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Sogou’s Wang foresees tech driving quest for better medical services

Fan Feifei
Updated: Mar 8,2018 11:20 AM     China Daily

Wang Xiaochuan (middle), a member of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, communicates with other attendees during a panel discussion on March 5 in Beijing. [Photo by Zou Hong/China Daily]

Internet, big data and artificial intelligence technologies should be used to provide personalized, digital medical services to customers with an eye on medical services innovation, said Wang Xiaochuan, CEO of Chinese search engine Sogou Inc.

In his proposal to the first session of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, Wang, a member of the committee, called for a new medical treatment partnership that includes top-tier hospitals, primary-level medical and healthcare institutions and virtual family doctors based on digital technology.

“Digital technologies, such as language processing, image recognition, intelligent questions and answers, and machine translation should be applied to the healthcare sector, to enhance the efficiency and accuracy of diagnosis and treatment,” Wang said.

Under the new treatment partnership, clients could receive personalized and precise medical services. Meanwhile, the hospitals could enhance the utilization rate of medical resources and the pharmaceutical companies could speed up the research and development, production and circulation of new drugs, Wang added.

China will foster closer partnerships between top-tier hospitals and grassroots medical services, and accelerate the building of a cascaded medical system and introduce demand-oriented and contract-based family doctors.

More and more patients in China are turning to web-based digital platforms for solutions to their health-related problems. With the development of mobile technology, the mobile medical industry has also developed rapidly. However, its growth has been stymied due to the current laws and regulations and still faces an uncertain future.

Sogou, which debuted on the New York Stock Exchange last year, plans to increase investment in artificial intelligence and develop healthcare and law-related Q&A services depending on its capacity in human-machine interaction.

Its AI strategy concentrates on search engine and input method. “Sogou aims to develop AI centering on language, such as technologies in conversation, Q&A and translation,” Wang said.

He added with the further advancement of AI, their products can help users obtain and express information better. It has launched a lip-reading machine, which can understand what users are asking just through their lip movements.

Wang said: “It is inevitable that machines will gradually replace people to some degree, but people will be liberated to do something creative. So many jobs will disappear, but more jobs will be created.”

Beijing-based Sogou is the fourth-largest internet company in China, based on its monthly active users in September, according to market consultancy iResearch.