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AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order by Kai-Fu Lee
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AI Superpowers Quotes Showing 1-30 of 71
“In stark contrast, China’s startup culture is the yin to Silicon Valley’s yang: instead of being mission-driven, Chinese companies are first and foremost market-driven. Their ultimate goal is to make money, and they’re willing to create any product, adopt any model, or go into any business that will accomplish that objective. That mentality leads to incredible flexibility in business models and execution, a perfect distillation of the “lean startup” model often praised in Silicon Valley. It doesn’t matter where an idea came from or who came up with it. All that matters is whether you can execute it to make a financial profit. The core motivation for China’s market-driven entrepreneurs is not fame, glory, or changing the world. Those things are all nice side benefits, but the grand prize is getting rich, and it doesn’t matter how you get there.”
Kai-Fu Lee, AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order
“In deep learning, there’s no data like more data. The more examples of a given phenomenon a network is exposed to, the more accurately it can pick out patterns and identify things in the real world.”
Kai-Fu Lee, AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order
“AI ever allows us to truly understand ourselves, it will not be because these algorithms captured the mechanical essence of the human mind. It will be because they liberated us to forget about optimizations and to instead focus on what truly makes us human: loving and being loved.”
Kai-Fu Lee, AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order
“birthplace and heritage are not the sole determinants of behavior.”
Kai-Fu Lee, AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order
“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.”
Kai-Fu Lee, AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order
“Throw in the valley’s rich history of computer science breakthroughs, and you’ve set the stage for the geeky-hippie hybrid ideology that has long defined Silicon Valley. Central to that ideology is a wide-eyed techno-optimism, a belief that every person and company can truly change the world through innovative thinking. Copying ideas or product features is frowned upon as a betrayal of the zeitgeist and an act that is beneath the moral code of a true entrepreneur. It’s all about “pure” innovation, creating a totally original product that generates what Steve Jobs called a “dent in the universe.” Startups that grow up in this kind of environment tend to be mission-driven. They start with a novel idea or idealistic goal, and they build a company around that. Company mission statements are clean and lofty, detached from earthly concerns or financial motivations.”
Kai-Fu Lee, AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order
“Algorithms tuned by an average engineer can outperform those built by the world’s leading experts”
Kai-Fu Lee, AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order
“instead of being mission-driven, Chinese companies are first and foremost market-driven. Their ultimate goal is to make money, and they’re willing to create any product, adopt any model, or go into any business that will accomplish that objective.”
Kai-Fu Lee, AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order
“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”
Kai-Fu Lee, AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order
“Cash has disappeared so quickly from Chinese cities that it even “disrupted” crime. In March 2017, a pair of Chinese cousins made headlines with a hapless string of robberies. The pair had traveled to Hangzhou, a wealthy city and home to Alibaba, with the goal of making a couple of lucrative scores and then skipping town. Armed with two knives, the cousins robbed three consecutive convenience stores only to find that the owners had almost no cash to hand over—virtually all their customers were now paying directly with their phones. Their crime spree netted them around $125 each—not even enough to cover their travel to and from Hangzhou—when police picked them up. Local media reported rumors that upon arrest one of the brothers cried out, “How is there no cash left in Hangzhou?”
Kai-Fu Lee, AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order
“Behind these efforts lies a core difference in American and Chinese political culture: while America’s combative political system aggressively punishes missteps or waste in funding technological upgrades, China’s techno-utilitarian approach rewards proactive investment and adoption.”
Kai-Fu Lee, AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order
“Robotics, however, is much more difficult. It requires a delicate interplay of mechanical engineering, perception AI, and fine-motor manipulation. These are all solvable problems, but not at nearly the speed at which pure software is being built to handle white-collar cognitive tasks. Once that robot is built, it must also be tested, sold, shipped, installed, and maintained on-site. Adjustments to the robot’s underlying algorithms can sometimes be made remotely, but any mechanical hiccups require hands-on work with the machine. All these frictions will slow down the pace of robotic automation.”
Kai-Fu Lee, AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order
“Recent estimates have Chinese companies outstripping U.S. competitors ten to one in quantity of food deliveries and fifty to one in spending on mobile payments. China’s e-commerce purchases are roughly double the U.S. totals, and the gap is only growing. Data on total trips through ride-hailing apps is somewhat scarce, but during the height of competition between Uber and Didi, self-reported numbers from the two companies had Didi’s rides in China at four times the total of Uber’s global rides. When it comes to rides on shared bikes, China is outpacing the United States at an astounding ratio of three hundred to one.”
Kai-Fu Lee, AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order
“Of the hundreds of companies pouring resources into AI research, let’s return to the seven that have emerged as the new giants of corporate AI research—Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent.”
