Who will win the race to control Artificial Intelligence? China or the U.S?
I’m Dr. Peper and today I’m discussing the book AI Superpowers by Kai Fu Lee.
In AI Superpowers, Kai Fu Lee, an accomplished AI scientist, former head of Google China and now one of China’s top venture capitalists, makes some alarming predictions. In his book he says that within the next decade the U.S. which is ahead in AI with new discoveries, will be surpassed by China due to China’s better implementation. The two nations will then dominate as the AI superpowers and he describes the other nations being “left to pick up scraps while the AI superpowers will boost productivity at home and harvest profits from around the globe.”
According to Lee, the U.S. is in the age of AI discovery which requires brilliant scientists and innovative breakthroughs. Next will be the age of AI implementation which requires vast quantities of data to train the computers and super fast computing power. Here China has the lead: China has 800 million internet users (three times more than the U.S.) These users generate huge amounts of data which their government freely collects. And China is investing heavily in quantum computing which exponentially increases super fast computing power,
Kai Fu Lee also describes the additional factors leading to China’s ascendancy in AI as being the Chinese “hypercompetitive” business landscape and state support for developing and subsidizing AI industries.
And there is another comparison Lee makes that I and many other readers have found very disquieting. He describes the major difference between Chinese and Silicon Valley tech culture. His observation is Silicon Valley is mission driven to take an original idea and achieve an idealistic goal and change the world. Chinese businesses are market driven to make money and become rich.
AI Superpowers is written from the perspective of China rather than Silicon Valley and questions many of our assumptions about the US and AI technology. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable and that’s why you should read it.