainment needs, and behind it is technology that manages all of this.
While short videos have become time-killing tools for users in the content community, the entire Internet industry has also begun to follow up on the application of AI technology.
Pinduoduo, which has emerged late, is a company that applies artificial intelligence to the field of e-commerce on a large scale. Using algorithms to recommend personalized products to users, and these products are more cost-effective than other e-commerce platforms, Pinduoduo has gained a large number of new users from this. Huang Zheng, the founder of Pinduoduo, once mentioned the concept of “distributed AI” for the first time in the industry, emphasizing the difference between Pinduoduo’s AI and traditional e-commerce centralized AI.
The mobile Internet has enabled a larger base of ordinary people to become netizens. How to distribute content and products to a large number of users with different growth environments, values, and consumption concepts has become the key to good user retention. Algorithm-based artificial intelligence recommendation solves this problem well. This is exactly the starting point of the outbreak of ByteDance and Pinduoduo.
For Meituan, which was born earlier, in addition to its well-known strong ground combat capabilities, it also leveraged its technological advantages and finally came first in the cruel market competition.
Xia Huaxia is the vice president and chief scientist of Meituan. After he joined Meituan, the focus of his work has been changing. In 2013, the co-founder of Jingmei Tuan Mu Rongjun introduced that Xia Huaxia met Wang Xing. According to Xia Huaxia’s memories, Wang Xing’s thinking on cloud computing at that time left him a deep impression. He also learned from Wang Xing that since 2012, Meituan has been making cloud computing-related technical reserves.
In the next few years, Meituan’s technical requirements mainly revolved around the stability of the system. One of the major problems was that it had to withstand the pressure of the system during the food delivery war; the final result was a stable system during peak periods. It became the technical basis for Meituan to win this battle.
In 2016, building the B-end business chain became the focus of Meituan’s technological innovation. In the final analysis, this business is how to enhance their competitiveness and realize larger-scale monetization by helping businesses improve efficiency.
One of the landmark events of this is that Meituan adjusted its organizational structure in May 2016 and announced the establishment of a catering ecological platform, with the purpose of promoting the IT construction of catering businesses and standardizing and Internet-based IT systems.
Meituan co-founder Wang Huiwen talked about the logic of Meituan’s new business in an interview in 2018 when Meituan went public. He said that Meituan will consider which business to increase investment in which business has a high input-output ratio.
Wang Huiwen revealed that Meituan started to provide RMS (restaurant management system) to merchants in 2013, but it did not have a major continuation until 2016. After evaluation, it was discovered that this business came to a Better time point: First, the takeaway business started, and merchants had the need to interact with the Internet; at the same time, on the infrastructure side, the Android system was popularized, and the hardware and software could meet the needs of the B-side.
Also in 2016, Meituan established an unmanned delivery project team, and Xia Huaxia began to lead the development of unmanned vehicle delivery in specific scenarios.
In the following 2017, Wang Xing repeatedly expressed his thoughts on high technology.
For example, in April of that year, Wang Xing said that the Internet has entered the second half of competition, and high technology will be one of the driving forces in the next 5 to 10 years. In October of the same year, Meituan conducted a financing, and Wang Xing’s thinking took a step forward.
In the past few years in China’s business society, technological innovation has gradually been alienated into a function word, and companies that throw this word often talk to themselves or even entertain themselves . It looks like a little trick on the cake, and it seems like something. They can all fit into this basket; but the difference is that the exploration of models based on technological innovation is the driving force behind the birth of these Internet companies , as well as the nutrients and fuel for their continued growth. This is a genetic difference.
From edge to center
With the increasing size and influence, these star Internet companies’ demands for high-tech applications at the commercial level are also changing with time.
Take Meituan as an example. Due to the continuous horizontal and vertical expansion of business territory, Meituan’s expectations for technological innovation have long been elevated from the previous system stability and the development of B-end products to a higher dimension, including attention to intelligent robots such as unmanned vehicles and drones. .
In July 2018, Wang Huiwen publicly demonstrated Meituan’s unmanned car delivery to the public for the first time; three years later, in July 2021, Xia Huaxia talked about the progress of Meituan’s unmanned delivery at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference held in Shanghai. . Xia Huaxia said that Meituan’s area is local life services, whether it is catering, wine tourism, leisure and entertainment, or autonomous driving, it is using artificial intelligence technology to improve the efficiency of the industry.
