What is Artificial Intelligence?

It Isn’t Exactly What You Read in Books and See in the Movies

Many people confuse artificial intelligence (or machine learning) with what they see in science fiction movies.

What you typically see in science fiction movies is “general AI”, or AI that is comparable (or even superior) to humans – including reasoning, conceptual learning, common sense, planning, cross-domain thinking, creativity, and even self-awareness and emotions. But today’s technology is far from this type of general AI.

What Are the Risks of AI?

Today's AI Technology

Today’s AI is “narrow AI”, or a technology that takes in huge amounts of information from a specific domain (say, loan repayment histories) and uses it to make a decision in a specific case (whether to give an individual a loan) in the service of a specified goal (maximizing profits for the lender).

Think of a spreadsheet on steroids, without programming and simply trained on big data. These tools can outperform human beings at certain tasks. This is already incredibly useful, because narrow AI is fast, accurate, works around-the-clock, and can be applied to many tasks, with substantial economic benefit. PWC estimates about $16 trillion of worldwide GDP will be contributed by AI by 2030. Learn more about today's AI and how it is poised to change industries, jobs, and our everyday lives in AI Superpowers.

AI & You

The Future of AI

How far are we from general AI? We simply don’t know enough to estimate. Because to achieve general AI will require dozens of significant breakthroughs, when the field of AI has only see one big breakthrough in 60 years.

For more information about the capabilities of modern AI and what is to come in the near future, get a copy of AI Superpowers.

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What Others Are Saying

Chris Anderson

Head of TED

“Truly one of the wisest and most surprising takes on AI. Kai-Fu Lee connects it with humans in a logical yet inspiring way. You’ll find this book illuminating and exciting in equal measure.”

Tony F. Chan

President of Hong Kong Univ of Science & Tech and former assistant director of the National Science Foundation

“Kai-Fu Lee distinguishes himself from the multitude of pundits on AI that have emerged recently in that he has first-hand experience in research, corporate leadership and investment in the field, as well as deep working experience in the two leading AI powers in the world: US and China. This unique background gives him unmatched insight in this fast-evolving field. This is a timely and important book.”

John Sculley

former Apple CEO

“Having worked closely with both of them, Kai-Fu's brilliance to understand and explain the new AI world order is comparable to when Steve Jobs connected-the-dots, explained how personal computing would fundamentally change humanity, and inspired the future. Kai-Fu's book is that good.”