Kai-Fu Lee, AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order
“Realizing the newfound promise of electrification a century ago required four key inputs: fossil fuels to generate it, entrepreneurs to build new businesses around it, electrical engineers to manipulate it, and a supportive government to develop the underlying public infrastructure. Harnessing the power of AI today—the “electricity” of the twenty-first century—requires four analogous inputs: abundant data, hungry entrepreneurs, AI scientists, and an AI-friendly policy environment.”
Kai-Fu Lee, AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order
“AI will do the analytical thinking, while humans will wrap that analysis in warmth and compassion.”
Kai-Fu Lee, AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order
“Can you imagine the elation that comes from beating a world champion at the game you’ve devoted your whole life to mastering? AlphaGo did just that, but it took no pleasure in its success, felt no happiness from winning, and had no desire to hug a loved one after its victory. Despite”
Kai-Fu Lee, AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order
“I want to create a system that provides for all members of society, but one that also uses the wealth generated by AI to build a society that is more compassionate, loving, and ultimately human.”
Kai-Fu Lee, AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order
“Each of the three recognized categories—care, service, and education—would encompass a wide range of activities, with different levels of compensation for full- and part-time participation. Care work could include parenting of young children, attending to an aging parent, assisting a friend or family member dealing with illness, or helping someone with mental or physical disabilities live life to the fullest. This category would create a veritable army of people—loved ones, friends, or even strangers—who could assist those in need, offering them what my entrepreneur friend’s touchscreen device for the elderly never could: human warmth. Service work would be similarly broadly defined, encompassing much of the current work of nonprofit groups as well as the kinds of volunteers I saw in Taiwan. Tasks could include performing environmental remediation, leading afterschool programs, guiding tours at national parks, or collecting oral histories from elders in our communities. Participants in these programs would register with an established group and commit to a certain number of hours of service work to meet the requirements of the stipend. Finally, education could range from professional training for the jobs of the AI age to taking classes that could transform a hobby into a career. Some recipients of the stipend will use that financial freedom to pursue a degree in machine learning and use it to find a high-paying job.”
Kai-Fu Lee, AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order
“China lagged years, if not decades, behind the United States in artificial intelligence. But over the past three years China has caught AI fever, experiencing a surge of excitement about the field that dwarfs even what we see in the rest of the world. Enthusiasm about AI has spilled over from the technology and business communities into government policymaking, and it has trickled all the way down to kindergarten classrooms in Beijing.”
Kai-Fu Lee, AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order
“Uber is already one of the most valuable startups in the world, even while giving around 75 percent of the money earned from each ride to the driver. To that end, how valuable would Uber become if in the span of a couple of years, the company was able to replace every single human driver with an AI-powered self-driving car? Or”
Kai-Fu Lee, AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order
“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.”
Kai-Fu Lee, AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order
“let the networks themselves identify patterns within the data. In other words, the less human interference, the better.”
Kai-Fu Lee, AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order
“This pattern-finding process is easier when the data is labeled with that desired outcome—“cat” versus “no cat”;”
Kai-Fu Lee, AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order
“Tencent painstakingly built WeChat into the world’s first super-app. It became a “remote control for life” that dominated not just users’ digital worlds but allowed them to pay at restaurants, hail taxis, unlock shared bikes, manage investments, book doctors’ appointments, and have those doctors’ prescriptions delivered to your door.”
Kai-Fu Lee, AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order
“Ray Kurzweil—the eccentric inventor, futurist, and guru-in-residence at Google—envisions a radical future in which humans and machines have fully merged. We will upload our minds to the cloud, he predicts, and constantly renew our bodies through intelligent nanobots released into our bloodstream. Kurzweil predicts that by 2029 we will have computers with intelligence comparable to that of humans (i.e., AGI), and that we will reach the singularity by 2045.”
Kai-Fu Lee, AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order
“Now, as traditional computing programs are displaced by the operation of AI algorithms, requirements are once again shifting. Machine learning demands the rapid-fire execution of complex mathematical formulas, something for which neither Intel’s nor Qualcomm’s chips are built. Into the void stepped Nvidia, a chipmaker that had previously excelled at graphics processing for video games. The math behind graphics processing aligned well with the requirements for AI, and Nvidia became the go-to player in the chip market. Between 2016 and early 2018, the company’s stock price multiplied by a factor of ten.”
Kai-Fu Lee, AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order
“By the end of 2017, 65 percent of China’s over 753 million smartphone users had enabled mobile payments.”
Kai-Fu Lee, AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order
“the biggest risk we face as a civilization,” comparing the creation of it to “summoning the demon.” Intellectual celebrities such as the late cosmologist Stephen Hawking have joined Musk in the dystopian camp, many of them inspired by the work of Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom, whose 2014 book Superintelligence captured the imagination of many futurists.”
Kai-Fu Lee, AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order
“They offered subsidies for research, directed venture-capital “guiding funds” toward AI, purchased the products and services of local AI startups, and set up dozens of special development zones and incubators.”
Kai-Fu Lee, AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order

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