This is the focus of Meituan’s current efforts: the application of artificial intelligence in distribution-related fields such as autonomous driving.
It can be seen that in April 2021, Meituan released the latest unmanned delivery vehicle; in July 2021, during the World Artificial Intelligence Conference, Meituan UAV officially debuted for the first time.
This is a gradual climb process.
In March 2018, when Wang Xing delivered a speech at the China Development Forum, Meituan has done multiple R&D iterations in the field of autonomous vehicles, drones and other robot supplementary delivery, and has applied for more than 60 patented technologies. A pilot operation of unmanned vehicle delivery has been carried out in Beijing Xidan Joy City. Using unmanned vehicle delivery to reach every corner of the world will soon become a reality.
Strictly speaking, this idea of Wang Xing is still only an idea. The overall pace of advancement of unmanned vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicles is significantly slower than earlier plans. Wang and Wang Huiwen Qing Hua this department students, the US group business leader Mao UAV year, recently accepted Geeks park during an interview with the founder of Peng also mentioned the difficulties drone distribution.
But this does not mean that these plans are worthless or unachievable.
In the conference call after the release of the second quarter 2020 earnings report, Wang Xing once again talked about the value of Meituan. He said that Meituan does not produce food, nor does it make food. It only distributes food and is essentially a mobile company.
This definition makes Meituan’s continued large-scale investment in unmanned distribution become well understood. According to Meituan’s announcement on July 13, Tencent’s subscription to Meituan’s shares for approximately US$400 million has been completed. Meituan intends to use the raised money for technological innovation, including cutting-edge technologies such as unmanned vehicles and drone delivery. Research and development.
An episode is April 18, Wang never betray him but let him mess with no small trouble of rice has forwarded a netizen made certain islands of the photo and commented, food delivery to the house , The most suitable for drones. It can be seen that although the reality is still skinny, the use of drones to deliver food to certain scenes has always been in Wang Xing’s mind.
In fact, other Internet upstarts have done no less than Meituan.
Pinduoduo is most concerned about the application of artificial intelligence in the e-commerce model of “finding goods for people”.
According to Heike Finance and Economics, as early as 2016, Huang Zheng began to explain the logic of his “distributed AI” to the outside world. Since then, Huang Zheng and his successor Chen Lei have mentioned this concept many times. Huang Zheng said that the success of Pinduoduo is because the times have given an opportunity. People’s search behavior on the Internet is partly exploratory and entertaining. Pinduoduo can follow this demand. , To better match the supply and demand of goods.
The further development of this idea can go deep into specific industries and help them to improve their efficiency. For example, in August 2017, Pinduoduo proposed the design of the “Agricultural Product Intelligent Processing System”, which integrates platform data information and uses algorithms to accurately recommend agricultural products to potential consumers during the mature period.
Pinduoduo is passionate about agriculture. In November 2018, when Huang Zheng delivered a speech at the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, he said that with the large-scale use of 5G, the speed of information acquisition and interaction in the industry supply chain will reach a new level. The information of a fruit tree in the future can be used. Realize to be grasped by people at any time.
In January 2019, at the Geek Park Innovation Conference, Chen Lei, then CTO of Pinduoduo, shared Pinduoduo’s experience in applying AI to e-commerce. He said that in the future, it will become a trend for each individual user to be equipped with exclusive AI algorithms and computing resources.
This is an important judgment.
On April 25, 2021, Chen Lei, who is already the chairman and CEO of Pinduoduo, said at the main forum of the 4th Digital China Construction Summit that in the past six years, Pinduoduo has used big data, cloud computing, and distributed AI to decentralize The agricultural production capacity and demand for agricultural products are joined together in the cloud .
This is a case of artificial intelligence deeply changing the original state of the agricultural product market in the field of e-commerce.
Mainstream Internet content companies are also applying AI technology to their own fields to varying degrees.
If we regard the video account as a start-up platform, then this product launched in early 2020, after running for more than a year, has now adopted a model similar to Douyin, recommending personalized content to users; and short In addition to video, apps such as long video, medium video, and online music are also evolving in the direction of intelligent distribution.
Looking around, the functions such as “guess you like” and “recommend for you” formed according to the algorithm have become standard in the industry.
