'Difficulties on the road to AI': the man pours water on the Baidu boss at the conference

SHANGHAI/BEIJING: A man spilled a bottle of water on Baidu CEO of Inc Robin Li on Wednesday at the opening of an annual conference for the Chinese search giant.

Li was talking about applications for artificial intelligence (AI) in a speech when the young man approached him, spilled the liquid on Li's head and walked away.

What is your problem? Li shouted in English.

There are many difficulties on the road to achieve AI, but it will not impact Baidu's determination, Li calmly said to the applause of the audience.

Then he continued with the conference.

The incident took place at the start of Baidu Create 2019, a yearly gathering where the company shows off its advances in AI.

The identity and motive of the man who poured the water did not know each other and could not be reached for comment.

The company said later that someone had poured cold water on the AI, but it would go ahead and never change.

Baidu and Li have long been targets of public anger over perceived problems linked to searches.

The company faced a major public backlash in 2016 when a Chinese student died after seeking a medical treatment advertised on Baidu's search pages.

This year, a journalist's lengthy criticism of the quality of Baidu's search results went viral.

Some commentators mocked the incident on Weibo's social media platform.

No matter how much you hate Robin Li, this is a waste of water, one Weibo user wrote.