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A. I.

Kai-Fu Lee, CEO of Sinovation Ventures discusses whether Westworld can become reality.

Are we seeing the creation of a parallel universe for US and Chinese tech industries?

I think the answer is yes. In the past, US has dominated the world in technologies from P.C. operating systems, semiconductors, to servers, and even Internet. But ever since the rise of mobile technologies, China has really leveraged the large market with a huge amount of data and now is beginning to innovate and build great mobile apps on which there's a large amount of data being collected.

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Bank of America's $25 million jobs initiative provides Black and Hispanic-Latino individuals access to skills and training needed for jobs of the future. Learn more about the initiative, which involves partnerships with 21 community colleges, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Hispanic Serving Institutions.

Did Silicon Valley underestimate Chinese tech companies?

Absolutely. Ten years ago, it was reasonable because most Chinese companies at the time were copycats. They were using Silicon Valley ideas and building companies in China. So, for every Google, Facebook, Amazon, there was a Chinese equivalent.

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How do I provide the right education to my children in the AI era?

I think the main thing happening in the AI era is routine jobs will increasingly be done by AI and people have to move on to things that people are really good at. And I'll give you two examples: In school, children study a lot of verbal and quantitative - that's what we are tested on the S.A.T. - but verbal needs to evolve from just being able to spell and put together sentences. AI can do that. It needs to evolve towards communication, connection, trust. This are things only people can do.

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Will the AI revolution create or destroy jobs?

The answer is yes. It will create and destroy jobs. Which will be more? Historically looking at technology revolutions - technology revolutions generally create more jobs than they destroy. So, it's likely AI will be the same way. The challenge, though, is that AI, when it destroys jobs, will do so completely. So routine jobs such as back office jobs and assembly line jobs and in the future, jobs like drivers and many office workers that do routine jobs, will be outright replaced by AI. So that's a significant issue.

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True or false: Superintelligent machines will one day rule over humans?

Very unlikely. The reason is today's artificial intelligence is also known as artificial narrow intelligence, which means the A.I. we have today deployed in Internet engines, all the way up to autonomous vehicles, are nothing more than fancy pattern recognition tools that we humans fully control. And, in order to evolve from these tools, which we control, to tools equally intelligent or even more intelligent than us, there will need to be at least 10 or 20 huge breakthroughs. Breakthroughs like the ability to create self-awareness have self-awareness and have compassion and ability to reason and plan and also what desire to rule over humans which doesn't exist in tools. So this is very unlikely. If it happens it will be in the very long term. We currently have no engineering path to getting there so we better focus on some real problems caused by A.I. such as security, privacy and inequality. So don't worry about it.

Will A.I. reduce poverty and inequality or make them worse?

On the positive side, A.I. is enabling all technologies and industries and will create a huge amount of wealth in the world measured by PwC as 16 trillion dollars in the next eleven years and more wealth ought to reduce poverty and inequality. Another aspect is that A.I. can be applied to health care and reduce the cost of health care and can be applied to education and make it more accessible. So that should also improve. However, A.I. has the following problems. First, much of the wealth generated by A.I. will go to the powerful Internet companies and big data companies like Google, and Facebook, and Tencent, and Alibaba. So they will get richer and A.I. will displace a lot of jobs, so poor people might lose their jobs. And A.I. will make lots of money for AI Superpowers like US and China, and may make other countries worse off. So the answer is we don't know but it's something we have to think about.


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