Our day began with a visit to Cheetah Mobile, a Chinese app development and software company. I had never heard of Cheetah Mobile, so I wasn’t sure what to expect of them, but they ended up blowing me away. The global scope of their work, the modern facilities, and easy-going culture of the company made if feel as though they had just been plucked from Silicon Valley. They did everything they could to cater towards potentials employees, including a huge rock-climbing wall, a lush lawn, and winding Koi ponds. We were taken into a conference room where an executive spoke to us about the company. He told us about how they made their fortune after going global with their app, CleanMaster, and how they are now investing that money in artificial intelligence and machine learning. Next, we were taken on a tour of their office building, where we could see software engineers hard at work on upcoming apps.
Following the Cheetah Mobile tour, we visited Microsoft. This visit felt more like a showcase of Microsoft tech than a tour. As you walked in, there was a camera that would recognize your face and predict your age. I was 22, so it wasn’t too far off. Next, they showed us a mixed reality headset and an app that can recognize speech and translate it into 9 different languages. Finally, we were taken into a circular room with walls that were a massive wrap-around screen. Another Microsoft employee came into to discuss the future of the company. He spoke a lot about the importance of innovation and keeping the company on the cutting edge of technology, specifically with artificial intelligence and mixed reality systems.
Prior to coming to China, I was considering focusing my computer engineering degree on artificial intelligence and machine learning. After seeing the emphasis modern software companies are putting on these fields, my interests have been solidified, because I know the work I’ll be doing will be instrumental in shaping the future.