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Dr. Kai-Fu Lee—one of the world’s most respected experts on AI and China—reveals that China has suddenly caught up to the US at an astonishingly rapid and unexpected pace.   In AI Superpowers, Kai-fu Lee argues powerfully that because of these unprecedented developments in AI, dramatic changes will be happening much sooner than many of us expected. Indeed, as the US-Sino A Dr. Kai-Fu Lee—one of the world’s most respected experts on AI and China—reveals that China has suddenly caught up to the US at an astonishingly rapid and unexpected pace.   In AI Superpowers, Kai-fu Lee argues powerfully that because of these unprecedented developments in AI, dramatic changes will be happening much sooner than many of us expected. Indeed, as the US-Sino AI competition begins to heat up, Lee urges the US and China to both accept and to embrace the great responsibilities that come with significant technological power. Most experts already say that AI will have a devastating impact on blue-collar jobs. But Lee predicts that Chinese and American AI will have a strong impact on white-collar jobs as well. Is universal basic income the solution? In Lee’s opinion, probably not.  But he provides  a clear description of which jobs will be affected and how soon, which jobs can be enhanced with AI, and most importantly, how we can provide solutions to some of the most profound changes in human history that are coming soon.


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Dr. Kai-Fu Lee—one of the world’s most respected experts on AI and China—reveals that China has suddenly caught up to the US at an astonishingly rapid and unexpected pace.   In AI Superpowers, Kai-fu Lee argues powerfully that because of these unprecedented developments in AI, dramatic changes will be happening much sooner than many of us expected. Indeed, as the US-Sino A Dr. Kai-Fu Lee—one of the world’s most respected experts on AI and China—reveals that China has suddenly caught up to the US at an astonishingly rapid and unexpected pace.   In AI Superpowers, Kai-fu Lee argues powerfully that because of these unprecedented developments in AI, dramatic changes will be happening much sooner than many of us expected. Indeed, as the US-Sino AI competition begins to heat up, Lee urges the US and China to both accept and to embrace the great responsibilities that come with significant technological power. Most experts already say that AI will have a devastating impact on blue-collar jobs. But Lee predicts that Chinese and American AI will have a strong impact on white-collar jobs as well. Is universal basic income the solution? In Lee’s opinion, probably not.  But he provides  a clear description of which jobs will be affected and how soon, which jobs can be enhanced with AI, and most importantly, how we can provide solutions to some of the most profound changes in human history that are coming soon.

30 review for AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mario the lone bookwolf

    The distillation and preparation of the data for feeding the omniscient cyber oracle. The culturally influenced, very different approach to research and integration of AI in society is interesting. So the methods to compensate for the loss of jobs and changes in society will be different and it will be interesting to see which strategies will be successful. And whether even more beneficial mixed forms from the best Asian and Western approaches will be mixed together. Politics, especially democra The distillation and preparation of the data for feeding the omniscient cyber oracle. The culturally influenced, very different approach to research and integration of AI in society is interesting. So the methods to compensate for the loss of jobs and changes in society will be different and it will be interesting to see which strategies will be successful. And whether even more beneficial mixed forms from the best Asian and Western approaches will be mixed together. Politics, especially democracy and economic systems, will be accelerated with the help of the AI, and new, yet unimagined variants will develop. The dalliances and thought experiments with ideas, especially in the economy, will become obsolete. If a concept, at the moment, fails in reality (again and again), one can calculate in advance for the future. The best variants are chosen and respond to unexpected developments, such as those of geopolitical nature, directly and correctly. Two aspects could benefit China. A larger population means more data and more smart minds. And second politics, through its closer integration with the economy and state companies, enables implementation in dimensions and timeframes that would be utopian in Europe and the USA. The current technology plan of China (as of 2019) alone outshines all other states, in particular concerning automation, robotics and the development and expansion of the branches of science. These two factors will weigh more heavily as soon as the technological advantage of the West has melted away. The long-overdue implementation of AI in school and university education in China is being driven forward with a concrete plan as well as its use in almost all public areas. And not just by empty phrases like in the West, but based on an intelligent concept with goals and milestones by 2020, 2025 and 2030. In western countries, it is to be expected that, thanks to too much bureaucratization and mutual sabotage of the political parties, the legal aspects will be in just in draft form until then. Not yet decided, as dealing with time pressure one may not expect from these instances, while education systems and research facilities are being cut down and privatized. At this time, training and work in China will already be robustly connected with AI and create a synergy effect for man and machine. The weaknesses of the Chinese education system concerning the lack of creativity and critical thinking will be eliminated by AI. Individually tailored to pupils and students learning and tutor AIs will accompany them on their educational path, recognize their strengths and promote them better than human teachers 24/7. Thus will, not only many more, but also more creative university graduates emerge from the high-class Chinese universities. After all, generative adversarial networks (GANs) and deep learning together sooner or later are will steal almost all human jobs the right to exist. And until then 1.4 billion motivated users generate data and improve the systems. What unofficial progress there may already have been made is also an unknown factor, but just with the known technologies, one is speaking of a disruption, the dawn of the machine age. It is significant that the victory of various AIs over chess grandmasters has not brought any logical consequence in the West. Namely to massively invest in AI before all other research areas with full resources of the state and private sectors with public-private partnerships. On the other hand, the victory of AlphaGo in 2017 has shaken China up. Why the same events in chess passed by Europe and the US without consequences can be discussed in many ways, but it says a lot about the mentality and prioritization of cultures. Whether, as examined in the book, ultimately the US, China, Europe (lol) or any other state will take over the leadership, is irrelevant for the development of AI. On the other hand, how the long-term perspective affects global equilibrium is the big deal. Humankind has never created an even more absolute, immediate reacting and intelligent power. Whoever becomes their first master, has an uncatchable advantage and whether this superintelligence can also feel emotions is only a partial aspect. That means that what differentiates us, as humans, from the machine, and makes us unique, is just an unimportant and reproducible aspect out of the spectrum of the AIs abilities. Because whether the control and steering are cold and logical or spiced with a pinch of empathy, does not change the concept. The ability to understand human emotions, on the contrary, could be misused to manipulate the population even better. That in addition to the statistical and probable calculation, both the group dynamics and the individual parameters of each are included in the calculation key. AI is already superior in many areas. Whether it is good to teach it feelings and however "humanity" can be coded, is an open question. What if it reveals the cognitive dissonance and contradictions in people's beliefs, personality, self-image, and the ego too obvious? With rationality, the dangers of emotion are exposed. What if the AI is imitating individual biochemical processes and behavioral patterns to make perfect avatars for every human being? What makes the copy different from the original? Could friends and family see a difference? And how much does that reduce the economic value of social interaction if it can be artificially created in all its facets? The implications for the individual and all social networks are far-reaching. Sometimes an advance is hard to catch up. The requirement of collecting massive amounts of data illustrates the dilemma. It took a long time for the technology, disk space, algorithms, and finally enough data to be sufficient. Those who start merging Big Data and AI at this point benefit from exponential growth. Their AI and algorithms learn on their own, are continually being improved by humans and are self-optimizing. Even if a state succeeds years later in creating the same underlying conditions, its artificial organism is not competitive. As if a child would compete against an experienced and ingenious adult. Nobody knows where the limits of the growth of an AI's abilities are if there even are any that distinguish them from godlike omnipotence. The result is a scientific singularity that enables the economy and research to accelerate to unprecedented levels. There is nothing to oppose this superior competitiveness and dominance over the world market. Other states are wasting money on expensive, ineffective research for the slow production of non-contemporary products. They have no alternative, as their entire production chains, including engineers and basic researchers, use antiquated methods. Protectionism in the form of punitive tariffs and trade embargoes are a mute cry for help. Spinning the scenario further reveals that an AI superpower does not need external stimuli except commodities. If you can manufacture everything yourself, it makes sense to weaken other states by not buying their products. To be able to squeeze the raw materials even cheaper from the faltering countries and to buy their remaining economy and government debts to finally dominate it. It opens up a variety of new geopolitical, social-political and global economic scenarios that completely change the rules of the game. Of course, in a very distant time, the point may come when all states have the best AI, automated manufacturing and so on. But until then, superpowers will be created by the equivalent of the oil of the 21st century, the data in an all-knowing entity. To end with a quote: "WW1 was the war of chemists. WW2 was the war of physicists. WW3 will be the war of mathematicians." I would add trade war and software engineers/computer scientists/hackers. A wiki walk can be as refreshing to the mind as a walk through nature in this completely overrated real-life outside books: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artific... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_data https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machine... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Categor...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Max

