What Can Government Do in the AI Era?

Governments should help quantify job displacement risks, and actively help people find their new beginning. Education departments should guide schools, training centers, and unemployment offices to eliminate outdated education curricula and courses and develop modern ones.

Governments should also encourage entrepreneurship, and create an environment that encourages new ventures, which will create jobs. This includes not only venture capital, but also impact investing.

Ai Superpowers goes in depth about the relationship between AI and government and how it is giving China and the US very different advantages in the AI race.

Governments should forget UBI and starting thinking about MBS+SIS

Governments should provide minimum basic services, or MBS – this includes food, shelter, healthcare, and education. All governments already do this to some degree, but with the new wealth from AI, governments can afford to offer more extensive coverage. Why not universal basic income (UBI)? To start, UBI is unnecessarily costly.

Also, if all people get paid without working, and AI appears to replace all routine jobs, people will be prone to depression, or substance abuse. Finally, even if people were to spend their UBI on self-enrichment or entrepreneurship, the AI environment is new and constantly changing. They need more hand-holding in such dynamic times.

It should develop a new Social Investment Stipend, or SIS. On top of minimum basic services, this stipend will provide a respectable salary and career, if participants commit sufficient time to one or more of three things:

  • Care: do substantial work in caring for other people, to help them live their lives to the fullest.
  • Service: do the equivalent of volunteer jobs, such as environmental remediation, afterschool programs, or answering hotlines.
  • Education: show completion of training courses for the survivable jobs of the AI, from AI testing engineer, to social work, to elderly care.

Satya Nadella

CEO, Microsoft

"Kai-Fu Lee's smart analysis on human-AI coexistence is clear-eyed and a must-read. We must look deep within ourselves for the values and wisdom to guide AI's development."

Marc Benioff

Chairman & CEO Salesforce

"In his brilliant book, Kai-Fu Lee applies his superpowers to predicting the disruptive shifts that will define the AI-powered future and proposes a revolutionary social contract that forges a new synergy between AI and the human heart."

Arianna Huffington

Founder, HuffPost, and founder & CEO, Thrive Global

"Kai-Fu Lee's experience as an AI pioneer, top investor, and cancer survivor has led to this brilliant book about global technology. AI Superpowers gives us a guide to a future that celebrates all the benefits that AI will bring, while cultivating what is unique about our humanity."

A New Social Contract

MBS and the SIS together, form the beginnings of a new social contract.

Finally, governments should not think of AI as a cold war. AI is not a weapon. It is an omni-use technology that can enable or disrupt any industry and any company. In this sense, our current AI boom shares far more with the dawn of the Industrial Revolution or the invention of electricity than with the Cold War arms race.

We need globalism -- In face of all the challenges from AI, countries need to share and help each other, because no single country will have all the answer. We want to draw from a diverse source of wisdom from many countries and cultures. For example, Korea’s gifted and talented education, Switzerland’s craftsmanship, Canada’s culture of volunteering, etc.

Learn how AI will change the work in Dr. Lee's book AI Superpower.