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

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  387 Ratings  ·  60 Reviews

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 h
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published September 25th 2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Dee Arr
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
{Words on Words 60-Second Spotlight Review: }

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
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
Jonathan Lu
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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/E
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
Reza Mahmoudi
کتاب فوق العاده ی بودشش پیشنهاد میکنم حتما بخونید
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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.
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 ...more
Denis Vasilev
Взгляд на соперничество Китая и США в сфере ИИ, немного личной истории, прогнозы на будущее. Книга текущего момента, не фундаментальная теория.
Trung Nguyen Dang
Oct 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall the book is not bad thanks to the first 4 chapters when the author talked about the start-up/tech scence in China and how it is different from the US.

According to the author, China plans to dominate AI and will succeed because it has the edge in the four determinants of AI success: data, regulation, brains, and capital. Firstly, for data, the size of China's e-commerce, ride-sharing, and payments dwaft those of the US and thus generate vastly more data. Furthermore, all these data are c
Jordan Schneider
Oct 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Kai-Fu Lee, a AI researcher and investor extraordinaire, knows alot. The first two-thirds of the book on the differences between the US and Chinese startup ecosystems, an analysis of the two nations' AI development strategies and relative strengths breaking down the different AI applications was very satisfying. There aren't many people out there with the technical expertise, business and investing skill, cross-border experience and English language fluency required to take on these topics above ...more
Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
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 ...more
Sep 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
A master of AI realized that even though he is so good at understanding the algorithms, quantified the future of AI world, the most precious of what we as human beings own is love. We can not quantified the friendship, love that we share with our family and friends. The future will be very different, we should try to show more of what we humans have to distinguish from machines or AI.

--人类历史进入2018年,在北京和华盛顿,在中关村和硅谷,在瑞士达沃斯和加拿大温哥华TED (1) 的现场,关于人工智能所有人关心的问题只有两个:一、人工智能会给人类带来什么威胁和挑战?二、中国会不会超越美国,领跑人工智能
Grace Cao
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting summary of the AI landscape and vision for the future. But it’s the type of 200-page books whose main points can be summarized in 20 pages.

China may be bigger beneficiary than US from AI revolution because of two transitions: from age of discovery to age of implementation, from age of expertise to age of data.

AI’s social impact: winners-take-all, growing inequality, loss of jobs, loss of purpose.

China’s special tech dynamics:
Copycat entrepreneurs
Mobile-first users who can’t afford
Alex Devero
A very enjoyable book. Especially, for people who want to understand how China became the dominant player in the field of A.I. A chapter I liked a lot was the second-the overview of how Chinese entrepreneurs approach business and building. It shows how entrepreneurship is China is more similar to a fight in a Coliseum and entrepreneurs are more like a gladiators. Only entrepreneurs who are moving fast, experiment relentlessly, work incredibly hard and constantly fight with competition. However, ...more
Edric Subur
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"With superintelligent computers that understand the universe on levels that humans cannot even conceive of, these machines become not just tools for lightening the burdens of humanity; they approach the omniscience and omnipotence of a god.”

So many breakthroughs from this book. I’m ashamed for knowing so little about the staggering technologist progress going on in China. I also love the philosophical touch in the end that talks about what it means to be human when AI takes over everything. My
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
I didn't want to book this down. Although, since he spent the book laying out how China will come to dominate the US in artificial intelligence and machine learning applications, I sometimes dreaded to start reading again.

I cannot know how accurate his narrative is, but it rings true. China's government provides incentives for their students and entrepreneurs to learn as much about AI, machine learning and technological applications as possible. Meanwhile, in the US, we politically punish any go
Nov 05, 2018 rated it did not like it
Sadly, I have not learned anything new from this book and I regret buying it. I have been following AI developments by sporadically reading articles on the subject in the last few years. Kai-Fu Lee did not come up with anything novel and keeps repeating the same ideas over and over again i.e. rich will get richer, and poor will be poorer.

The author succeeded in explaining applications of AI and how society can potentially benefit but that is it. He tries to talk about the future, society, and p
Oct 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Kai-Fu Lee's "AI Superpowers" is really two books in one, each to some extent representative of the ongoing divide between techno-pessimists (e.g., Martin Ford, Hao Jingfang) and techno-optimists (Steven Pinker, Hans Rosling) over the role that artificial intelligence will play in the future of humanity. The first tw0-thirds of "AI Superpowers" offers up a sobering analysis of the race between China and the United States to implement dramatic new advances in AI capabilities. Lee's approach makes ...more
Oct 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Some people think this a cheerleading manifesto for the Chinese political system. Or less strongly, in the vein of "XYZ Country Rising" (cough*Japan*cough) books that come out every few years. Others may potentially dislike it because it doesn't talk about the nitty gritty of deep learning. Both these approaches are the wrong way to look at AI Superpowers, presuming you're not looking for an ideological systemic battle.