    This book is an eye opener for those of us unfamiliar with the wide ranging capabilities and imminent impact of AI. Lee tells us about the development, design and future of AI and associated web and mobile technology. He contrasts Chinese work in AI with that in the US. While Chinese AI is based on technologies developed in the US, Chinese companies are now taking their own direction. Lee makes a strong case that AI will have profound consequences for society and determine the relative power of This book is an eye opener for those of us unfamiliar with the wide ranging capabilities and imminent impact of AI. Lee tells us about the development, design and future of AI and associated web and mobile technology. He contrasts Chinese work in AI with that in the US. While Chinese AI is based on technologies developed in the US, Chinese companies are now taking their own direction. Lee makes a strong case that AI will have profound consequences for society and determine the relative power of nations. He means this in terms of economic power. He does not discuss military applications. Kai-Fu Lee is CEO of a Chinese venture capital firm investing in AI. A former president of Google China with a PhD from Carnegie Mellon University he has thirty years’ experience in AI research. From just the application of recently developed technology called “deep learning”, Lee predicts society will be cast into worldwide upheaval. For example automated factories will eliminate the need for low cost labor devastating developing countries, allowing factories to be built near consumers. The economic demise of those displaced by AI in developed countries will exacerbate income inequality. Successful AI entrepreneurs and their companies will gain an even larger share of national income than their internet and social media predecessors eclipsing people such as Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. It’s a scary picture but Lee evaluates ways to address the problem and offers his own solutions. Lee believes China will lead in implementing AI with the US second. China secures an advantage because it is investing increasingly more in AI than the US. Chinese AI and other software startups are offered rent subsidies and tax discounts to move into designated zones to create technology incubators in the image of Silicon Valley. Local governments have started “guiding funds” which have grown exponentially in a few years to $27 billion in 2015 for investment in venture capital firms focused on AI and supporting technologies. China is also investing heavily in AI related education. The Chinese government is prioritizing AI because it sees AI leadership as a way to increase its world power and spread its culture just as the West has with past technology leadership. Google’s Eric Schmidt in 2017 said that in five years China would equal the US in AI. Americans often blame Chinese government interference for limiting their success in China; however Lee notes that the domestic success of Chinese internet companies has been due more to their customization for the Chinese market than government controls. Lee attributes Chinese sensitivity to its users to its flexibility “Unencumbered by lofty mission statements or ‘core values’, they had no problem in following trends in user activity wherever it took their companies.” Lee believes a market where copying is problematic such as the US allows the originator to maintain a significant competitive advantage making them less responsive to customers. Lee describes competition between Chinese AI companies as cutthroat; anything goes. He describes the work ethic as “maniacal”, well beyond the intensity of Silicon Valley. American companies eschew copying from each other. Chinese companies are happy to take technology, business models, employees, whatever they can get from their domestic or international competitors making them more agile. In China they do not face lawsuits or antimonopoly investigations for their actions only the counterpunch of their competitors which can include smear campaigns and even charging competitors with crimes. Lee sees Silicon Valley entrepreneurs as “mission driven”. Take an original idea and achieve an idealistic goal. He sees their Chinese counterparts as “market driven”. It doesn’t matter where an idea comes from, only that it makes a profit. In Lee’s words “The core motivation for Chinese market-driven entrepreneurs is not fame, glory or changing the world. These things are all nice side benefits, but the grand prize is getting rich, and it doesn’t matter how you got there.” Lee does note that if one of the big seven in AI research (four US, three Chinese - Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent) makes a game changing breakthrough, it would keep that to itself, garnering a huge competitive advantage and rendering the implementation of present AI technology short-lived. Among the seven, Lee gives Google the best shot at such a breakthrough. It has over half of the top 100 AI researchers in the world and spends twice as much on math and computer systems research as the US government. However he still considers such a breakthrough more likely to occur in academia which openly shares its results. And the record of such significant breakthroughs shows they do not occur frequently. If a major proprietary breakthrough in AI technology in the near term is unlikely, ability to implement becomes the key issue rather expertise in research, favoring China. The amount of data available to feed current state of the art deep learning AI systems determines how well they operate. This too favors China. We are not yet in the age of generalized AI systems. Deep learning AI systems need large amounts of data to learn a specific task, say controlling an autonomous vehicle or facial recognition. One platform, WeChat, can provide everything one needs to know about Chinese habits. WeChat owned by Tencent is a mobile super-app. WeChat allows other developers to incorporate apps within it. With WeChat users can exchange messages, connect with friends, transfer money, make investments, shop, make reservations, order meals, make a doctor’s appointment, unlock a city bike, get a taxi, have groceries or prescriptions delivered, get movie tickets, pay traffic fines, and on and on. Mobile payments in China were $17 trillion in 2017. They are quickly replacing credit cards and cash. Some beggars hang QR codes around there neck to accept mobile payments. WeChat apps collect data on what you buy, who you send money to, the food you eat, the doctor you see, the medicines you use, where you take your bike share or ride share and much, much more. In the US this data is scattered among many platforms and Americans are pushing back on the invasion of their privacy. As I was writing this I read that Apple CEO Tim Cook attributed declining iPhone sales in China in part to WeChat. WeChat does everything and it does it just as well on a cheap Android as it does on an iPhone. Lee sees four waves of AI development. The first wave is already with us. Algorithms are deciding the ads we see, the videos we are offered and the news we read. The key is data. The more that an AI engine sees of your clicks, pictures and videos viewed, articles and tweets read, the better it can give you what you want leading to a more addictive experience. That addictive experience is the goal since more clicks mean more profit for the website. A Chinese site, Toutiao, called ByteDance in English, is a purveyor of trending news like Buzzfeed. Except rather than use reporters it uses AI to find content that you want even creating its own headlines based on your preferences. The company is experimenting with the algorithm writing its own articles. It can summarize a sports event and post it two seconds after the event ends. These algorithms can both create and detect fake news. Toutiao pits two such algorithms against each other to hone their abilities. The second wave of AI development is also already with us, in the US more than China. It’s about business. Insurance companies use it to determine risk, banks to determine credit, hedge funds to trade stocks, and pharmaceutical companies to design drugs. The reason the US leads in this area is the same reason China leads in consumer applications – data. US companies have long used data bases to store massive amounts of information in formats readily accessible to AI engines. An emerging application is disease diagnosis. AI engines are thorough taking in and weighing far more detail than a human. AI diagnoses can be used as guides letting the doctor make the final decision. AI can help level the quality of care for underserved poor and rural areas. In China AI is being tested for court systems helping judges decide guilt or innocence and an appropriate sentience. This can help eliminate bias. The third wave of AI development is just emerging. This is perception AI, AI that can recognize objects, voices and faces. Already a test KFC in China is charging customers based on facial recognition alone. The sensors and algorithm first check that the subject is alive to prevent being fooled by a picture. The WeChat wallet is updated immediately. The customer does nothing except to place their order and take their food. Perception AI requires extensive use of sensors. This is already common in China allowing urban traffic flows to be controlled. In the home devices like Amazon’s Echo interfacing with smart devices allow people to control their environment. Combining home with store AI is next. For example your grocery cart could receive your home shopping list augmented by data from your refrigerator and your purchase history. And of course it would ring up and pay for your order just by placing items in the cart. Education is ripe for development with AI determining a student’s needs, producing appropriate work assignments and grading them. AI could identify students requiring tutoring or those with exceptional abilities. The human teacher would still lecture and assist students. The fourth wave of AI is autonomy. We are familiar with the tests of autonomous vehicles. The development of autonomous cars relies mostly on collecting more real world data which Tesla and the real technology leader, Google, are actively doing. Chinese companies are also developing autonomous cars but most experts are already with US companies which started working on this complicated application years ago. While Chinese companies are behind US companies they face fewer restrictions and have more government support than US companies. A California startup has devised a machine that can see and delicately pick only ripe strawberries. Now it is pulled by a conventional tractor. In the future it will be autonomous. Drones for everything from firefighting, search and rescue, product delivery and much more are coming. In Amazon’s warehouses the shelves come to warehousemen who stay in one place filling boxes for delivery. The next step seems obvious. As for the home environment Lee does not believe current AI is ready for useful robots. The tasks just to clean a house are too diverse for today’s technology. While Lee sees artificial general intelligence (AGI) decades away including its ominous possibilities, he does see potentially dire consequences from the full implementation of current AI technology. These consequences are widespread loss of jobs, devaluation of labor, increased income inequality between nations and within nations. The impact will disrupt society and the balance of power in the world. Poor countries relying on cheap labor will be hit the hardest. As factories automate labor costs decline allowing factories to minimize transportation costs and improve service by moving near their markets in developed countries. Data driven monopolies will have significant advantages displacing smaller competitors. The AI superpowers, China and the US, will forge ahead while the developing countries will fall further behind. Within China and the US the divide between the rich and poor will be even greater. PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates AI will increase worldwide GDP by $15.7 trillion dollars by 2030 with 70% of that going to the US and China. Since AI consists of algorithms that are easily installed where needed and maintained remotely, this revolution can take place at unprecedented speed. Jobs that don’t require social interaction or advanced robotics are most at risk. White collar as well as blue collar jobs are at risk. Some examples: Radiologists are at risk, Psychiatrists are not. Loan underwriters are at risk, PR directors are not. Dishwashers are at risk, dog trainers are not. Fast food preparers are at risk, Physical therapists are not. As I write this the Brookings Institute issued a report that 36 million US jobs are at high risk to be replaced by automation in possibly the next few years although it could take up to two decades. Companies typically invest in labor saving technologies during downturns so a recession would speed things up. Lee shares estimates of how many jobs will actually be displaced in the US where almost all studies have been conducted. These vary from a low of 9% all the way up to 48%. Lee believes 38% is the number of jobs at risk but this could be ameliorated by social policies cutting actual displacement in half and some new jobs will be created. But the value of labor will also drop meaning lower wages for those still employed. The impact on the self-worth of most workers will exacerbate social and political divides. Lee evaluates prescriptions for dealing with an AI world with too many people for too few traditional jobs. He considers retraining, reducing work hours and guaranteed income. Retraining should be done but will have limited impact. Reduced hours may help some but will reach its limits as will income redistribution. If people are paid for doing little or nothing their sense of self-worth can be undermined creating an underclass. It would lead to a divided society. Are you one of those who work to provide for the world or one who we support? Lee believes there needs to be a new social contract in which government and industry invest in human oriented service jobs. AI will do the thinking but it has no emotion. Lee wants to use the tremendous gains from AI productivity to help fund jobs such as elderly caregivers, patient facing health workers, student supporting educators – jobs in which compassion and a human touch can improve people’s lives. It would be a remarkable shift to divert corporate profits to create this caring society. In part Lee’s ideas stem from his life changing experience being diagnosed with stage four lymphoma. He wants AI to do the diagnoses but a human not a bot to deliver the news and explain it. Lee recovered with treatment but it made him question what is really important in life. The last chapters of his book reflect this seismic shift in his outlook. He went from seeing his value as revolutionizing the world with game changing technology to valuing personal relationships; being there for family and friends and helping people lead better lives. The dichotomy is reflected in the future we face as AI intrudes into every aspect of our lives. Will it be utopia, dystopia or just a muddle.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dee Arr

