The New AI Book That Investors Are Scrambling For

A better headline for this piece would be “The Future of You,” as artificial intelligence is about to become so integral to your work, your investment portfolio, and even your very existence that you won’t be able to live without it, quite literally. Well, do I have some great news for you. A blockbuster book about the state of play on all things AI was released on September 25, and I managed to obtain and read an advanced copy. It is entitled: AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order by Dr. Kai-Fu Lee.

The bottom line: The future is even more unbelievable than you remotely imagined. We are at the very early days of this giant mega trend, and the investment opportunities will be nothing less than spectacular. And here is a barn burner. The price of AI is dropping fast as hundreds of thousands of new programmers pour into the field. Those $10 million signing bonuses are about to become a thing of the past.

Dr. Lee is certainly someone to take seriously. He obtained one of the first PhD’s in AI from Carnegie Mellon University. He was the president of Google China and put in stints at Microsoft and Apple. Today, he is the CEO of Sinovation Ventures, the largest AI venture capital firm in China, and is a board director of Alibaba (BABA). AI is nothing more than deep learning, or super pattern recognition. Dr. Lee dates the onset of artificial intelligence to 1952, when an IBM mainframe computer learned to play checkers and beat human opponents. By 1955, it learned to develop strategies on its own.

Dr. Lee sees the AI field ultimately divided into two spheres of dominance, the U.S. and China. No one else is devoting a fraction of the resources needed to become a serious player. The good news is that Russia and Iran are nowhere in the game. While the U.S. dominates in the original theory and algorithms that founded AI, China is about to take the lead in applications. It can do this because it has access to mountains of data that dwarf those available in America. China processes three times more mobile phones, five times more Internet customers, 10 times more eat-out orders, and 50 times more mobile transactions. In a future where data is currency this is huge.

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