What it is, is a fantastic general business book. In the best possible way.
Nov 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all Silicon Valley sociopaths and psychopaths
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
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Worth a read. This book got me thinking more broadly about how AI will transform society, how quickly that will happen, and how China will lead. There were some glaring issues - scant mention of espionage, military, security/hacking, and most significantly - India. The raw economic numbers and pace of China's progress is indeed astonishing though. Some highlights:

- VC spend in China: $3M 2014, $12M 2015, $26M 2016
- Motobike had 22M daily rides in China in 2017 (4x daily Uber rides globally)
- Did
Nov 08, 2018 rated it liked it
An excellent take on the current problems of the 21st century geopolitik, and it would have gotten 5 stars if it had just been that. Instead, there's also a tale of a personal transformation of the author, who bills himself as a Batman who has learned how to love and thus overcome his grand ego. Unfortunately, his ego is firmly intact, and exists in such a strange little paradigm where he is aware of inequality, particularly wealth inequality, but is unable or unwilling to confront his own eliti ...more
Eddie Choo
Oct 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A milestone in the AI-impact discussion

Dr Lee Kai-Fu brings unique insights into the discussion. As a researcher in the field, he understands the technology. As a Taiwanese-American who has spent time on both sides of the Pacific, he has unique insights into the start-up, technology and policy ecosystems in both countries. And as a recent cancer survivor and having experienced the clarifying vision that comes with a brush with mortality, Dr Lee has written a tremendous book that incorporates a l
Susan Walker
Nov 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Reading this engaged my thinking in so many different areas. I was repeatedly imagining different future scenarios and directions our world could head. The last half of the book however seemed so weak that it made me wonder if the ideas in the first half were as evident as he asked us to believe. Also, the fundamental precept that intellectual property should be protected is not only not in his lexicon but he champions companies who have copied someone else's work and then developed it further. ...more
Peter O'Kelly
Sep 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A timely reality check on AI and US/China dynamics; Kindle edition available for $.99 (~96% discount) as of 9/28/2018.

Some related resources to consider:
Author interview:
Nov 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Kai-Fu Lee má kořeny na Taiwanu, kde žil do svých 11 let. Pak se přestěhoval za svým bratrem do Spojených států, kde vystudoval a nastartoval i svoji profesionální kariéru v oblasti umělé inteligence, aby svoje znalosti a zkušenosti následně zúročil v roli VC investora v Číně. 
Před 10 lety byl pojem AI (artificial intelligence, umělá inteligence) maximálně námětem pro odbornou debatu v zasvěcených vědeckých kruzích anebo tématem odvážné sci-fi literatury. Doba se však mění: dnes je AI všude a m
Pablo Castillon
Oct 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Kai-Fu Lee, brilliant analyst and long-time practicioner of AI, a great venture capitalist, and a keen analyst of social trends, gives a run down of the immediate and mid-range future being brought by Machine Learning and artificial intelligence. I enjoyed this book, but I was completely swept away by the 4th chapter, in which Lee gives a fascinating and fantastically educational summary of the investment landscape in China over the last 20 years. I would recommend this book to anybody who wants ...more
Nov 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
I thought I knew quite a bit about Deep Learning and I have toyed with TensorFlow, but I learned a whole lot more here. This book is worth reading. Some of the things you can learn:
- Is AI on the upwards trajectory and soon going to enslave all humans? (the answer is no, deep learning was a single breakthrough that isn't likely to repeat; we're just reaping the rewards of that discovery today)
- Is this going to be just like the Industrial revolution, where old jobs are replaced by the new jobs?
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well-researched and written by probably the most qualified person to speak on these issues in the world right now. It opened my eyes to what's happening right now in China's Silicon Valley equivalents and demanded a sense of respect. I felt my American instincts rear up in response to China's "copycat" businesses, the top-down / government-stimulated economy, and the techno-utilitarian culture -- and then had them dismantled by Lee's global perspective and his ability to see the strengths of bot ...more
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“the invention of deep learning means that we are moving from the age of expertise to the age of data. Training successful deep-learning algorithms requires computing power, technical talent, and lots of data. But of those three, it is the volume of data that will be the most important going forward. That’s because once technical talent reaches a certain threshold, it begins to show diminishing returns. Beyond that point, data makes all the difference. Algorithms tuned by an average engineer can outperform those built by the world’s leading experts if the average engineer has access to far more data.” 0 likes
“PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates AI deployment will add $15.7 trillion to global GDP by 2030. China is predicted to take home $7 trillion of that total, nearly double North America’s $3.7 trillion in gains. As” 0 likes
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