    {Words on Words 60-Second Spotlight Review: https://bit.ly/2ymCzcg } Early on, it is noticeable that Mr. Lee’s comments all favor his original premise, that China will eclipse the United States as a global superpower in the realm of international commerce. While I believe this is a possibility, the author’s view initially appeared tainted due to his relative closeness to the subject matter (viewing China as his homeland). Of course, the same could be said of me (living in the US), so I advise rea {Words on Words 60-Second Spotlight Review: https://bit.ly/2ymCzcg } Early on, it is noticeable that Mr. Lee’s comments all favor his original premise, that China will eclipse the United States as a global superpower in the realm of international commerce. While I believe this is a possibility, the author’s view initially appeared tainted due to his relative closeness to the subject matter (viewing China as his homeland). Of course, the same could be said of me (living in the US), so I advise readers to take both our initial comments with a grain of salt. Chinese entrepreneurs have harnessed what has been known for years, that lean companies able to make quick decisions have the advantage in the marketplace. The danger of decisive decisions means the quick sprint in a different direction can lead to riches or a spiral to oblivion. About halfway through the book, I began to wonder why Mr. Lee chose to spend all this time and effort to tell everyone that he believes China will overtake the US in the AI field. While the stories explaining the growth of Chinese companies were interesting and I can see how they are necessary to use as comparisons to US companies, I questioned the premise for the book. Does he want to warn the US? Brag up his home country? Publish a book to hype his “Sinovation” company? (Fortunately, Mr. Lee answered these questions and more in the last chapter). Mr. Lee then executed an about-face with an intimate look at his life-threatening disease and how it affected his outlook on life and relationships with others. It is this epiphany that spurs the last third of the book, which moves past the dire outcomes of AI robots putting 50% of us out of work and instead offers a realistic view of using inherent human strengths to create opportunities for us to coexist with the inevitable world we face. I liked that the author did not pound one thesis at us for 300 pages. Rather, he presented his views in an articulate manner, separating the discussions into coherent pieces that allow readers time to understand one concept before moving on. Surprisingly (based solely on the book’s title), the ultimate thrust of the book did not pit the two superpowers against each other. After posing the questions of how China and the United States might perform in the context of a business model, Mr. Lee moved into an area currently inaccessible to AI, the ability to feel and demonstrate compassion for others. As a world, we are headed toward a myriad of possibilities, and “AI Superpowers” does more than simply educate. It provides a potential guideline to aid us all in our travels through future uncertainties. In the author’s own words: “If we believe that life has meaning beyond this material rat race, then AI might be the tool that can help us uncover that deeper meaning.” Five stars. My thanks to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for an advance complimentary ebook.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Radiantflux

    100th book for 2018. The book offers a fascinating look at the rise of the Chinese tech environment, why it's radically different from Silicon Valley, and why it may well ended up dominating the latter over the next couple of decades. Lee, went from Taiwan to the US to study at 11 years old, and has worked in senior positions in both Google and Apple; founding Google China before leaving in 2009 to start up his on Chinese venture capital firm, can take both an insider and outsider perspective on 100th book for 2018. The book offers a fascinating look at the rise of the Chinese tech environment, why it's radically different from Silicon Valley, and why it may well ended up dominating the latter over the next couple of decades. Lee, went from Taiwan to the US to study at 11 years old, and has worked in senior positions in both Google and Apple; founding Google China before leaving in 2009 to start up his on Chinese venture capital firm, can take both an insider and outsider perspective on the Chinese tech scene which is fascinating. His point, that AI is both over- and under-hyped was particularly interesting: over-hyped in the sense the big breakthrough in AI was the development of the technique of deep learning some years ago and we are unlikely to see another such earth shattering development again for a while - all the recent advances we are seeing in AI (computer vision; self-driving cars, translation; stock market predictions, AI beating championship players in Go etc) are applications of deep learning techniques (i.e., general AI and robots are not around the corner); under-hyped in the sense that even "just" deep-learning is likely to cause major major disruptions to work and society, and the Chinese tech environment is well placed to take advantage of what is now becoming a mature technology. I found the last couple of chapters less compelling, where he spent a entire chapter dealing his brush with death when diagnosed with cancer, and his rethinking of his life (work is not everything - spend more time with the family), and how that lead to his belief that the solution to the looming job crisis brought about by AI is that we should pay people do what AI can't: Love other people! So rather than a Universal Basic Income countries should pay people to do jobs that involve love and interaction. This struck me as slightly weird and even a bit creepy, as he had made it clear in previous chapters that he didn't find it at all problematic for corporations/governments to track virtually ever aspect of a person's life. So it's easy to imagine his solution to unemployment being that socially "good" citizens (deemed good by the government) would be rewarded with financial support and the rest not. Something given China's dictatorial government is decidedly creepy. 3-stars.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jean

    This is a great book. It not only provides a history of AI both in the USA and China. Kai-Fu Lee also provides a history of AI’s both in the USA and China, and also incudes an in-depth analysis between China and the US’s approach to AI’s. He also discusses pros and cons of their abilities, engineering and politics. The author explains technical methods so that a lay person can understand it. He also explains algorithms and data in an easy to understand manner. The author shows how AI’s effect our This is a great book. It not only provides a history of AI both in the USA and China. Kai-Fu Lee also provides a history of AI’s both in the USA and China, and also incudes an in-depth analysis between China and the US’s approach to AI’s. He also discusses pros and cons of their abilities, engineering and politics. The author explains technical methods so that a lay person can understand it. He also explains algorithms and data in an easy to understand manner. The author shows how AI’s effect our lives today and what is going to happen in the near and far future. He goes into explanations into what jobs will be lost and why as well as which job categories are safe. He also explains what type of jobs will be created in the future. I particularly found the information about teachers enlightening. I found the section on how the superpowers will affect the world most fascinating. This is definitely a must-read book. I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible. The book is nine hours twenty-eight minutes. Mikael Naramore does an excellent job narrating the book. Naramore is an actor, voice actor and audiobook narrators. He has won many Earphone Awards and was the 2017 Audie Award winner.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Laura Noggle

    “A clear-eyed look at the technology’s long-term impact has revealed a sobering truth: in the coming decades, AI’s greatest potential to disrupt and destroy lies not in international military contests but in what it will do to our labor markets and social systems. Appreciating the momentous social and economic turbulence that is on our horizon should humble us. It should also turn our competitive instincts into a search for cooperative solutions to the common challenges that we all face as human “A clear-eyed look at the technology’s long-term impact has revealed a sobering truth: in the coming decades, AI’s greatest potential to disrupt and destroy lies not in international military contests but in what it will do to our labor markets and social systems. Appreciating the momentous social and economic turbulence that is on our horizon should humble us. It should also turn our competitive instincts into a search for cooperative solutions to the common challenges that we all face as human beings, people whose fates are inextricably intertwined across all economic classes and national borders.” An excellent overview of AI where it stands, and where it's going. Took one star off as the last portion of the book was a little heavy handed with the whole, diagnosed with cancer, near death experience completely changed my life/views. Not that there's anything wrong with that, it is an important experience and gives a little bit of "heart" to an otherwise straightforward review of AI—but it's a little jarring after the excellent analysis of the first part and could have been saved for a personal memoir instead of a book on tech. *However* ... Lee is writing from his own personal (extensive) experience with AI so, it gets a pass. Excellent book!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Huyen Chip

    The best book I've read on what's happening in the realm of AI.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Woman Reading

    3.5 ☆ Films, especially the "Terminator" series, had introduced me to a limited view of artificial intelligence (AI). AI Superpowers by Kai-Fu Lee provided me with a broader big- picture introduction to AI in terms of what it is, identifying the major players, and making some predictions about the future. Lee also includes many examples of companies' current innovations - from AI that can handily trounce world champion Go players to the ubiquitous digital wallet in China created by WeChat. My u 3.5 ☆ Films, especially the "Terminator" series, had introduced me to a limited view of artificial intelligence (AI). AI Superpowers by Kai-Fu Lee provided me with a broader big- picture introduction to AI in terms of what it is, identifying the major players, and making some predictions about the future. Lee also includes many examples of companies' current innovations - from AI that can handily trounce world champion Go players to the ubiquitous digital wallet in China created by WeChat. My understanding from Lee's book is that AI is a machine duplication of the human brain's ability to think and thus make decisions. Since the 1980s, AI scientists had been divided into two different camps, and it is the deep learning camp that replicates the brain's neutral networks which has prevailed. This "narrow AI" requires algorithms to be fed massive amounts of data from a specific domain in order to recognize patterns that will lead to a desired outcome. Lee describes four waves of the AI evolution. The first two waves are the "internet AI" (ex. purchase recommendations from Amazon) and "business AI" (ex. enabling faster decisions to people's credit worthiness). We are currently in the third wave - "perception AI" in which we no longer require the computer or our smartphones in order to access the internet (ex. smart appliances). The final wave is "autonomous AI" - when machines understand the world and directly shape the world. The culmination of the AI evolution is what scientists call "singularity" or artificial general intelligence (AGI). AGI is the basis of the "Terminator" movies - when thinking machines have the ability to perform any intellectual tasks that humans can do. Learning about AI was the most interesting part of AI Superpowers for me. Of lesser appeal, but still highly relevant, was Lee's description of the AI players, on a corporate level as well as on the macro stage. Given Lee's professional experience, he occupies the vantage point of a specialist. His current occupation as the founder of a venture capital firm based in Beijing, however, predisposes him to cast a more favorable assessment of China. What Lee blithely describes as cultural differences between Silicon Valley and China obscures the vastly different playing fields as defined by governmental and judicial roles. For Silicon Valley and other technology firms in Europe, intellectual property merits some legal protection. Lee's military metaphors glorify China's copycat practices and their complete disregard for intellectual property. It is that plus their wealth of scientists and engineers that have enabled their technology firms to progress so quickly that they are now serious competitors that should neither be dismissed nor underestimated. Finally, Lee's chapters on predictions and proposals provide serious food for thought. Although the attainment of singularity may not (if ever) transpire until as early as 2045, the consequences of the fourth wave of the AI evolution alone are indeed earth shaking. Researchers' estimates vary widely but 10 to 40 percent of jobs in the USA are assessed to be replaceable by AI by 2030. The social ramifications are nowhere as apocalyptic as the "Terminator" franchise suggests but will nonetheless still be devastating. I believe that AI Superpowers was too general to be anything but a light reading for those from the AI field. For the rest of us, and non - STEM readers in particular, this is accessible information but not necessarily presented in the most concise manner. The author also had a life threatening brush with cancer and this generated an epiphany that shaped his proposals. So although impactful in that regard, I felt that this biographical chapter could have been shortened considerably as it altered the overall tone of AI Superpowers.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Silvana

