The Race Between China and the U.S. for AI Dominance

Thu, Oct 25, 2018 - 8:41am

In a recent podcast, Dr. Kai-fu Lee, former president of Google China and founding director of Microsoft Asia, discussed his recent book, AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order with Cris Sheridan on FS Insider.

Lee explains how AI is rapidly advancing due to the advent of deep learning and how there's a new arms race underway between China and the U.S. to become the world’s leading AI superpower.

Because of the sheer number of people, data, and Chinese capital flooding into AI, Lee argues that China will likely overtake the U.S., which will have enormous implications on the global stage.

On the subject of deep learning and understanding just how important this new technology is, Lee compares it to the invention or harnessing of electricity, which now powers the entire modern world. Here's what he said:

Where Does All the Data Come From?

There are more Chinese citizens than any other country—compared to the U.S., there are four times as many mobile users. Lee explained, “Chinese people use mobile technology a lot more than Americans.” He continued, “Mobile payments, as opposed to credit cards, are used 50 times more than the US...and every time mobile technology is used, data is generated.”

This is quite like Amazon, Facebook and Google collecting data based on what ads we click on in our newsfeed or which items we’re searching. The companies and the AI software learn as more data is fed into them.

In China, however, data is being gathered at an incomprehensible scale. Cash has basically become obsolete in the country and almost all transactions are recorded digitally through mobile payments.

Merging the Online and Offline World

Lee sees a “goldmine” of opportunity when the online and offline worlds become fully connected, as he sees happening in China now.

When someone makes an in-person purchase at say, a convince store, the data is still tracked by a mobile phone payment, thus merging the online and offline world.

“When you pay cash, just imagine nothing is recorded so the merchant doesn't know who bought it and then the payment company doesn’t know who bought it. And you don’t have the record of what you bought. When everything is done by mobile, you have a record.”

Lee said all this data is then fed into an AI engine “to make more accurate predictions” and to also develop new applications where the U.S. and the wider Western world is quickly falling behind.

Listen to this full podcast with Dr. Kai-fu Lee by clicking here. For a free trial to our FS Insider podcast, click here. For more information about Financial Sense® Wealth Management and our current investment strategies, click here.

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