Conquering Markets and Arming Insurgents

Mar 14, 2019

What happens when you try to take game-changing AI products global?

Thus far, much of the work done in artificial intelligence has been contained within the Chinese and U.S. markets, with companies largely avoiding direct competition on the home turf of the other nation. But despite the fact that the United States and China are the two largest economies in the world, the vast majority of AI’s future users still live in other countries, many of them in the developing world. Any company that wants to be the Facebook or Google of the AI age needs a strategy for reaching those users and winning those markets.

By Dr. Kai-Fu Lee

The Autonomous AI Balance of Power

Mar 12, 2019

While new developments in AI may sound exciting and innovative to the Chinese landscape, the hard truth is no amount of government support can guarantee that China will lead in autonomous AI.

When it comes to the core technology needed for self-driving cars, American companies remain two to three years ahead of China. In technology timelines, that’s lightyears of distance. Part of that stems from the relative importance of elite expertise in fourth-wave AI: safety issues and sheer complexity make autonomous vehicles a much tougher engineering nut to crack. It’s a problem that requires a core team of world-class engineers rather than just a broad base of good ones. This tilts the playing field back toward the United States, where the best engineers from around the globe still cluster at companies like Google.

By Dr. Kai-Fu Lee

China’s “Tesla” Approach to Technology

Mar 07, 2019

When managing a country of 1.38 billion people—one in which 260,000 people die in car accidents each year—the Chinese mentality is that you can’t let perfect be the enemy of the good.

That is, rather than waiting for the perfect self-driving cars to arrive, Chinese leaders will likely look for ways to deploy more limited autonomous vehicles in controlled settings. That deployment will have the side effect of leading to more exponential growth in the accumulation of data and a corresponding advance in the power of the AI behind it.

By Dr. Kai-Fu Lee

Swarm Intelligence

Mar 05, 2019

As autonomous technology becomes more agile and more intelligent, we will see some mind-bending and life-saving applications of the technology, particularly with drones.

Swarms of autonomous drones will work together to paint the exterior of your house in just a few hours. Heat-resistant drone swarms will fight forest fires with hundreds of times the current efficiency of traditional fire crews. Other drones will perform search-and-rescue operations in the aftermath of hurricanes and earthquakes, bringing food and water to the stranded and teaming up with nearby drones to airlift people out.

By Dr. Kai-Fu Lee