New Alibaba initiative to prepare societies for future technologies

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Beijing, June 27 (IANS) Alibaba Group on Wednesday announced to establish an open research platform with six Nobel Laureates and leading social scientists to address challenges faced by societies arising from the rapid development of digital technologies.

Called “Luohan Academy”, the platform aims to get societies well-prepared for the unprecedented structural transformation brought by advanced technologies, such big data, Machine Learning (ML), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics, the company said in a statement.

“We feel the obligation to use our technology, our resources, our people and everything we have to help societies embrace the technological transformation and its implications. This is why we initiated an open and collaborative research platform, the ‘Luohan Academy’,” said Jack Ma, Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group.

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The “Luohan Academy” comes after “DAMO Academy”, a global research programme established by Alibaba Group in October with a focus on developing cutting-edge technologies.

Alibaba Group plans to invest 100 billion yuan in the exploration of frontier technology over the next three years.

“We need to think carefully about how to use insights from tech and social sciences in order to achieve better outcome for humanity. We should not say no to new opportunities simply because they come with challenges,” noted Markus Brunnermeier, Edwards S. Sanford Professor of Economics, Princeton University and member of the “Luohan Academy”.

In the Chinese Buddhist teachings, the 18 “Luohans” are those who have reached a stage of higher consciousness. These Luohans represent wisdom, courage and power.


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