Computers, intelligent machines, and robots seem like the workforce of the future. And as more and more jobs are replaced by technology, people will have less work to do and ultimately will be sustained by payments from the government, predicts Elon Musk, the iconic Silicon Valley futurist who is the founder and CEO of SolarCity, Tesla, and SpaceX.
A technology revolution is now sweeping the world, and the countries that most effectively seize the opportunities it creates will dominate the 21st century. Nowhere is the revolution more transformative for lives, livelihoods, security and prosperity than in the field of artificial intelligence. AI will shift the balance of power in both the global economy and international relations, because the countries that master AI first will have a crucial strategic advantage in writing the rules for the next global order.
China is a rising power in artificial intelligence. This white paper, a collaboration between Eurasia Group and Dr. Kai-Fu Lee, a leading AI researcher and founder of Sinovation Ventures, provides an in-depth view of China's AI sector, detailing where it lags and where it is leap-frogging ahead of the United States in the most important technology race of the 21st century.
The report, titled "The Malicious Use of Artificial Intelligence," cautioned against various security threats posed by the misuse of AI.
Robots have transformed industrial manufacturing, and now they are being rolled out for food production and restaurant kitchens. Already, artificial intelligence (AI) machines can do many tasks where learning and judgment is required, including self-driving cars, insurance assessment, stock trading, accounting, HR and many tasks in healthcare. So are we approaching a jobless future, or will new jobs replace the ones that are lost?
Everyone agrees that the competition to hire people who know how to build artificial intelligence systems is intense. It’s turned once-staid academic conferences into frenzied meet markets for corporate recruiters and driven the salaries of the top researchers to seven-figures. But how scarce AI talent really is has been something of an industry mystery.
Congress, if it is to address artificial intelligence and its attendant issues in any meaningful sense, must take a far more expansive view, one that considers the implications of these technologies both at home and abroad. National competitiveness, while important, is not and should not be the end-all be-all when it comes to crafting policy.
Chinese and American tech giants are preparing for a showdown that may shape the future of artificial intelligence. China’s cloud providers, Alibaba, Tencent, and Baidu, are getting ready to do battle with US giants Amazon, Google, and Microsoft to deliver AI online. As Chinese companies seek to expand their reach, they may increasingly aim their cloud services at US companies and developers, and vice versa.
Our future depends on our young people’s ability to face novelty and complexity, and to work together to create a better world for themselves and the next generation they leave behind. They will face challenges in jobs we have yet to envision and work alongside more intelligent machines than Orwell could have imagined.
History, logic, and economic analysis all strongly point to the conclusion that the next technology wave, powered by artificial intelligence and robotics, will not lead to above average unemployment levels and that we will not run out of work. What it could do however, is significantly improve labor productivity growth rates, making society better off and boost per-capita incomes for virtually all Americans.