With the US leading the AI revolution for decades, it would almost seem inconceivable that China could catch up. But China is rapidly catching up with the US in AI applications. Kai-Fu Lee discusses the five key factors that enabled this rapid ascension: tenacious entrepreneurs, speed and execution, tremendous capital, a big market and bigger data, and techno-utilitarian government policies. Kai-Fu also details the different strengths of the US and Chinese AI ecosystems and the types of opportunities issues they’ll collectively face. All countries should work together, because in the AI era, never has the potential for human flourishing been higher—or the stakes of failure greater.
Kai-Fu Lee is the chairman and CEO of Sinovation Ventures and president of the company’s Artificial Intelligence Institute. Sinovation Ventures is a leading venture capital firm, managing US$1.7 billion dual currency investment funds, that is focusing on developing the next generation of Chinese high-tech companies. Kai-Fu has been in artificial intelligence research, development, and investment for more than 30 years. Previously, he was the president of Google China and held executive positions at Microsoft, SGI, and Apple. He founded Microsoft Research China, which was named as the hottest research lab by MIT Technology Review. Later renamed Microsoft Research Asia, this institute trained the great majority of AI leaders in China, including CTOs or AI heads at Baidu, Tencent, Alibaba, Lenovo, Huawei, and Haier. At Apple, he led AI projects in speech and natural language, which were featured on Good Morning America and the front page of the Wall Street Journal. Kai-Fu has authored 10 US patents and more than 100 journal and conference papers. He is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the author of seven best-selling books in Chinese. His latest, AI Superpowers, launches internationally in the fall of 2018. Kai-Fu has over 50 million followers on social media. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Columbia University and a PhD from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as honorary doctorate degrees from both Carnegie Mellon and the City University of Hong Kong.
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