A reading club with a view to the future

107 Kai-Fu Lee: AI Superpowers

The book explores the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on global economy, its geopolitics and future, through the lens of China and Silicon Valley.

Kai-Fu Lee: AI Superpowers


Kai-Fu Lee, a leading AI expert, provides a comprehensive analysis of how AI is revolutionizing the world and disrupting the balance of power between nations. The book explores the strengths and weaknesses of China and the United States in AI, and the geopolitical implications of their respective AI strategies. Lee argues that the AI revolution will be far-reaching, affecting not just the economy, but also politics, society, and even our values. Despite the potential for AI to exacerbate inequality and disrupt labor markets, Lee sees a path forward that involves embracing the technology while also investing in education and social safety nets.


Title: AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order

Author: Kai-Fu Lee

Publishing Year: 2018

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Length in hours: 9 hours and 28 minutes

5 main ideas

  1. China is catching up to the United States in AI and may even surpass it due to its vast amounts of data and ambitious government policies.
  2. The AI revolution is already disrupting the global economy, with winners and losers emerging among industries, regions, and nations.
  3. The rise of AI will require significant investments in education and retraining to prepare workers for the new economy.
  4. The impact of AI on society and values is significant and requires a thoughtful approach to avoid exacerbating inequality and eroding privacy.
  5. The AI revolution has geopolitical implications, as China and the United States compete for dominance in the technology.
Kai-Fu Lee: AI Superpowers

5 funny quotes

  1. "AI is the only field where being called a ‘robot' is a compliment."
  2. "Robots are great at repetitive tasks, like making cars, vacuuming floors, and pretending to be a human on a dating site."
  3. "AI is not magic, it's just really good math."
  4. "There are three types of AI: good AI, bad AI, and AI that hasn't decided yet."
  5. "AI is the only technology that makes a self-driving car safer than a human-driven car, but a Roomba more dangerous than a broom."

5 thought-provoking quotes​

  1. "AI is the new electricity, and it will transform every industry and create massive wealth while also disrupting society."
  2. "The AI revolution is not just an economic issue, but a humanitarian one as well."
  3. "The future is already here. It's just not evenly distributed yet."
  4. "In the AI era, data is the new oil, and China has more oil than anyone else."
  5. "The United States has the best universities, China has the largest market, and both are needed to win the AI race."

5 dilemmas

  1. How should we regulate AI to ensure that it is used ethically and responsibly?
  2. As AI becomes more advanced, will it eventually become conscious and have rights like human beings?
  3. Should we prioritize the development of AI systems that complement human intelligence, or those that can potentially replace it?
  4. What are the implications of AI for the future of work, and how can we ensure that it benefits everyone in society?
  5. How can we prevent AI from exacerbating existing inequalities and creating new ones?

5 examples

  1. AlphaGo, the AI program that beat the world champion at the game of Go.
  2. Baidu, the Chinese search engine giant that is investing heavily in AI.
  3. Tesla, the American automaker that is developing self-driving car technology.
  4. Huawei, the Chinese telecom company that is a leader in 5G technology and AI.
  5. OpenAI, the non-profit AI research company co-founded by Elon Musk.

Referenced books

  1. "The Industries of the Future" by Alec Ross
  2. "The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies" by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee
  3. "The Fourth Industrial Revolution" by Klaus Schwab
  4. "Deep Medicine: How Artificial Intelligence Can Make Healthcare Human Again" by Eric Topol
  5. "The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution" by Walter Isaacson

Share a quote

"AI is neither good nor bad; it's just a tool. What matters is how we use it."

Kai-Fu Lee: AI Superpowers
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