This is a great little book for understanding how artificial intelligence (AI), perhaps the most consequential technology of this century, is rapidly developing in China, the world’s new scientific superpower and by some metrics already the largest economy.
Kai-Fu Lee writes on his subject with style and ease on the back of a lifetime of experience. Born in Taiwan in 1961, he earned a PhD in computer science at Carnegie Mellon and and worked for a string of Silicon Valley companies, before becoming head of Google China in 2005. Since then, he has become a prominent tech personality in China and a major venture capitalist (his Sinovation Ventures has over $2 billion in assets).
The following are a few take-aways from the book that struck me and that will be relevant to Western policymakers:
- China’s business culture is brutal
- We live in an age of AI application, not innovation
- The Chinese government is going all-in on AI
- It is unclear what kind of world will emerge from AI
- China can lastingly surpass Western technological prowess