24-25th May I travelled to Beijing in China to present at the conference AI and Adaptive Education 2019 (AIAED 2019). I was invited by some Chinese-American researchers whom I met at the LAK'19 conference in Arizona.
AIAED (not to be confused with AIED) conference was organised for the third year in a row by the company Squirrel AI. It gathered 3000 attendees in the impressive location of the Beijing World Trade centre.
Introduction of the 3rd edition of the Chinese #AIAED19 conference with ~3000 attendees. Room of the World Trade Center is packed, impressive. Introduction by Tom Mitchell (CMU), live language translation english-chinese pic.twitter.com/sBMXMzzphG— Daniele Di Mitri (@dimstudi0) May 24, 2019
Squirrel AI is a Chinese company part of Yixue which provides adaptive education solutions throughout all China. Its founder, Derek Haoyang Li was awarded as one among the 10 top AI innovators in China.
Derek Li ceo of @SquirrelAI_Edu presents their Adaptive AI learning system running in China in 1900 schools in 20 provinces and 400 cities and has 2 million users registered. #aiaed2019 pic.twitter.com/je5umaBIMa— Daniele Di Mitri (@dimstudi0) May 24, 2019
Squirrel software is currently used in 190 Chinese cities, 1200 schools and by 5 million students. These numbers tell a lot concerning the scale that China can provide in terms of education. The high number of students China a strong need for quality education throughout the country.
Squirrel AI is also inspired by other intelligent tutoring systems developed throughout the world like Alex or AutoTutor.
This year AIAED gathered international researchers who were invited to China to present their research in the technical tracks of the conference. The scientific conference was sponsored by IEEE. I presented in one of the three technical tracks called Standards and Architectures the current development of the Multimodal Learning Analytics Pipeline. Below some photos of the talks and my presentation slides.
Technology in China
In China the use of technology is pervasive. Some examples: during the conference, automatic and simultaneous translation was performed using AI software. This way people not speaking English could follow English speakers and vice versa for Chine language. In addition, China doesn’t use Whatsapp, Google, Twitter or Facebook, but has its own social and search app. Some of them are really interesting for the types of functions they offer. For example, WeChat allows payments with the scan of QRCode, a method of payment which seems so common nowadays. The institutions use facial recognition and retina scans to identify people on the street (no need for the ID anymore!) and check their details. Moreover, China does not seem to have a strong privacy and ethics policy. From these deep learning techniques, there seems not so much freedom of choice or opting out option. This is, of course, interesting to see from a European perspective where data protection is an extremely hot topic.