If you are a sitcom fan as well as working in the technology industry, then chances are you’ve seen the HBO hit “Silicon Valley”. The series describes a group of IT gurus entered the “Silicon Valley” startup scene with their algorithm tool and begin a journey to realize their value. Of course, this high scoring series (9.5 on Douban) is not just a movie about slum to riches, but also a series with Geek and real-life implications deeply embedded that will resonant with its target audiences. From compression algorithms to social media, from shape recognition to AI, Silicon Valley let the audiences see the cutting-edge lives inside the startup goldmine of Silicon Valley with a different perspective. Just as mentioned above, a series about startups bound to have some ties back to reality, the Silicon Valley film has implications of real companies within each of its seasons. Alibaba in the first season, Uber in the second, Lyft entered during the third season, and during the recent episode 9 of season 4, a mysterious young Chinese startup has jumped on the scene.
This company is called Ling Technology, it is established during September of 2016, just as Alibaba and Uber marked the evolution of a business model, Ling symbolizes the advancements in a new field of business (AI). Even toward the end of last year, AI has always been under rapid development in a low-key kind of way, spreading its wings in academic and to B applications. Following the popularized AI utilities of self-driving automobile, AlphaGo, and Amazon Echo, the general public is getting a taste of consumer AI, and AI is becoming a more prominent research topic for the world.
Capital is leaning toward the industry, from high level researchers to programmers have to take another look at the abundant opportunities present in this situation with their every choice judged by the market. However, they are catching the early flight. AI product have not developed a defined form. The current AI product is based on two main sectors of visual and audio, with visual represented mostly by shape recognition such as facial recognition leveraged by office buildings, and security camera in banks. Audio on the other hand is led by interactive speaker systems. From the surface, we wouldn’t recognize these as products with AI features, it is because of the way the product was developed and how well integrated AI is. Consumer AI on the other hand is optimized by accumulation of data and user experiences. The growth of user base will deepen its data pool, enable these products to produce an accurate user profile. The advancements of user experiences will enhance the products usage rate and user friendliness, it will be a mandatory tool in essence, so most AI products we’ve seen today is a cold-hard machine.
The way people and machine interacts is changing rapidly with advancements in AI technologies, we are reliving the age of turn knobs, mouse and keyboards, touch screens, we are entering an age where all things have spirits, and the reactive interaction we’ve seen today is changing to a more proactive way. As such, the Ling Tech concept is bringing AI to the public in a more intuitive way. Judging from Ling’s product lineup, we could see the products emphasize on multi-tiered interactions, it is also their biggest selling point. Gu Jiawei shared his view on the matter: “The way people and machine interact is changing rapidly with breakthroughs in AI technologies. Human relationships with machine will take a drastic turn as well, this relationship based interaction will be a key point for the future.”
The relationship based interaction will be the core concept behind Ling’s product designs. The age where all things have spirit is the next step of AI, people and machine will not only interact like tools where when you purchase an equipment, you are buying the ownership of a tool. Human do not intuitively interact this way, when you buy a pet or a plant, you have to take care of it, build a relationship with it, this is a relationship based interaction that will be changed with different inputs and interaction methods. The spiritual nature of Ling’s product is what differentiate it with the smart speakers, and may be the reason behind Silicon Valley choosing Ling Technology to represent the AI market.
Of course, no matter the Ling’s cute way or the Amazon’s traditional way of making product, the users will benefit. Maybe in the near future, we will live in a home with a smart butler watching a HBO hit together.