April 08, 2024

Boao Forum for Asia 2024 Annual Conference | Liu Cong of iFLYTEK: Creating an Independent and Controllable General Large Model Foundation to Empower Industries

The Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference 2024 convened officially from March 26 to 28. Centred on the theme of “Asia and the World: Common Challenges, Shared Responsibilities”, this year’s conference featured a comprehensive “4+1” agenda, encompassing over 40 sub-forums. Participants from across the globe engaged in profound dialogues addressing the opportunities and challenges facing Asia and the world across various domains.


Liu Cong, Vice President and Dean of iFLYTEK Research Institute, was invited to participate in the sub-forum of AIGC Reshaping the World as a distinguished representative of China’s technology sector. He delivered a keynote speech, engaged in discussions, and joined private sector entrepreneurs in the panel session. Liu Cong elaborated on how general large models facilitate the high-quality advancement of the digital economy in the era of “Artificial Intelligence +”. He advocated for the establishment of an independent and controllable general large model foundation, emphasising its pivotal role in driving the continuous advancement of industry models and vertical applications, thus empowering numerous sectors.




Technological innovation stands as an area of focus of this year’s annual conference, highlighting technological advancement and industrial evolution of generative artificial intelligence and large models. They have garnered global attention, becoming a trending topic of Boao Forum for Asia. Within the sub-forum of “AIGC Reshaping the World”, distinguished experts and scholars from domestic and international enterprises, academia, and research institutions have convened to share their insights and perspectives.


Future direction: training large models on computing platforms


Over the past year, the swift advancement of general artificial intelligence technologies and applications, particularly large models, has revolutionised information dissemination and acquisition models and spurred innovation in content production. People can leverage large models to accomplish tasks seamlessly through natural interactions, access expert virtual assistants, and expedite research work with a more efficient “accelerator”.


“The development of general large models requires systematic innovation mechanism, at the core of which is the general large model foundation capability.” Liu Cong said that China’s general large model foundation capabilities require innovation relying on independent controllable platforms. iFLYTEK has currently conducted relevant exploration and engaged in practice with certain achievements.


Based on the computing training platform jointly launched with Huawei last year, iFLYTEK released Spark Desk V3.5 on January 30 this year, and simultaneously launched Spark Desk Speech Large Model. iFLYTEK Spark Desk V3.5 has comprehensively upgraded its seven core capabilities, with significant enhancement in language comprehension, mathematical prowess, coding proficiency, and multimodal understanding.


At present, iFLYTEK Spark Desk V4.0 is under training and is expected to be released in June 2024.


Empowering diverse industries: “Artificial Intelligence +” emerging as a vital engine for new quality productivity


An independent and controllable general large model foundation enables the advancement and ongoing innovation of industry-specific models and vertical applications. Currently, a plethora of cases showcasing domestic large models in various industry scenarios underscores the emerging significance of “Artificial Intelligence +” as a vital engine for new quality productivity.




During the event, Liu Cong elaborated on practical applications and efficacy of iFLYTEK Spark Desk. In the realm of education where iFLYTEK has long been deeply involved, AI learning machines equipped with iFLYTEK Spark Desk have undergone at least nine new function enhancements over the past year. The advancements enable comprehensive intelligent learning guidance, question answering, and interactive experiences for children, elevating personalised precision-based learning to unprecedented levels. For educators, iFLYTEK Spark Desk suite of products including Teacher Assistant and Smart Blackboard facilitate tailoring instruction to individual needs, significantly enhancing teaching and lesson preparation efficiency.


In the realm of medical care, iFLYTEK Spark Desk Medical Large Model has achieved accreditation against China’s pioneering technical standards for large model applications in healthcare, established by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT) in collaboration with more than 20 industry, academic, research and application institutions. iFLYHEALTH app, empowered by it, creates an AI health assistant for individuals which can enhance consultation efficiency, address medication inquiries, interpret medical reports and more.


Coding proficiency is also a crucial requirement in the digital economy. Currently, iFLYTEK Spark Desk coding capability is extensively utilised within the company, resulting in a 50% increase in internal code design efficiency and over 40% improvement in code testing efficiency.


Furthermore, iFLYTEK Spark Desk is empowering leading enterprises across various sectors to expedite the application value of large enterprise models. For instance, in collaboration with China Pacific Insurance Company, iFLYTEK Spark Desk is establishing a digital labor application benchmark in the insurance sector. In partnership with Bank of Communications, it is setting a benchmark for the application of coding proficiency in the banking industry. A joint effort with China Mobile has led to the launch of the 5G-based new calling application “Business Shorthand”. iFLYTEK has amassed a developer community exceeding 6 million on its Open Platform, with over 370,000 developers directly engaged in large model development, fostering a thriving ecosystem for continuous innovation of iFLYTEK Spark Desk.


Essential to be mindful of the developmental risks of general artificial intelligence and to embrace AI


The momentum of general artificial intelligence is unstoppable, as it increasingly proves its value in real-world industry applications through implementation. It aids enterprises in exploring their operational scenarios, driving cost reduction and efficiency enhancement, and bolstering core competitiveness. “However, the development of general artificial intelligence may create social risks and pose ethical challenges. Therefore, implementing boundary constraints and controls throughout the process is imperative.”


During discussions with participants, the moderator and media members, Liu Cong shared his perspective on the transformative effect of artificial intelligence on employment. General artificial intelligence will reshape the landscape of employment, and hopefully all sectors will embrace AI proactively. He also advocated for foresight on the part of government for early research and the establishment of relevant laws and regulations. “The true force of the future lies not in artificial intelligence, but rather in people adept at harnessing it.


As Spark Desk forges ahead, iFLYTEK looks forward to collaborative efforts with global partners to foster a thriving ecosystem for general artificial intelligence. Liu Cong expressed his aspiration for the “spark” of general artificial intelligence to kindle a great fire, contributing to the creation of a better world through it.