In addition to content, the application of artificial intelligence is also deeply affecting various types of traditional e-commerce platforms.
Ctrip could have been a search like OTA, after revised several times in recent years, it has become page presents letters of recommendation information flow, content and merchandise mixed together; Taobao is the large revision in the year 2020 pairs 11, the “I guess you like.” Moved up to the first screen, fully embracing the flow of algorithmic information.
Competition is global
ByteDance established an artificial intelligence laboratory in 2016. In a public speech in 2017, Zhang Yiming said that he believes that artificial intelligence technology is in the early stage of moving from a laboratory to large-scale commercialization. ByteDance needs to be condensed. The wisdom of experts in this field around the world expands their horizons and advances research and applications.
The penetration of AI technology will obviously not stop at pictures and short videos. Take byte bounce as an example, it pays more and more attention to the application of AI in other directions.
Recently, a number of media reports claimed that Bytedance’s company invested in a restaurant management company, and its business scope includes artificial intelligence applications. After the news came out, someone analyzed that bytedance might enter the takeaway market. However, compared with the model-heavy food delivery business, what should attract the attention of the industry is perhaps what aspect of the application of artificial intelligence this invested catering company focuses on, and how it differs from Meituan’s focus in the catering industry.
In addition to catering, ByteDance also pays great attention to the application of AI when deploying medical services. In December 2020, American technology media Techcrunch reported that they found a recruitment notice on the official website of ByteDance. ByteDance has been looking for medical AI talents in Beijing, Shanghai, and Mountain View, California.
Judging from the mature experience of domestic and foreign technology giants in the past, once a market is occupied by technological innovation, its emphasis on technology is likely to be reflected in the subsequent strategic layout of various industries. ByteDance is roughly the same, and its investment is gradually increasing with the continuous increase in the industry.
The most obvious manifestation of these new giants’ increase in technological innovation is “burning money.”
Pinduoduo has invested heavily in research and development in recent years, with the focus on AI. The financial report shows that in 2019, Pinduoduo’s R&D expenses were 3.87 billion yuan, an increase of 247% year-on-year, and platform R&D expenses accounted for 12.8% of revenue; in 2020, Pinduoduo’s R&D expenses were 6.89 billion yuan, an increase of 78% year-on-year, platform R&D expenses It accounts for 11.6% of revenue.
Meituan also established a first-level departmental AI platform in January 2020. At the Artificial Intelligence Conference in July of that year, Xia Huaxia, who is also the general manager of the AI platform, said in an interview that since 2020, Meituan will systematically talk about its thinking on AI; he also mentioned that the size of the Meituan AI team has exceeded 2000 people.
Because it serves businesses and users separately, Meituan AI’s landing has also expanded accordingly. At present, the fields it covers include natural language processing, knowledge graphs , search, and speech recognition.
At the Smart Future Conference held in December 2020, Xia Huaxia cited several examples of Meituan’s use of AI to solve the actual needs of businesses. Such as the development of intelligent customer service, help businesses respond to users’ questions; another example, the use of AI algorithms analyze its accumulated user rating of more than 80 one hundred million to help businesses understand the business details.
The increasing demand of Internet companies for high-tech R&D has also been reflected in the competition for global talents.
On April 23, 2021, Wang Xing donated the establishment of the “Tsinghua University Xinghua Fund”. One of its uses is to attract and support top students worldwide to study at Tsinghua University. Prior to this, on April 20, Meituan issued an announcement stating that it intends to raise US$10 billion by issuing additional stocks and selling convertible bonds. The use also mentioned increasing the recruitment of global scientific and technological talents.
ByteDance looks more fierce in this respect.
As a result of a recruitment information published on the International Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL) at the end of March 2021, ByteDance caught the attention of the American business magazine BI. The latter mentioned that ByteDance is interacting with Facebook, Google, etc. AI is an important research direction to snatch university talents on a global scale. The author of the article quoted William Wang, an artificial intelligence expert at the University of California, Santa Barbara, as saying that the competition between Bytedance and Western technology companies has begun.
The demographic dividend dissipated and the efficiency revolution arrived.
It is precisely because of the existence of real competitive demand that technological innovation will play an increasingly important role in Internet platform companies, and this kind of competition will inevitably be global.
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