At the opening ceremony of the 4th World Internet Conference (WIC) in Wuzhen, eastern China, Internet big-wigs from home and abroad delivered speeches about the digital economy, artificial intelligence, and how these two areas are changing the world. What visions did they have for the future?[Special coverage]
Some questions one might have in mind now might be: "What are we and where are we going? Are machines better than us that they will eventually replace us?"
Jack Ma, the billionaire founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba, seemed unfazed.
He said humans should have confidence in their own creativity. Machines won't surpass humans because the ultimate goal is to make machines more like machines, and humans more like humans. New technology won't result in job losses in the long term. Instead, work for humans will evolve.
The Internet is also changing economic structures. How will the world economy develop in the future?
Ma Huateng, the boss of tech giant Tencent, thinks the answer can be found in the digital economy.
He said: "In the past, Chinese enterprises played the role of followers of new technology. But today we need to become drivers and contributors to new technology."
Baidu CEO Li Yanhong said artificial intelligence will help steer the development of the digital economy. He also said future growth means technological innovation represented by artificial intelligence, including algorithms, calculations and data.
But why are all these Internet industry leaders so confident about the future?
Apple CEO Tim Cook gives an answer:"It doesn't warn anything. It's up to us, all of us to ensure that technology is infused with humanity. Technology promised to be realized, the benefits must be widely shared."