On June 26, 2018, Alibaba's research institute Luohan Academy was officially founded in Hangzhou. It was initiated by Alibaba and global top scholars in sociology, economics, psychology and other fields. It is committed to exploring the project of revolutions in social and economic patterns, accompanied by technological innovation and addressing the global challenges of big data, artificial intelligence, and robotics created by the rapid development of network technology. According to Alibaba, the 15 members of the first academic committee of the Luohan Academy were mainly economists, including six Nobel laureates.
The difference between the Luohan Academy and the Damo Academy
"The rapid progress of science and technology has changed every aspect of human society", said Jack Ma of the original intention to start the Luohan Academy, "While enjoying the benefits of technology, we need to understand the challenges that science and technology bring to society and think about solutions. As a technology company, Alibaba has a responsibility to do everything it can to investigate how society can adapt to technological advances and overcome the challenges it poses. "He hopes that the Luohan Academy's research outcomes will serve society as a whole.
At the Alibaba Yunqi Conference in 2017, Alibaba's CTO announced that Alibaba had founded the global research instituteDamo Academy. The Damo Academy has begun to set up world-leading science and technology research centres and establish laboratories with diverse research directions in Beijing, Hangzhou, Singapore, Israel, San Mateo, Bellevue and Moscow. The Damo team said they have made some important progress since their inception eight months ago. For example, in April this year, Damo announced that it would develop a neural network chip, Ali-NPU, that would be applied to AI-based calculations such as image-video analysis and machine learning. In May, Damo's Quantum Lab announced the development of the world's most powerful quantum circuit simulator "Taizhang", which poses a challenge to Google's "quantum hegemony".
Although the founding of the Luohan Academyis not as eye-catching as the founding of the Damo Academy, the Luohan Academy seems to point out that Alibaba is still investing in new technologies for investment. The question is: What does the Luohan Academy mean for Jack Ma? According to Luohan Academy’s director Long Chen, "The Damo Academy is exploring the advanced productive forces that solve future problems. Luohantang (Luohan Academy) studies the resulting productive relationships."
New technology is the driving force behind the founding of the Luohan Academy
Althoughthe technology and Internet industries in China are relatively mature, the Internet needs to be further enhanced and optimised to ensure continuous improvement in industry efficiency. In addition, strong demand in the Chinese market has resulted in China's technology and Internet industries meeting the needs of consumer consumption upgrades and continuing to introduce new products and services. Technology is an inseparable factor for the Chinese market, emerging economies, satisfying new demand or entering new markets. While emerging economies can achieve some growth at an early stage using traditional Internet technologies, they need to be optimised and upgraded according to the technology’s and the Internet’s development logic for both the Chinese market and a fully developed market.
Instead of developing a new technology until the current technology can not meet the development requirements, it is better to take the lead in the layout. In addition to promoting local businesses, Chinese technology and Internet companies have also increased the level and capacity of technology empowerment by building global talent and technology think tanks. Alibaba has also endorsed the establishment of the Luohan Academy after the Damo Academy. This is the clearest manifestation of this phenomenon. Obviously, new technology will be the next wave of technology and the development trend of the Internet industry.
The world is entering a new era of the digital economy. If Alibaba wants to reach the "102 years of existence" that Jack Ma expects, the layout of science and technology will be of great importance. The founding of the Damo Academy and the Luohan Academy directly demonstrates that Alibaba has the strategy and determination in the future design of science and technology.
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