Book summary: Kai-Fu Lee’s AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the new world order

I read this book in German (had ordered it by accident) and now got the original one as well and will read that too. Someone once said to only read great books and then read them twice so you really remember most. This book is definitely a great one. I can relate to all he says very well as I have lived and worked in both Silicon Valley but also in China and Hong Kong. Also I am now deeply (punch) into AI and Deeplearning and have gained the knowledge from 12 months of hands-on (aka programming in Python and Tensorflow) courses and reading tons of material. This is ongoing of course… BTW, this book is NOT about China vs US only BUT goes much further. I highly recommend it to everyone who is interested in how AI impacts us and then read it 2x. It is worth your time for sure! That way you belong to the people who get to know a great foundation on how and why AI matters and are far ahead of so many out there who don’t do that but still engage in this discussion.

The book covers these subjects (not in this order):

  • gives a very high-level intro to AI and deeplearning and some applications
  • also explains why – different to former tech disruptions, like in the industrial revolution – AI will not increase and create more jobs, but rather cut them; due to the fact that it will lead to monopolies who will accumulate huge wealth and dominate entire markets
  • describes why with the beating of the world champion Go player by DeepMind China had their Sputnik moment
  • the four ingredients China has like noone else that will make it to catch up:
    • data (through mobile and their special Internet businesses)
    • battle-proven and highly competitive entrepreneurs
    • lots of AI know-how (even if not at the top-end like in the US- who got many of them from Europe 🙂 )
    • government taking this very serious and investing
  • how, due to these ingredients, China will catch up in all of the four AI application areas within 5 years (by 2023) and leading in 2 of them, being tight in one and still being behind in one of them which is business AI where they don’t care as much
  • how AI will destroy jobs in both physical and cognitive job areas
  • how due to Kai-Fu Lee’s near death experience (successfully fight cancer at age 55) he gains hope for how society can use AI for the good of mankind and both can co-exist. 
  • he also makes very clear where humans differentiate from machines. it is in our ability to truly love.

His last two chapters I will summarize in more detail…


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