Tech Junction: New Space 99 degree AI class review

Prominent physicist Stephen Hawking expressed his concerns over AI at tech conference GMIC Beijing last month, saying “I believe that the rise of powerful AI will be either the best thing or the worst ever to happen to humanity.”

Beijing-based startup incubator New Space held an open class last Thursday, where three lecturers from tech and big data, industrial design, and human recognition shared their views on the future of AI.

New Space was founded in April 2014 by real estate veteran Wang Shengjiang, and co-founded by Chinese entrepreneur and educator Yu Minhong (Michael Yu) and senior banker Sheng Xitai. New Space launched the biweekly 99 degree class on March 16, which according to the company, provides support to help startups get the final one degree on the path to success. Here is a wrap-up of three speakers from this class.

Where: New Space’s Wang Jing offices
When: May 18

She Zepeng

She Zepeng, photo by Heather Wang/AllChinaTech
She Zepeng. Photo by Heather Wang/AllChinaTech

She is a technician consultant of developer tools at Microsoft and has years of experience in the R&D of mobile apps and games. His current work involves developing Microsoft’s next generation products.

She believes webs are to personal computers is like what messaging apps are to smartphones. Therefore, bots like Cortana will play a bigger role in both work and life as well. A lot of commands such as arranging itineraries and ordering coffee – can be done by having a conversation with a bot inside a messaging app. Microsoft’s AI driven bots are able to recognize motions inside a video and can be used in production safety while controlled via a bot.

Zhou Zhipeng

Zhou Zhipeng (right). photo by Heather Wang/AllChinaTech
Zhou Zhipeng (right). Photo by Heather Wang/AllChinaTech

Zhou co-founded creative product design platform LKKER in February 2016, connecting company clients and more than 5,000 designers.

Zhou predicts that the future of robots will see three trends: multi-layer experience, change in robot appearance and character, and change in application scene.

“Robots will get rid of the concept of mimicking the human body. Robots of all kinds of shapes and sizes will appear depending on the application scene and its features,” said Zhou.

Wei Qingchen

Wei Qingchen. photo by Heather Wang/AllChinaTech
Wei Qingchen. Photo by Heather Wang/AllChinaTech

Wei is the founder of EmoKit, which offers free Application Program Interface (API) for emotion computing. EmoKit has won a series of awards in international contests including Finnish Slush World and MIT-CHIEF global startups competition.

Pixar’s film Inside Out demonstrated five basic emotions: joy, fear, sadness, anger, and disgust. The big data driven startup has gone one step further and categorised human emotions into as many as 24 kinds.

Venue: ★★★★★

The class is held inside New Space’s spacious offices in Beijing’s Wangjing district, which is awashed with internet startups. There are startups working next door at New Space’s incubator.

Content: ★★★★★

Three speakers are all well prepared and gave in-depth analysis of the AI industry from various perspectives including developer tools and product design. Before the class, the host asked every attendee to briefly introduce themselves which took up too much time – almost 20 minutes.

Equipment: ★★★★★

The class only requires basic equipment like chairs and projector. The projector was fine, but it failed to work perfectly with speakers’ files and PPT. This kind of things happen when files are copied to a new computer.


It is good for people working in the internet and AI industry to learn some knowledge and views from the class, as well as to network with other attendees. The class also offers snacks and drinks, although sitting for three hours with no break was tiresome.

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