    Don't you just love it when two worlds of your interests collide? Having read many science fiction works (and movies) featuring AI, I truly enjoyed the reading experience from this book. Funnily enough, he did made a reference to Hao Jingfang's story, Folding Beijing, when he talked about AGI, aka the Singularity. As I said before in my placeholder review, it is highly informative. I learned about deep learning and its relation with data, what it takes for successful AI algorithms to take off. I Don't you just love it when two worlds of your interests collide? Having read many science fiction works (and movies) featuring AI, I truly enjoyed the reading experience from this book. Funnily enough, he did made a reference to Hao Jingfang's story, Folding Beijing, when he talked about AGI, aka the Singularity. As I said before in my placeholder review, it is highly informative. I learned about deep learning and its relation with data, what it takes for successful AI algorithms to take off. I was given an overview on how the Chinese ICT industry likely to lead the AI revolution, also in comparison with how Silicon Valley works. Each has their own uniqueness, competitive edge, that might or might not work for them in the future. Lee made some predictions on AI capabilities China and the US would have by 2021. I can't wait for next year and see how it'll fare, whether his prediction comes true or not. It amused me when reading about the cutthroat competition in China and the stories of how companies like WeChat could thrive. I just found that it was behind the trend in my own country, where our own locally grown apps suddenly inspiring to be super apps. A friend even told me these local apps copied the UI/UX of the successful apps in China in its entirety. Learning from the best, I guess. The book also got me thinking about how these progresses in the AI front poses real underlying threat, namely tremendous social disorder and political collapse stemming from widespread unemployment and gaping inequality. Would Universal Basic Income - a solution supported by many major IT players - work? Which jobs would be lost when AI comes to play? How do you measure the impact of AI in the work force? Should countries become more techno-utilitarian, i.e. hurting some (e.g. data privacy) for the greater good? While the topics are fascinating, I too wish that he provided extra elaboration on the importance of localization and how it relates to the four waves of AI development. Instead, the last few chapters were kind of.... overly sentimental. Sure, it's fine to put some of the personal life experience especially if it's life-altering but yet it might have taken away more needed details on other relevant stuff readers like yours truly need, like the types of jobs that will integrate human and AI. He provided a very intriguing chart that deserves two chapters at least. All in all, a very good book that everyone with the slightest interest in AI and technology impact to society should read.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Hackett

    I was hoping for an insightful read about the balance between the US and China and the current global state of AI, but instead the book basically evolved from cover letter to personal memoir, with a clear bias towards China throughout. Maybe I would have liked this more if I was previously familiar with Kai-Fu Lee, but I found "AI Superpowers" too heavy on the author bragging and not heavy enough on actual substance.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Roy Wang

    This is one of the most useful books to read if you want to understand China's rising dominance in the applications of A.I. technologies, written by none other than the highly respected expert of China's startup scene, Dr. Kai-Fu Lee. While many Westerners might still associate China's tech companies with copycats or OEM sweatshops, this book makes it crystal clear why China has emerged as the world's model country for developing and integrating A.I. technologies into virtually every corner of i This is one of the most useful books to read if you want to understand China's rising dominance in the applications of A.I. technologies, written by none other than the highly respected expert of China's startup scene, Dr. Kai-Fu Lee. While many Westerners might still associate China's tech companies with copycats or OEM sweatshops, this book makes it crystal clear why China has emerged as the world's model country for developing and integrating A.I. technologies into virtually every corner of its citizens' lives. Thanks to an exceptionally high penetration of smartphone adoption and government-led efforts to advance domestic tech innovation, Chinese tech companies are able to collect and analyze mountains of data generated from a variety of not just online but also offline user activities, such as taxi hailing, money transfer, bike rental, manicure reservations, shopping, and pretty much anything you can think of. Such richness and diversity of user data from one of the world's biggest populations, along with a more nonchalant attitude towards data privacy, allows Chinese tech companies to continuously improve the A.I. algorithms powering their services, which in turn helps further enhance their service qualities. As the author notes, China boasts the largest amount of user data, a central government unfettered by election pressure and willing to take big bets, and a growing breed of smart, hard-working tech entrepreneurs bent on global domination, which is why China is slowly and quietly winning the A.I. war. U.S. and Silicon Valley has no room for complacency. The last few chapters discusses the unnerving possibility of a dystopian future where the vast majority of user data around the world are concentrated in the hands of a few large tech behemoths and automation and A.I. technologies have replaced over 40% of all jobs, both blue collar and white collar jobs. If the rise of political populism and nationalist movement in recent years is any indication, such a grim future would probably lead to even more political unrest and social chaos where the haves and have-nots become economically and socio-politically divided. The author, thus, argues that to avert such a calamous result, governments, institutions, tech companies, and people of all countries will have to come together and cooperate in figuring out how to design a global A.I. future that serves all people, not just a select few.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin

    update on China the US race for AI (remember what Elon Musk called the equivalent of summoning a demon). China had a Sputnik moment when the world Go Champion lost to the Alpha Go system it has since caught up with US companies in the race to AI. I don't think AI overlords is the worry in the near term but shedding whole categories of jobs. The book also has a 2d graph along Asocial-social dimensions and along Optimization-Creativity axis making four quadrants Safe Zone (Social-Creative), Human update on China the US race for AI (remember what Elon Musk called the equivalent of summoning a demon). China had a Sputnik moment when the world Go Champion lost to the Alpha Go system it has since caught up with US companies in the race to AI. I don't think AI overlords is the worry in the near term but shedding whole categories of jobs. The book also has a 2d graph along Asocial-social dimensions and along Optimization-Creativity axis making four quadrants Safe Zone (Social-Creative), Human Veneer (Social-Optimization), Slow Creep (Asocial-Creative), Danger Zone (Asocial-Optimization). Danger Zone is toast in the near term, Slow Creep and Human Veneer jobs are in trouble in the medium term and Safe Zone will be around for the final Conquest by our AI overlords. Being in the job the chart categorizes as Human Veneer as a teacher along with say, a GP doctor this is quite worrisome. A novelist or scientist might be someone in the Slow Creep category to give a feel for the categories Danger Zone includes call center people but also radiologists. in fact, a lot of jobs fall in the danger zone and most jobs are not in the safe zone on these charts should worry just about everyone. The fact that this race for AI is an arms race between rival powers does not give me much hope that precautionary measures will be a priority.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Lu

