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May 23, 2017

Why WikiOmni and Word4App founder John Chen supports the AI for Good Global Summit: Q&A

By ITU News

Renowned artificial intelligence (AI) expert Stephen Ibaraki recently interviewed Jiang (John) Chen, the founder of WikiOmni and Word4App about why he is supporting the AI for Good Global Summit (AGGS) this June in Geneva, Switzerland. Below is an excerpted version of the interview.

Q: Personally, professionally, and as founder of WikiOmni and Word4App, why are you supporting … AGGS?


A: “My vision for WikiOmni and Word4App is that they will change the world by making knowledge available for everyone, with that knowledge created by everyone. From my own experience with ITU, I know they have constantly striven to ensure technology serves all people. That is important to me as a person, as a professional and as a founder. Through my efforts, I hope to contribute to and support their historic and ongoing work.

For me, the AGGS deliberately sets the world on a path of using AI for Good and boldly states that. Secondly, it has attracted the best AI minds in the world. To me that is reassuring, as these are the people who will create our AI future and they are in it for good by virtue of their presence here. The leadership of AGGS is critical to the positive future of an AI World and I am honored and proud to be here with WikiOmni and Word4App supporting this important work.”

Q: In what ways can WikiOmni and Word4App support ITU, the 18 UN agency partners, IBM Watson AI XPRIZE, and AGGS?

A: “Both companies are grounded in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We use these as our guide posts in understanding our reasons for doing what we do daily. I believe that puts us in alignment with ITU and the 18 UN Agencies [supporting AGGS], and as we grow both WikiOmni and Word4App we hope our approach and impact will directly support their goals.

As for IBM Watson AI XPRIZE, we are benefiting from their support for Word4App as we continue through the competition.

For AGGS, our support comes through our fortunate ability to serve as a sponsor for this AGGS, helping in our own small way to make it a reality. We are very grateful to AGGS for their leadership in conceiving of this important event and making it happen. Our support as a sponsor is one small way we can show our support and gratitude.”

Q: What outcomes do you wish to see from the summit?

A: “I envision a world of equality encouraged through shared knowledge that everyone can access. I see AI as the most important enabling technology to realizing this. After the summit, I hope that all present leave here on a mission to drive AI to have the most positive impact it can have in all areas.”

Q: What are your top five program areas of interest at the summit?

A: “My top five are Ethical development of AI, AI for Prosperity, Education, Promoting Equality in AI, and Approaches by Governments, Industries, and Other Stakeholders. In these five I see the opportunity for the nations to come together for a common journey enabled by AI resulting in a strong ethical approach creating shared and equalized prosperity empowered by globally available knowledge (education) for everyone.”

Q: Which [of the UN’s] Sustainable Development Goals supported by AI do you find the most compelling and can you personalize why you made your choices?

A: “The unique qualities of WikiOmni and Word4App support and enable many of the SDGs. WikiOmni contributes to the reduction of poverty through shared profit, improved access to health knowledge, education, and lifelong learning. It has a direct positive impact on inclusiveness and diversity engagement as it grows the knowledge of every person, race and culture of earth. Word4App provides access to all the growing body of knowledge no matter what the literacy level of the individual.

But you asked about specific SDGs. For me they are SDGs number one, four, and ten. Number one is “No Poverty”. I know that poverty at its extreme, provides the fertile foundation for many of the negative activities of our world. I have personal experience with that. Number 4 is “Quality Education”. No one should have to struggle … for education and everyone should have the best education not better education because you have more wealth. Finally, number 10 is “Reduced Inequalities”.

In my mind, this one is very key to our realization of a sustainable world. There is so much imbalance in so many things. That is why WikiOmni is incorporated as Public Benefit Company with 20% of profit going to support activities that produce social good.

I would summarize by saying I want my children’s grandchildren to live in a world or peace and sharing. The UNSDGs and these three are a path to that.”

Q: What are your predictions for AI?

A: “AI will continue to develop and find its way into every aspect of our lives.

I see a future where AI is much like electricity. Electricity has not been around that long but today we find it everywhere, even powering our automobiles. We do not give it a second thought. AI will be the same. Not that many years from now we will not be talking about AI we will just be using it.

Funny thing but electricity allowed us to invent computers and thus on to AI. I wonder if AI will be the foundation for some not-yet-thought-of invention that will again reshape our lives?”

Q: What three things continue to excite you?

A: “First of all, I am excited to provide WikiOmni and Word4App to provide omniscience to everyone in the world. I dream of a world where everyone has access to all knowledge and the ability to add to it.

Second, as AI disrupts the world of work, I am excited to provide incentive rewards to everyone who contributes knowledge to WikiOmni and Word4app. In effect, [it’s] a new job type in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Finally, I am excited to build this Word4App platform where everyone will have access to knowledge right away and in their native language no matter their level of literacy or formal education.”

Q: What other areas particularly related to computing do you feel need to be brought into focus for discussion and policy?

A: “As AI expands into all areas, protection of personal information and general safety of systems will become even more important than it is today. A deep focus on cybersecurity is critical going forward.

Also, as we try and balance economic disparity distributed ledger (blockchain) and decentralized distributed financial systems generally will need to proliferate and operate from a global consensus policy base. Hopefully these two areas will see the importance of collaboration and not head off on separate tracks. There are other areas I could mention but these two are of immediate importance.”

The full interview can be read here.

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Why WikiOmni and Word4App founder John Chen supports the AI for Good Global Summit: Q&A

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