Microsoft’s Executive Vice President for Artificial Intelligence and Research Dr Harry Shum Speaks on Artificial Intelligence at HKUST 25th Anniversary Distinguished Speakers Series

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) hosted the 25th Anniversary Distinguished Speakers Series today, featuring Dr Harry Shum, Executive Vice President of Microsoft’s Artificial Intelligence and Research Group. The event was well received by students, faculty members and guests from HKUST.

Speaking on “Realizing the Promise of Artificial Intelligence – moving from machine-centric to human-centric, from perception to cognition, and from rational to emotional”, Dr Shum shared Microsoft’s vision, efforts and tangible progress in accelerating artificial intelligence (AI).

In the talk, Dr Shum explored how human beings will progress from a world where we have to understand computers, to a world where they will understand us, our intent and can be proactive in helping us; how we will expand on today’s advancements with computers identifying images or text to computers that can interpret the world around them; and how the simplistic task-oriented bots or digital agents of today will evolve from just getting us information, to emotionally connecting with us.

Dr Shum also discussed the latest advances in applying deep neural networks to computer vision and speech recognition problems, as well as Microsoft’s groundbreaking work in shipping chatbots – a computer program designed to simulate an intelligent conversation – in mainland China, Japan and the US by introducing conversational computing and combining IQ with EQ. He then shared the group’s principles in developing AI, which is to benefit people across society – machines partnering with us and augmenting our skills and abilities rather than replacing us.

Following his presentation, Executive Vice-President & Provost Prof Shyy Wei hosted a panel discussion with Dr Shum on “The Future of Artificial Intelligence and Computer Vision”. Other panel members were Prof Gao Wen, Professor and Director of the Faculty of Information and Engineering Sciences at Peking University and a Member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering; Dr Sun Jian, Chief Scientist of Face++ (Megvii Technology); and Prof Quan Long of the Department of Computer Science & Engineering at HKUST.

Dr Shum is a fellow of both Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), for his research contribution in computer vision and computer graphics. He was awarded an Honorary Fellowship in 2011 by HKUST, where he is an adjunct professor of computer science. At Microsoft, he is responsible for driving the company’s overall AI strategy and forward-looking research and development efforts spanning infrastructure, services, apps and agents. He also leads Microsoft Research, one of the world’s premier computer science research organizations, and its integration with the engineering teams across the company.

Speakers of the HKUST 25th Anniversary Distinguished Speakers Series include Nobel Prize laureates, corporate leaders, entrepreneurs and key financial policy shapers. Prof Steven Chu, Nobel Laureate in Physics in 1997 and former US Secretary of Energy, was the inaugural speaker of the series. For more details, please refer to

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Anita Lam
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 Dr Harry Shum
Dr Harry Shum
 (From left) HKUST Executive Vice-President Prof Shyy Wei, Prof Quan Long, Megvii Technology Dr Sun Jian, Peking University Prof Gao Wen and Dr Harry Shum in panel discussion.
(From left) HKUST Executive Vice-President Prof Shyy Wei, Prof Quan Long, Megvii Technology Dr Sun Jian, Peking University Prof Gao Wen and Dr Harry Shum in panel discussion.
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