    Loved this book. I learned a lot about what a great man has done, but even more about who he is. His POV about the future of AI is spot on, and made me think about the structural advantage that China has: - government structure means an ability to rapidly spur public investment in R&D without political backlash (rather embraced support by the lieutenants on the ground), which lends to an even higher appetite for risk than among VCs in Silicon Valley - Size, with more internet users than US/EU co Loved this book. I learned a lot about what a great man has done, but even more about who he is. His POV about the future of AI is spot on, and made me think about the structural advantage that China has: - government structure means an ability to rapidly spur public investment in R&D without political backlash (rather embraced support by the lieutenants on the ground), which lends to an even higher appetite for risk than among VCs in Silicon Valley - Size, with more internet users than US/EU combined, since data quantity = quality in this game - Culture of Shanzai - unbiased towards the stigma of copycats. Which leads to a more ruthless environment where the winners who come out on the test truly have the best products - Market-driven rather than mission-driven mentality - scarcity mentality creates a greater drive for survival - Culture of the consumer, who is less concerned with data security and privacy than in the US/EU - the fact that implementation is the key to the future of AI - moreso than improved algorithms. I also loved learning about Moravec's paradox - had not thought about this in the past, but it is spot on. Kai-fu's view on the future of technological displacement is dire, and his vision for how the public and private sectors can address this in the future is idealistic - the key to me is not in having the right answers, but asking the right questions (which he does). Capitalism and democracy are only a few hundred years old, and continuing to evolve. His questions are the right ones for us to consider as we intentionally shape these systems to better serve us for the future (rather than let them run completely under the invisible hand). His personal anecdote about coming to terms with his own humanity and concluding that love is the purpose of life was my favorite part - to see the man. It's a message that I'm happy to have discovered myself at a relatively early age, and driven by events of great joy. What I could not help but take away was whether the conditions that will lead to China's superiority in AI is a "good" thing from the standpoint of the Chinese population. Will this result in happier people? If meaning comes from "sharing love with those around us", I think about the massive amount of time spent in the virtual world by the Chinese population, the digital customization driven by ML that leads to a decreased need for human contact, the product superiority which keeps more eyes on screen, the prevalence of O2O which saves so much time to be spent online, the values of being market-driven such that finance > intimacy… this does not sound like a good thing. Left unchecked, as with capitalism, these forces of commerce and culture will not lead to a happy place. But I'm confident that they will not be left unchecked. These pacelayers of change happen slowly, but can be impacted by fashion and governance, for which China holds an advantage in agility. I don't know how the future will unfold, but we will need to keep asking ourselves the provocative questions that Kai-Fu raises in his book (and magnificent speech Kai-Fu Lee: How AI can save our humanity) to come to a place of positivity. Chapter notes: China’s Sputnik moment - alpha go defeating Ke Jie in May 2017. Unnoticed by the US, streamed by 280MM Chinese. Showed that AI was winning in the West We are in an age of implementation - technology behind deep learning is decades old. Now being applied to new fields due to increasing computing power and lower cost. China has an advantage now - more data, more engineers, faster iteration due to shanzai, and highly incentivized government programs for aI research. - Shanzai is not about copycats. It’s about a no rules anything goes arena, where competitors learn to become gladiators. - Market driven instead of mission driven here in The Valley - Scarcity mentality = survival Zhongguancun - chuangye dajie. Created a Silicon Valley environment top down. Entrepreneurs became mentors and investors, by forcing proximity and social networks through eminent domain. Authenticity < action in this case - Led by Guo Hong. Who later left the government to create Zhongguancun bank (like svb) Public/private LP - public investment capped at 10% IRR, private investors buyout shares at strike price. Subsidy to mitigate downside risk but leave upside uncapped - Private markets more efficient? Yes long term. Public incentives served as a catalyst - Government support - led to mayors taking action to incentivize innovation hubs. Contrast that to Solyndra and massive political backlash for a single failure out of a highly productive program China goes heavy while the US goes white. Vertical and horizontal integration versus singular focus. Results in more data, but greater risk of execution. Enabled O2O - Higher capital needs - eg Ali pay and WeChat wallet subsidizing taxi drivers to incentivize going cashless. Apple pen Google wallet half tread lightly in this arena - Appetite for risk? Investor ambitions / biases? AI and data: quantity is quality. Same for talent. Because the future is implementation, mass of good engineers > few exceptional ones. - decentralization 1st wave AI: internet. ML to increase user engagement (toutiao, fb, quora) - China / US 50-50 in capability. China will be superior due to more users in future 2nd wave AI: business. US has an advantage due to structured data on more mature industries like banking and medical. This weakness for china can become an advantage as business leapfrogs institutions direct to personal customization. China has more personal structured data from users on mobile. - US 90/10 today. China can win by leapfrogging 3rd wave AI: perception. Customization to user shopping and behaviors. Calls OMO - online merge offline, or consumers who are always online. - China 60/40 today due to users not concerned by privacy. Choose convenience. Gap will continue to widen. 4th wave AI: autonomy. This area is dominated by quality engineers over quantity. But the spread of algorithms will lend to application richness in china - 70/30 US today, will become more like 50/50 Dire view of technological displacement - if capitalism is left unbridled. Capitalism will need to evolve for societies to survive. I have faith that it will, and it will not be driven by the public sector. - Moravec’s paradox: AI is more likely to replace white collar jobs. Algorithms are more easily spread than robots (mechanical, production, fine motor specialization). “I stopped viewing my life as an algorithm that optimizes for influence. instead I try to spend my energy doing the one thing I found truly brings meaning to a person’s life: sharing love with those around us” View of common Solutions Retrain - good, but insufficient. Education is key, but will leave many behind still. Reduce - unrealistic to be mass scale. Doesn’t address the contract of self worth that people take from employment. Redistribute - vanity metrics. UBI serves as a temp band aid for recipients, and makes those offering it feel less guilty. Libertarian approach - community of users instead of a community. - Core to technological unemployment is changing the social and cultural view of self worth. Hard to do Vision Private sector creates more human centric jobs that AI cannot replace, or are supplanted by AI - a la Max Tegmark human + machine is best. But this is insufficient. Many of these jobs are low paying. Spur in impact investing towards creation of human centric industries (VCs to the rescue). With expectations that returns will be muted. Dbl approach, but for sustainable employment as a specific subset of social impact. Social stipend - public funding to subsidize those who do care work. To change the social contract for how culture views volunteers. - Model of orange vested volunteers in Taiwan. Nudge approach to forming a cultural value - Creating a more empathic civilization. Top-down government nudging, not market or freedom based. A unique Chinese approach. - How would this work in the US? Future of capitalism is tied to the future of governance. Democracy needs to evolve with it. How to become more compassionate while maintaining free market principles?

  14. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    Lee Kai-Fu is a venture capitalist and best selling author. He used to head Google China and is a lymphoma survivor. This book has 2 parts: 1. For AI to succeed, it needs persistent entrepreneurs, AI researchers, capital and lots of data. Lee posited that China’s apps involved the whole service chain, from the mobile phone, to the main goods/service provider to the delivery person. Silicon Valley prefers to code the clean part, that is, the app part but leaves other companies to do the ground wor Lee Kai-Fu is a venture capitalist and best selling author. He used to head Google China and is a lymphoma survivor. This book has 2 parts: 1. For AI to succeed, it needs persistent entrepreneurs, AI researchers, capital and lots of data. Lee posited that China’s apps involved the whole service chain, from the mobile phone, to the main goods/service provider to the delivery person. Silicon Valley prefers to code the clean part, that is, the app part but leaves other companies to do the ground work. This provides a lot of data and AI thrives on data. Chinese entrepreneurs are also ultra competitive, as whatever is new is quickly copied. Companies therefore need to constantly evolve to keep their clients. The Chinese government also is heavily involved in opening up technology towns with tax incentives to lure the entrepreneurs and capitalists to go. He thinks that China is going to become the AI superpower. 2. The second part of the book is a different book altogether, almost as if written by another author. The style and subject matter was totally different. Lee shared how his life view has changed after he survived his lymphoma. He realised that he had been neglecting his family and vowed to spend a lot more time with them. He also understand how humans can be better than AI machines: our humanity itself. He is convinced that very soon AI will replace a lot of human jobs. Massive unemployment would soon create a new underclass who would feel useless. He suggested that we should have universal basic income but require people who receive them to be volunteers to counsel, teach and guide others.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Zak

    A super-important read if you want to get a quick overview into the AI race as it stands. "Eye-opening" is an understatement. In the latter part of the book, the author allows us to get more personal by talking about his battle with late-stage cancer and how it moulded his personal mission to make AI more humane. The only shortcoming I could find in this book was the lack of concrete steps to achieve his mission. Perhaps there are just no concrete steps and humans will just do as humans do. Good A super-important read if you want to get a quick overview into the AI race as it stands. "Eye-opening" is an understatement. In the latter part of the book, the author allows us to get more personal by talking about his battle with late-stage cancer and how it moulded his personal mission to make AI more humane. The only shortcoming I could find in this book was the lack of concrete steps to achieve his mission. Perhaps there are just no concrete steps and humans will just do as humans do. Good luck to us all then. Note: The author is considered a leading expert in the field of artificial intelligence. Here is the link to his Wiki page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kai-Fu_Lee

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nari Kannan

    Frankly, I could not read beyond the first few chapters of this book. Dr. Kai Fu Lee lost all credibility with me when in the second chapter or so he says "Everything in AI Science that needs to be discovered has been discovered. Now it is up to the entrepreneurs to move it forward". I was so surprised that someone with a PhD in AI from Carnegie-Mellon would say something like this. Funny thing about AI is that you need to implement something hard in it like Natural Language Understanding or Mac Frankly, I could not read beyond the first few chapters of this book. Dr. Kai Fu Lee lost all credibility with me when in the second chapter or so he says "Everything in AI Science that needs to be discovered has been discovered. Now it is up to the entrepreneurs to move it forward". I was so surprised that someone with a PhD in AI from Carnegie-Mellon would say something like this. Funny thing about AI is that you need to implement something hard in it like Natural Language Understanding or Machine Vision or Deep Logical Reasoning to understand how we are about 50 years away from achieving any of this in any meaningful way. Today I read about this dumb sentence completion thing that Google is bragging about. They have let a Machine Learning program go at published materials in English and apparently it can complete sentences! So they declare that Natural Language Understanding is well on its way. We have been saying this in the 80's and then again in the 90's, in the 2000's and now in the 2010's. Mechanical machine translation is what we have achieved so far and that too sucks. If you have any doubts befriend Russians, Thais, Japanese and even Georgian (yes, Santa Claus, there is a language with Greek looking script) on Facebook, Instagram and try machine translation on their posts. They leave out entire words and phrases and translated material is stilted at best and incomprehensible at times. This is not to say that advances have not been over the years but the advances have been going from zero to 10% comprehension rather than zero to 80% comprehension like all these approaches claim. Machine Learning cannot solve deep understanding and deep reasoning. It cannot divine motivations and cannot approach use of past experiences in something we all call "Gut Feeling". The human brain makes immense use of cultural idioms, scripts and plans and many things automatically to do what we call Intelligent Behavior. Dr. Lee fails in this respect and frankly I am surprised given his credentials. I have a sneaking suspicion that his need to play up China and need to bring down American approaches blinds him and prevents him from taking a very objective look at the AI Science. AI Science has still many unsolved problems and entrepreneurs can only scratch the surface because their pressures are different. Only two stars in my opinion! Had great expectations for this book but am terribly disappointed!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order by Kai-Fu Lee is a book about the past, present and future of AI as forecast by the author, a true expert in the field. Unfortunately, AI Superpowers is shallow when it comes to the actual technical content of the book. Lee makes no attempt to provide deep insights into the specific technologies and methods that will unlock the next phase of AI that promises to disrupt major sectors of the world’s economy. Lee instead employs analogi AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order by Kai-Fu Lee is a book about the past, present and future of AI as forecast by the author, a true expert in the field. Unfortunately, AI Superpowers is shallow when it comes to the actual technical content of the book. Lee makes no attempt to provide deep insights into the specific technologies and methods that will unlock the next phase of AI that promises to disrupt major sectors of the world’s economy. Lee instead employs analogies related to historical technologies, such as the steam engine and the light bulb, to illustrate the latent potential in AI. Additionally, the book feels more like a lengthy blog than a well-researched triste on the emerging power of AI. About halfway through the book, Lee stops to discuss his battle with cancer and pilgrimage to a Buddhist monastery. This is a powerful, moving narrative and frankly one of the best treatments of our struggle with mortality I have ever had the pleasure of reading, but it is completely out of place in a book of this type and furthermore unnecessarily fragments the book. The best part of AI Superpowers is the presentation on how the Chinese use the internet. In America, each app serves a solitary purpose: shopping, social media and weather are all separate. In China, each app serves as complete portal to every possible transaction one can make on the internet. Additionally, the Chinese actually click on almost every single link on a web page instead of just one of top links presented. Lastly, the stereotype of the cheap Chinese knockoff is alive and well on the internet as all of the major Chinese websites have near exact duplicates designed to snare susceptible users. AI Superpowers presents a glimpse into a brave new world of computer superiority; however, just like the technology, finds itself on a long and meandering path to do so.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rahul Adusumilli

