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中国崛起成为人工智能大国,世界将如何为之改变

Clay Chandler 2018年09月28日

前谷歌高管李开复博士写了一本有关中美之间人工智能开发竞争的新书。

十年之内,中国将取代美国,成为人工智能领域的全球领头羊,两国将作为“人工智能超级大国”,迫使小国加入竞争性的科技阵营。这就是前谷歌(Google)中国区总裁李开复在本周上市的煽动性新作《AI·未来》(AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order)中做出的警告性预言。

我曾在《财富》杂志的其他版块对李开复的理论做出过评价。作者李开复本人在《纽约时报》(The New York Times)写过一篇极佳的总结。不过全书通篇都极具阅读价值。李开复是名专家。他出生于中国台湾,在卡内基梅隆大学(Carnegie Mellon)接受过教育,是一位颇有成就的人工智能科学家,也是中国最顶尖的风险投资家之一。

《AI·未来》一书认为,中国目前在人工智能方面落后于美国,中国的传统智慧也无法像硅谷一样吸引最优秀的人才并鼓励他们自由思考。但在李开复看来,愿景和宏伟计划的重要性被看得过高了,因为人工智能已经从“发现时代”进入了“实干时代”。前者依赖杰出的研究人员和突破性的思维,而后者需要的是称职的工程师,并非天才。他认为,近来人工智能创新最重要的是获取海量数据,而这一方面中国占据压倒性的优势。

其部分原因在于中国的体量。中国有超过8亿互联网用户,是美国人口的大约三倍。比起美国,中国的消费者会通过手机完成更多日常活动(因此每个用户产生的数据更多、更丰富),在隐私换取便利方面的顾虑似乎也更少。李开复还认为中国“极具竞争力的商业环境”结合该国对于该行业发展的扶持,会让他们赢得决定性的优势。

李开复自认是一位对科技乐观的人。在该书的一章中,他对于人工智能如何帮助我们“更加凸显人类特质”提出了建议。不过他也认为人工智能存在一些令人担忧的地缘政治影响。他警告称:“无论中国和美国之间存在怎样的差异,相较于两大人工智能超级强国与世界其他国家的对比,都显得微不足道。”其他国家“只能捡点残羹冷炙,而这两大人工智能超级强国却在不断提高本土的生产率,并收割全球的劳动果实。”李开复认为,美国公司会占领发达国家市场,“而中国的人工智能巨头会赢得更多东南亚、非洲和中东的份额。”仿佛这两个国家的关系还不够复杂一样……(财富中文网)

译者:严匡正 

Within a decade, China will overtake the United States as global leader in artificial intelligence, and the two nations will square off as “AI superpowers,” forcing smaller countries to align behind them in rival techno-blocs. That’s the alarming prospect sketched by former Google China chief Kai-Fu Lee in AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order, a provocative book released this week.

I’ve written elsewhere in Fortune about Lee’s thesis. The author himself offers an excellent summary in this essay in The New York Times. But the book is well worth reading in full. Lee knows his stuff. Born in Taiwan and educated at Carnegie Mellon, he is an accomplished AI scientist and has become one of China’s top venture capitalists.

AI Superpowers challenges the conventional wisdom that China, which now lags the U.S. in AI, can’t match Silicon Valley’s unique capacity to attract the best minds and encourage them to think freely. In Lee’s view, vision and moonshots are over-rated because AI is shifting from an “Age of Discovery,” in which the advantage lies with brilliant researchers and breakthrough insights, to an “Age of Implementation,” in which engineers need only be competent, not geniuses. What matters most for AI innovation these days, he argues, is access to vast quantities of data—where China’s advantage is overwhelming.

That’s partly because of China’s size; the nation claims more than 800 million Internet users, about three times the U.S. population. It’s also because Chinese consumers channel more of their daily activities through mobile phones than U.S. counterparts (thus generating greater and richer data per user), and seem to have fewer qualms about trading privacy for convenience. Lee also thinks China’s “hypercompetitive business landscape,” combined with state support for the industry’s development will tip the scale decisively in China’s favor.

Lee positions himself as a techno-optimist. In one chapter, he offers suggestions for how AI can help us “double-down on what makes us human.” But he also suggests AI has worrisome geopolitical implications. “Whatever gaps exist between China and the United States,” he warns, “those differences will pale in comparison between those two AI superpowers and the rest of the world.” Other nations “will be left to pick up the scraps while these AI superpowers will boost productivity at home and harvest profits from around the globe.” Lee sees American companies laying claim to developed markets “while China’s AI juggernauts will have a better shot at winning over Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.” As if relations between the two nations weren’t complicated enough already…

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