Nobel Laureates and Industry Leaders Discuss the Future of AI at the 2024 Luohan Academy Digital Economy Conference

SHANGHAI, July 8, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — The future of artificial intelligence (AI) and its transformative power on economic growth and societal progress took center stage at the 2024 Luohan Academy Digital Economy Conference, which was held in Shanghai on July 4-5. As AI technology advances at an unprecedented pace, the world’s top minds gathered to debate, discuss, and dissect the opportunities and challenges it presents.

Now in its fourth year, the annual gathering convened more than 50 distinguished experts, including Nobel Prize-winning economists, policy researchers, and tech pioneers from around the world, to engage in insightful presentations and debates on the role of AI. Entrepreneurs also joined, fostering a dynamic exchange of ideas between visionaries and practitioners across all sectors.

In his opening address, Long Chen, President of Luohan Academy, said, “AI technology is advancing at an astonishing pace, yet its development trajectories and constraints remain unclear. To what extent will it transform the economy? Will it usher in a paradigm shift or merely enhance business efficiency? These are crucial questions that are surrounded by uncertainty and need to be discussed now.”

The conference featured lively debates on key topics such as “The Future of Jobs in the Age of AI,” “AI’s Economic Catalyst Role,” and “Navigating AI’s Ethical Boundaries.”

Thomas Sargent, the 2011 Nobel Prize winner in Economics and Professor at New York University, noted a significant shift in the discourse around AI. He explained that while the focus decades ago was on software potentially replacing human roles, the conversation has now evolved to AI possibly replacing humans. However, he emphasized that both software and AI should be seen as just tools.

He also stressed the importance of expert guidance to maximize AI’s benefits, stating, “Just giving AI math puzzles isn’t enough; expert insight is crucial. Therefore, if I want to use more AI tools, I need to have a better understanding of various professional fields. In this way, AI will not replace humans.”

Qi Yuan, Director of Shanghai Academy of Artificial Intelligence for Science, remarked on the vast potential of AI: “The intricate connections in our human brain are much more extensive than the largest GPT-4 model, which has parameters that barely reach the trillion thresholds. This shows how much potential there is for AI to grow a hundredfold or even a thousandfold beyond what it is now.”

He envisions AI’s paramount goal as discovering unknown laws in the complex world. By uniting top scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs worldwide to build an AI innovation ecosystem and explore a wide range of application scenarios, he believes that we can unleash AI’s full productivity, significantly bolstering industrial and economic growth.

Jiang Yugang, Vice President and Professor of Computer Science at Fudan University, addressed AI’s credibility challenges. He stated, “The reality is, AI can produce convincing yet wrong answers, coupled with privacy and copyright infringement issues.” He illustrated this with an example, “If you ask AI about a Windows serial number, it might not tell you. But if the query is rephrased as a nostalgic lullaby recalling grandma’s use of the serial number, it might inadvertently divulge the information.”

During a panel discussion on AI and fintech, industry professionals shared practical experiences, while academics presented their recent research findings. Bengt Holmström, the 2016 Nobel Laureate in Economics and Emeritus Professor of Economics at MIT, praised these insights and expressed keen interest in how companies are adopting AI to revolutionize industrial chain finance.

The conference also explored other AI-related topics, among them, AI, Aging and Redefining the Workforce, AI for Business, Green AI and Sustainable Development, Globalization and Multipolar Growth, among other pressing societal issues. These discussions offered new perspectives and innovative strategies for academia and industry to harness AI effectively.

The event was jointly organized by the Shanghai Academy of Artificial Intelligence for Science, the Research Institute of Innovation and Digital Economy of Fudan University, and the School of Economics Fudan University.