    May have already found my book of the year. The title doesn't do justice to the breadth of the book. In addition to contrasting the two innovative centres- yes, China is an innovative centre now-, it also works as a good history and introduction to the field of AI. It takes a radical turn towards spirituality near the end but you even forgive that out-of-the-blue detour for the sweetness of his hopes. That turn is a lot like the Matrix trilogy's, when everything becomes about love and love becom May have already found my book of the year. The title doesn't do justice to the breadth of the book. In addition to contrasting the two innovative centres- yes, China is an innovative centre now-, it also works as a good history and introduction to the field of AI. It takes a radical turn towards spirituality near the end but you even forgive that out-of-the-blue detour for the sweetness of his hopes. That turn is a lot like the Matrix trilogy's, when everything becomes about love and love becomes everything. His vision, outlined only in the final two chapters lest it put you off, is for AI to liberate man from the tyranny of economic productivity and turn him into some version of a social worker. Since AI will take care of productivity and supersized profits, tax the companies that are benefiting from the algorithms to fund higher paying socially beneficial work; AI can be made to provide us with the means to stuff the market and the way it forces people to choose between a high-paying and a satisfying job. A chance discovery: This book is dedicated to the chairman of the college I went to.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mal Warwick

    Google "books about artificial intelligence," and you'll find a slew of them. Amazon lists 286. Computer scientists, journalists, science fiction authors, and other observers have written on the topic, sometimes insightfully, sometimes not. I've read nearly two dozen of these books. But AI Superpowers, the latest one to land on my Kindle, is by far the best. Author Kai-Fu Lee isn't just one of the most authoritative voices in the field. He's also unusually insightful. And he writes well (althoug Google "books about artificial intelligence," and you'll find a slew of them. Amazon lists 286. Computer scientists, journalists, science fiction authors, and other observers have written on the topic, sometimes insightfully, sometimes not. I've read nearly two dozen of these books. But AI Superpowers, the latest one to land on my Kindle, is by far the best. Author Kai-Fu Lee isn't just one of the most authoritative voices in the field. He's also unusually insightful. And he writes well (although a collaborator may help account for that). A carefully balanced appraisal of AI Dr. Lee's thesis is straightforward. China is fast approaching parity with the United States "in the defining technology of the twenty-first century," he contends. This rivalry is the focus of AI Superpowers. But the book ranges far beyond this narrow question into a carefully balanced appraisal of the field's potential for good—and for harm. He is skeptical about the prospects for machine super-intelligence that doomsayers like Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking have decried. Lee doesn't envision machines killing off the human race. Taking the broad view, he asserts that "The AI world order will combine winner-take-all economics with an unprecedented concentration of wealth in the hands of a few companies in China and the United States. This, I believe, is the real underlying threat posed by artificial intelligence: tremendous social disorder and political collapse stemming from widespread unemployment and gaping inequality." For example, "within ten to twenty years, I estimate we will be technically capable of automating 40 to 50 percent of jobs in the United States." "Like the harnessing of electricity" Much of contemporary commentary on AI dwells on the approach of Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). At that point, supposedly, machines will become so much smarter than humans that they may regard us as little more than pests. So goes the critics' lament, at any rate. Dr. Lee believes AGI lies far in the future and may even prove to be impossible. But that's not to say that AI's impact will ultimately be anything but grave. "The dawn of AI in China," he writes, "will be like the harnessing of electricity: a game-changer that supercharges industries across the board." And, of course, that impact will be felt in the United States and everywhere else around the world as well: "the technology's skill biases will generate a bifurcated job market that squeezes out the middle class." The best book about artificial intelligence However, Dr. Lee is optimistic that the most severe consequences of AI's wide deployment can be avoided. Certainly, millions of workers (most of them white-collar employees) will be displaced by automation. But there are a myriad of tasks that can only be performed by humans unless AGI should miraculously make an appearance. Take medicine, for example. Machines are rapidly gaining the ability to diagnose illness and prescribe medications better than any physician. Not long from now, it may be possible for doctors to forego memorizing all the minute details about illness and pharmacology and concentrate instead on relating to patients as human beings. This will open the possibility that much larger numbers of doctors can be put to work, since the intellectual demands will no longer be so great. Far more compassionate caregivers "As a result, society will be able to cost-effectively support far more compassionate caregivers than there are doctors, and we would receive far more and better care." And there are innumerable other human services occupations that currently employ far too few people. (Think social work and education.) Also, "we will see entirely new service jobs that we can hardly imagine today. Explain to someone in the 1950s what a 'life coach' was and they'd probably think you were goofy." Clearly, a shift toward human services and new forms of work isn't a panacea. But it may go a long way toward mitigating the impact Dr. Lee foresees from AI. Nonetheless, public policy will need to shift as well, not just to provide the necessary incentives to move people into these new fields but to lessen the impact of growing economic inequality. An alternative to a Universal Basic Income Others have proposed either a Guaranteed Minimum Income or a Universal Basic Income (UBI) as the solution. Dr. Lee doesn't agree. "I propose we explore the creation not of a UBI but of what I call a social investment stipend. The stipend would be a decent government salary given to those who invest their time and energy in those activities that promote a kind, compassionate, and creative society. These would include three broad categories: care work, community service, and education." Lee might have mentioned the arts as well. These fields would form the pillars of a new social contract, one that valued and rewarded socially beneficial activities in the same way we currently reward economically productive activities." And society would pay the enormous cost of such a program out of the gargantuan profits Dr. Lee foresees accruing to the few AI giants that will dominate the world in the years to come. About the author Dr. Kai-Fu Lee is a Bejing-based Taiwanese venture capitalist, technology executive, and artificial intelligence expert. Before founding his venture capital fund, he was the president of Google China, and earlier had founded Microsoft Research China (now Microsoft Research Asia), which "trained the great majority of AI leaders in China, including CTOs or AI heads at Baidu, Tencent, Alibaba, Lenovo, Huawei and Haier." (If you follow the news about technology in China, you're probably familiar with all these companies.) He is one of the most widely read microbloggers in China, with more than 50 million followers, and has written seven bestselling books there.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Alexander Rivas

    This is the best book on the topic of AI I've read so far. I am kind of freaked out at how serious China is moving along to be the powerhouse of the world regarding AI technology. It was eye-opening to learn about the cultural difference between the entrepreneurial mindsets of Silicon Valley versus China. In my opinion, there are a lot of good arguments on why AI is inevitable and good for the future of humanity, but there are lots of issues that seem that'll affect the outsiders regarding AI te This is the best book on the topic of AI I've read so far. I am kind of freaked out at how serious China is moving along to be the powerhouse of the world regarding AI technology. It was eye-opening to learn about the cultural difference between the entrepreneurial mindsets of Silicon Valley versus China. In my opinion, there are a lot of good arguments on why AI is inevitable and good for the future of humanity, but there are lots of issues that seem that'll affect the outsiders regarding AI technology. This was a book that has me thinking about the future and how I can prepare myself and children to not only survive but thrive in an AI dominated world.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Conner

