AI Revolution Unveiled: Highlights from the Spectacular WAIC 2024 in Shanghai

AI Revolution Unveiled: Highlights from the Spectacular WAIC 2024 in Shanghai

Nikolai Ivanov
3 min read

World Artificial Intelligence Conference 2024: A Glimpse into the Future

This week in Shanghai, the heat of the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) 2024 was matched only by the summer temperatures. According to data from the closing ceremony, as of 2 PM today, the conference had attracted over 300,000 in-person visitors and surpassed 1 billion online views, a 90% increase from last year.

WAIC 2024, held at the Expo Exhibition Hall in Shanghai, showcased the latest advancements in AI technology. More than 500 companies participated, filling the vast venue with cutting-edge AI applications and robotics. The theme of this year's conference was "implementation," focusing on practical applications of AI in everyday life, from humanoid robots greeting visitors at the entrance to coffee-making robots competing with cafes. Attendees experienced AI’s pervasive impact on various sectors, prompting them to reconsider the relationship between AI and their daily lives.

Key Takeaways

  1. Shift from Models to Applications: Industry leaders like Baidu's founder, Robin Li, emphasized the shift from developing foundational AI models to focusing on practical applications and profitability. This sentiment was echoed by exhibitors and visitors alike, who sought collaboration opportunities and new business ventures.

  2. Diverse AI Applications: Exhibitors showcased a plethora of AI applications across various domains, including medical AI, agricultural AI, e-commerce guides, and digital humans for livestreaming. Notable innovations included AI teachers grading essays, wearables for various uses, and even a robot that can perfectly replicate a chef’s cooking techniques.

  3. Robotics and Automation: The event featured numerous robots, such as COFE+'s coffee-making robot, capable of brewing a cup in 50 seconds and diagnosing 95% of its faults remotely. Unmanned driving technology was also prominent, with self-driving transport vehicles demonstrating their potential to work 24/7, significantly reducing labor costs.

  4. International Reach: Many AI products and technologies presented are already being exported worldwide. For instance, COFE+ coffee robots have found markets in the US, Russia, France, and Germany, highlighting the global impact of Chinese AI innovations.


The WAIC 2024 highlighted the rapid commercialization and integration of AI into various sectors. The focus on practical applications over mere technological prowess signifies a maturation in the AI industry. This year’s conference underscored a critical shift towards profitability and real-world implementation, with companies eager to demonstrate how AI can enhance productivity and streamline operations.

However, the pervasive integration of AI also raises questions about its necessity and impact on employment. As AI becomes more capable of performing complex tasks, from driving to cooking, the role of human workers is increasingly under scrutiny. This technological advancement promises efficiency and convenience but also brings challenges, such as job displacement and the need for new skill sets.

Moreover, the increasing concentration of capital in a few major AI companies, as noted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), suggests a future where market power is highly centralized. This could lead to economic imbalances and necessitates thoughtful policy interventions to ensure equitable distribution of AI’s benefits.

Did You Know?

  • Record-Breaking Attendance: WAIC 2024 saw over 300,000 visitors in person, and its online presence garnered over 1 billion views, marking a 90% increase from the previous year.

  • AI Coffee: The COFE+ coffee robot, showcased at the event, can brew a cup of coffee in just 50 seconds and operate continuously for 24 hours, producing over 1,000 cups daily.

  • First-time Innovations: The conference featured the debut of several groundbreaking AI products, including Alibaba Cloud's intelligent error reporting system and Fudan University's humanoid robot capable of reading human expressions.

  • Global Impact: Many of the AI innovations presented at WAIC 2024 are already being exported to countries like the US, Russia, France, and Germany, demonstrating the international influence of China's AI industry.

WAIC 2024 was not just a showcase of technological marvels but also a testament to the rapid evolution and integration of AI into our daily lives. As AI continues to advance, it is crucial to balance its benefits with thoughtful consideration of its broader societal impacts.

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