    With AI Superpowers, Lee has written a clear-eyed account of the business of AI that is highly digestible for the general reader. I found that the most valuable part of the book is its first half, which contrasts AI in the U.S. and China, and makes a convincing cultural argument for why Silicon Valley companies can't seem to make it in China. For example, Google wasn't popular as a search engine because it didn't optimize itself for the habits of Chinese users, who preferred to treat the search With AI Superpowers, Lee has written a clear-eyed account of the business of AI that is highly digestible for the general reader. I found that the most valuable part of the book is its first half, which contrasts AI in the U.S. and China, and makes a convincing cultural argument for why Silicon Valley companies can't seem to make it in China. For example, Google wasn't popular as a search engine because it didn't optimize itself for the habits of Chinese users, who preferred to treat the search page as a "shopping mall" where they could sample many different links, as opposed to western users who treat it as "the yellow pages" and seek a specific bit of information. A competing Chinese search engine allowed users to automatically open a new tab for each link clicked and rapidly surpassed Google in popularity. There are several tidbits like this in the book's first half, and Lee presents the information very clearly throughout. So why not a higher rating? In the book's second half, Lee considers the societal implications of AI, which are bound to be "disruptive", to say the least. I don't want to rant and rave too much about this, but I simply couldn't trust the author politically. First of all, Lee is a venture capitalist, famously a profession that attracts sociopaths; it's my view a person that holds this profession cannot be trusted under any circumstances. Lee presents himself as one of the good ones by telling the reader his epiphany, following a cancer diagnosis, that human emotion and love are important, and that one should not behave as an algorithm. He extrapolates this revelation to policy proposals for a world where AI has taken most of the jobs. He admits that the market alone cannot guarantee that everyone is taken care of, but touts mythical concepts like "socially conscious business", where corporations will somehow realize that they should take a cut in profits for the sake of some social benefit. This will simply never happen. For instance, petrochemical companies will sooner destroy the planet and drive every species to extinction than even think of losing a penny of profit. There's a reason CEO's and business tycoons are so enamored of this book. It tells you what they'd like you to believe. His most far-reaching plan is something he calls the "social investment stipend", which is meant to monetize most human actions by somehow putting a price on compassion. So while many people are displaced by AI they will be paid for performing other jobs, such as "parenting...attending to an aging parent, assisting a friend or family member dealing with illness, or helping someone with mental or physical disabilities" (221). Here, Lee proposes that the market encroach on what little space it has yet to devour, such as the domestic sphere and even relationships between people. Lee also proposes that even hobbies can become a job. What struck me about this is that it reaches for a similar utopian sentiment to Marx's vision of a classless society: "He is a hunter, a fisherman, a herdsman, or a critical critic, and must remain so if he does not want to lose his means of livelihood; while in communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, herdsman or critic." (Marx, The German Ideology, 1845). Yet, Lee arrives at this sentiment in almost exactly the opposite fashion. He thinks we should be able to live and work in a way that's true to human diversity, but the method of doing this is bringing everything into the market. If every action can be a job, why bother with it at all? Why not just abolish the idea that we must labor to live, and create a more compassionate system where the value created by AI replacing labor is fairly distributed? Or is the idea that our value as human beings is tied so irrevocably to labor that we must legitimize our survival in this roundabout way? It's not all doom and gloom for Lee, and he spends a bit of time discussing some exciting possibilities that AI could bring about. Exciting for him, anyway. Personally, I found all his breathless excitement – about a shopping cart scanning your face and knowing everything about your preferences, then notifying a human attendant who only still has a job because he's so good at up-selling you an algorithmically determined product – a bit dystopian. Particularly dystopian was the idea that education could soon become so depersonalized that the teacher doesn't even need to be in the room with you, but is rather webcasting simultaneously to many classrooms while cameras are scanning the faces of students to make sure they're all paying attention. I don't see how anyone can read this section and not be horrified at this vision of the future, and yet, Lee describes it all with enthusiasm. The sad part for me is that I do believe AI could present incredibly exciting opportunities for the human species, not least in its potential to free us from monotonous labor and allow us to live in a way that's more free and true to our creative nature. It's a real shame that its real-world application is often in the hands of people who love nothing more than to maximize profit and increase efficiency (whatever that means). Lee is a clear writer and the book is worth reading, especially if it will make people pay attention to how drastically AI will affect us, and realize we don't want the technopolists writing the legislation. Their utopia could be dystopia for the rest of us.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kent Winward

    One of the most balanced books on AI that I have read that takes in a lot of cultural and economic views and combines them with the technology. I'm not a techno-optimist, but I'm also not a techno-pessimist, so this balanced approach played well for me. One thing about new technology is we often forget to look at where it might help. These are new tools and we are still learning how to use them. Lee's critique of Universal Basic Income was actually quite good. Quite possibly a view that could on One of the most balanced books on AI that I have read that takes in a lot of cultural and economic views and combines them with the technology. I'm not a techno-optimist, but I'm also not a techno-pessimist, so this balanced approach played well for me. One thing about new technology is we often forget to look at where it might help. These are new tools and we are still learning how to use them. Lee's critique of Universal Basic Income was actually quite good. Quite possibly a view that could only be had by straddling the worlds of China and the U.S. One thing that Lee skirted around and almost got to, but not quite, was the new technology could be used to refine our income distribution. Talk about an algorithm that could have significant impact. And rather than simply turning it over to the machines, maybe we just get some advice on how to carry out the plan. Economics is a dismal science fueled by human emotions. Robert Shiller's Narrative Economics: How Stories Go Viral and Drive Major Economic Events is the most recent book I've read on how our economics are driven by the stories we tell ourselves. One thing that AI seems to excel at is pointing out correlations in data sets that we can't see as mere humans. As seems to be the prerequisite for all AI books, Alpha Go and Alpha Go Zero make their appearance. Economics in some ways works a lot like the game of Go, infinite possibilities, but structured patterns that dictate how the game is played. The AI took the same rules and showed new ways of playing and winning the game. The problem as Lee pointed out is that the rich get richer in this scenario. This is where we have to look at government. The current political dysfunction may make the government seem like the wrong place to turn, but government is where we can take collective action to adjust the rules of the game, so that more people win. The techno-optimist in me hopes that we can do that with the new AI technology. It certainly is capable if we allow the better angels of our nature to use the tool. Interestingly, the conclusion of the book has more to say about our humanity than it does about our technology. I agree with Lee wholeheartedly on that front.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    Typical Silicon Valley sociopath's journey from being part of the problem, to discovery that he is actually a human too, and on his path to redemption demonstrates that it is possible to apply ones incredible skills constructively to the problem. This should be required reading for all Silicon Valley sociopaths (otherwise known as oligarchs). This book contains a great executive summary on the current state of the art of AI in both China and the US, and great for someone totally new. It might fil Typical Silicon Valley sociopath's journey from being part of the problem, to discovery that he is actually a human too, and on his path to redemption demonstrates that it is possible to apply ones incredible skills constructively to the problem. This should be required reading for all Silicon Valley sociopaths (otherwise known as oligarchs). This book contains a great executive summary on the current state of the art of AI in both China and the US, and great for someone totally new. It might fill out your knowledge of the field, but does not contain a lot of new information for someone with a hobbyist familiarity with AI. It is teased as a geopolitical duel between two superpowers, but I found that this is necessary only to get the right eyes on this book. This is not a book that escalates geopolitical tensions. The journey of redemption from feelings of invulnerability to facing mortality is something most people deal with early on in life and have grown wiser from the experience. The ideas that there is more to life than the glory of work and spending time with loved ones are so obvious to the rest of us that it's hard to empathize at times. In the author's earnest exploration into real, hard solutions to life's problems, he seems to flirt with the idea that typical women's work (such as care taking of the young and old, one-on-one teaching, socializing) is the most human of labors and deserves greater recognition. He never makes the connection, however. He is so close!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bartosz Majewski

    Amazing Book. It reminds me of the excitement I've felt when I was reading the startup nation about the Israeli startup ecosystem around 2015. Even if you need to account for that the author has the motive to exaggerate a little and selectively select some facts to, and so jaw drops when some facts are quoted. 280 million people in China watched the GO game in which alpha go won. The value of mobile payments in China is greater than GDP, e-commerce sales up to 2x that in the US, in the peak of co Amazing Book. It reminds me of the excitement I've felt when I was reading the startup nation about the Israeli startup ecosystem around 2015. Even if you need to account for that the author has the motive to exaggerate a little and selectively select some facts to, and so jaw drops when some facts are quoted. 280 million people in China watched the GO game in which alpha go won. The value of mobile payments in China is greater than GDP, e-commerce sales up to 2x that in the US, in the peak of competition between the Uber and the last there were 4x more journeys in China than Uber ... globally the number of mobile devices up to 50x more than in the US. And many more people selected for digital. All this translates into data volumes that can be used to develop algorithms or many better data volumes that are available several times smaller. Depending on when you are reading this the data is probably slightly outdated or outdated very much. Those numbers change a lot. The facts are not only cited. They are also interpreted in a nonwestern way, violating a lot of our narratives. I love that since I try to adapt not only polish and US outlook on the world. I highly recommend it. What times we live in.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Javier Lorenzana

    As philosophical as it is informative. It delivers on its premise and so much more. 1. The evolution of technology in China and the USA as a result of cultural backgrounds. It was interesting to see the tech-evolution differences between the US and China -- and how these differences reflect each nation's culture. With lofty ideals, the American culture of innovation is a gentleman's game: where rules are followed, copying is looked down upon, and originality is key. Meanwhile, the Chinese "arena" As philosophical as it is informative. It delivers on its premise and so much more. 1. The evolution of technology in China and the USA as a result of cultural backgrounds. It was interesting to see the tech-evolution differences between the US and China -- and how these differences reflect each nation's culture. With lofty ideals, the American culture of innovation is a gentleman's game: where rules are followed, copying is looked down upon, and originality is key. Meanwhile, the Chinese "arena" is filled with scrappy entrepreneurs harboring a kill or be killed mindset. It's an environment where domain names are stolen, American websites are shamelessly copied, and police raids are conducted to beat the competition. It's a coliseum. And the stories Kai-Fu tells are crazy. What makes this so interesting is that the Chinese way of doing things is actually more conducive to innovation. When competition is as cut-throat as it is, the thousands of entrepreneurs are forced to be creative: to find better solutions, to cut costs. With that level of innovation now being applied to AI, who knows what's about to happen? 2. The next industrial revolution AI will be more like the industrial revolution than we think. And of course, this comes with the slew of jobs, inequality, and environmental concerns. Kai-Fu talks about this concept of the 'fundamental breakthrough' and how it is this turning point in AI's innovation that will resemble the invention of the steam engine. And whoever possesses this first, will have a significant advantage. (Well, unless posted online or something, as online communities for learning are widespread.) All signs point to the scrappy, government-backed, Chinese entrepreneur to do so. Personally, I find privatization as a means to innovation fascinating -- what innovations are made exclusively through the public sector? 3. Coexistence A blueprint for coexistence relies on our ability to use AI in a way that allows us to retain our human qualities. Let the machines do machine stuff. Let humans be gang. AI will let humans be free to pursue their own projects due to economic abundance. That being said... it was also interesting to see Kai-Fu's sentiments on UBI: that UBI could be more like a painkiller to numb the inequality gap between billionaires who make it big thanks to AI, and the others. Silicon Valley and Zuck have championed UBI. But could that be because they're preparing for an inequality uprising? (I probably phrased this really poorly)

  26. 4 out of 5

    Meili

    This book gives a great introduction to China's startups/technology ecosystem and development. The author also dissects broad types of AI companies and explains the environments in which each type would flourish really well. Finally, it is insightful to learn Kai-Fu Lee's take on life as he spent decades as an insider in the field - in research and business, in China and the U.S.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Teo 2050

    2019.11.14–2019.11.17 Contents Lee KF (2018) (09:28) AI Superpowers - China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order Dedication Introduction 1. China’s Sputnik Moment • The View from Beijing • A Game and a Game Changer • The Ghost in the Go Machine • A Brief History of Deep Learning • Pulling Back the Curtain on Deep Learning • AI and International Research • The Age of Implementation • The Age of Data • Advantage China • The Hand on the Scales • The Real Crises • The AI World Order 2. Copycats in the Coliseum • C 2019.11.14–2019.11.17 Contents Lee KF (2018) (09:28) AI Superpowers - China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order Dedication Introduction 1. China’s Sputnik Moment • The View from Beijing • A Game and a Game Changer • The Ghost in the Go Machine • A Brief History of Deep Learning • Pulling Back the Curtain on Deep Learning • AI and International Research • The Age of Implementation • The Age of Data • Advantage China • The Hand on the Scales • The Real Crises • The AI World Order 2. Copycats in the Coliseum • Contrasting Cultures • The Emperor’s New Clocks • Copykittens • Building Blocks and Stumbling Blocks • “Free Is Not a Business Model” • The Yellow Pages versus the Bazaar • Why Silicon Valley Giants Fail in China • All Is Fair in Startups and War • The Lean Gladiator • Wang Xing’s Revenge • Entrepreneurs, Electricity, and Oil 3. China’s Alternate Internet Universe • Uncharted Internet Territory • The Saudi Arabia of Data • The Mobile Leapfrog • WeChat: Humble Beginnings, Huge Ambitions • The Pearl Harbor of Mobile Payments • If You Build It, They Will Come • Innovation for the Masses • A Revolution in Culture • Here, There, and O2O Everywhere • The Light Touch versus Heavyweights • Scan or Get Scanned • Leaping Frogs and Taxi Drivers • Beijing Bicycle Redux • Blurred Lines and Brave New Worlds 4. A Tale of Two Countries • The Stuff of an AI Superpower • Nobel Winners and No-Name Tinkerers • Intelligence Sharing • Conference Conflicts • The Seven Giants and the Next Deep Learning • Google versus the Rest • Power Grids versus AI Batteries • The Chip on China’s Shoulder • A Tale of Two AI Plans • Betting on AI • Self-Driving Dilemmas 5. The Four Waves of AI • The Waves • First Wave: Internet AI • Algorithms and Editors • Robot Reports and Fake News • Second Wave: Business AI • The Business of Business AI • Fire Your Banker • “The Algorithm Will See You Now” • Judging the Judges • Who Leads? • Third Wave: Perception AI • Blurred Lines and Our “OMO” World • “Where Every Shopping Cart Knows Your Name” • An OMO-Powered Education • Public Spaces and Private Data • Made in Shenzhen • Mi First • Fourth Wave: Autonomous AI • Strawberry Fields and Robotic Beetles • Swarm Intelligence • The Google Approach versus the Tesla Approach • China’s “Tesla” Approach • The Autonomous Balance of Power • Conquering Markets and Arming Insurgents • Ride-Hailing Rumble • Looking Ahead 6. Utopia, Dystopia, and the Real AI Crisis • Reality Check • Folding Beijing: Science-Fiction Visions and AI Economics • The Real AI Crisis • The Techno-Optimists and the “Luddite Fallacy” • The End of Blind Optimism • AI: Putting the G in GPT • Hardware, Better, Faster, Stronger • What AI Can and Can’t Do: The Risk-of-Replacement Graphs • What the Studies Say • What the Studies Missed • Two Kinds of Job Loss: One-to-One Replacements and Ground-Up Disruptions • The Bottom Line • U.S.-China Comparison: Moravec’s Revenge • The Ascent of the Algorithms and Rise of the Robots • The AI Superpowers versus All the Rest • The AI Inequality Machine • A Grim Picture • Taking It Personally: The Coming Crisis of Meaning 7. The Wisdom of Cancer • December 16, 1991 • The Ironman • What Do You Want on Your Tombstone? • Diagnosis • The Will • Living toward Death • The Master on the Mountain • Second Opinions and Second Chances • Relief and Rebirth 8. A Blueprint for Human Coexistence with AI • A Trial by Fire and the New Social Contract • The Chinese Perspective on AI and Jobs • The Three R’s: Reduce, Retrain, and Redistribute • The Basics of Universal Basic Income • Silicon Valley’s “Magic Wand” Mentality • Market Symbiosis: Optimization Tasks and Human Touch • Fink’s Letter and the New Impact Investing • Big Changes and Big Government • The Chauffeur CEO • The Social Investment Stipend: Care, Service, and Education • Open Questions and Serious Complications • Looking Forward and Looking Around 9. Our Global AI Story • An AI Future without an AI Race • Global Wisdom for the AI Age • Writing Our AI Story • Hearts and Minds Acknowledgments Notes Index About the Author

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tam

    Ehh, don't be deterred by my 2 star rating. This book is short and may still worth your time. I will break down the book into roughly 4 sections: 1) AI & its beauty, 2) its ugliness 3) the author 4) the author's proposed solution. For people unfamiliar with China, especially the modern China since 2010s, the first section is particularly valuable. I've been fascinated by the country for quite a few years already and have learned the majority of examples that Lee covers through my friends and throu Ehh, don't be deterred by my 2 star rating. This book is short and may still worth your time. I will break down the book into roughly 4 sections: 1) AI & its beauty, 2) its ugliness 3) the author 4) the author's proposed solution. For people unfamiliar with China, especially the modern China since 2010s, the first section is particularly valuable. I've been fascinated by the country for quite a few years already and have learned the majority of examples that Lee covers through my friends and through Weibo. What Chinese firms, entrepreneurs, and government have been able to generate, a plethora of creative products and services powered by technology, will put you in awe. Read the book just for this part is enough. It's so exciting! The second section discusses, mainly at the macro level, the disruption that AI has the potential to invoke (job loss, the reshaping of the whole economy). This section falls short of my expectation. I was further hoping for some nuanced arguments such as in Weapons of Math Destruction, but found nothing like such. Lee repeatedly drills on one point: AI and deep learning require huge amount of data, of high quality data (which China has). But he fails to mention also that machine just learns, without an ethical system. If your data contain biases, if the algorithm is just geared towards profits and profits, biases are likely to be perpetuated, now at an ever expanding level and speed. The consequences may come before the macro level one that Lee envisions. I don't see the type of empathy that Cathy O'Neil expresses in her book towards the poor, or a younger Sara Wachter-Boettcher towards the marginalized in Technically Wrong. Lee talks about the problems of AI in a very general sense, in the whole economy wide setting. The empathy is so abstract. I'm speechless at the third part as Lee discusses his cancer and the impact that it leaves on him, his work and life philosophy, and consequentially his view on solutions to problems created by AI: love. Yes, goosebumps. It turns very personal. Sure in previous chapters here and there he inserts his ego, his achievements and awards and stuffs, but this part is a new level. I appreciate that he learns to want to be more humble, to spend more time with loved ones etc. But... well, I don't want to be mean. To be short, I feel like reading some cheap chicken soup story by someone who thinks he has seen revelation. Final chapter, sure, solution. Okayyy. These are ideas, quite vague and broad, and injected with a lot of society becoming humanistic and more love, because human can do that but machines can't. All of this could be because of the writing. The overall ideas aren't bad, the execution is. The writing is so repetitive, so verbose while I personally prefer something concise. The style is sorta ego-centric, albeit with some small redeeming part at the end. Lee, after all, is an entrepreneur, a highly successful and intelligent male computer scientist and investor.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Groucho42

    A wonderful piece of propaganda straight out of a totalitarian, central, government. The book starts with a comparison between USSR and USA with the space race with the USA and China in AI, presenting it as a vaguely competitive thing. He doesn't mention the competition was the Cold War and the direct comparison is that China is waging war against the USA. He continues by talking about China "cloning" and borrowing US applications almost whole cloth, without ever mentioning that most nations have A wonderful piece of propaganda straight out of a totalitarian, central, government. The book starts with a comparison between USSR and USA with the space race with the USA and China in AI, presenting it as a vaguely competitive thing. He doesn't mention the competition was the Cold War and the direct comparison is that China is waging war against the USA. He continues by talking about China "cloning" and borrowing US applications almost whole cloth, without ever mentioning that most nations have copyright, trademark and patent laws, or that China refuses to enforce those if it is can steal. The author talks about the supposedly competitive environment in China, refusing to discuss the barriers put in the way of foreign entrants or how the competition is far more easy to sway by the people in power than it is in the West. The reality behind the book can be summarized with two bullets. China is very competitive in AI because: - It steals - A central government in a totalitarian regime can very quickly react by ordering and funding a focus on something of national interest. AI and machine learning are going to change the world, China sees that, and China does want to upend the brief, global, experience in democracy. It sees AI/ML as tools to do that. The story is that simple. Ignore the ode to Central Committee that is this book.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Haw Kuang Oh

    Fascinating read of the rise of China in technology revolutions, especially in AI. My bet is on China to lead in AI in the next decade. One example cited in the book reflected how the race will be tilted in China's favor: "In the United States, in contrast, we build self-driving cars to adapt to our existing roads because we assume the roads can’t change. In China, there’s a sense that everything can change—including current roads. Indeed, local officials are already modifying existing highways, Fascinating read of the rise of China in technology revolutions, especially in AI. My bet is on China to lead in AI in the next decade. One example cited in the book reflected how the race will be tilted in China's favor: "In the United States, in contrast, we build self-driving cars to adapt to our existing roads because we assume the roads can’t change. In China, there’s a sense that everything can change—including current roads. Indeed, local officials are already modifying existing highways, reorganizing freight patterns, and building cities that will be tailor-made for driverless cars." While sharing his insights on AI, Kai-Fu also shared his views on what the future holds for the society as AI takes over some of the mundane tasks and created a "useless class", as described by Yuval Noah Harari in 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. Social investment stipend is definitely an interesting way to keep a stable society and strengthen the connection of people. A must read for those who are interested in AI, China technologies, future society outlook....or everyone! :-)

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