In many of our newsletters we talked about Artificial Intelligence (eg. how it works, but also its potentially negative impact). The author Kai-Fu Lee goes a step further in finding ways how humans can coexist with massive automation in his latest book “AI Superpowers”.

In his book, the former head of Google China explains how the enormous impact of AI is accelerated through three main drivers:

- Digital dissemination: the extremely fast way of spreading know-how about AI;
- VC fundings: large amounts of available capital ready to be invested in new technologies;
- China: speed is essential, convenience-driven society (no privacy concerns), copying is acceptable, and big data availability.

Kai-Fu Lee shows how AI will have negative impacts on:
- Employment: starting with the jobs that take in information and have to make a decision or recommendation on this information;
- Income distribution: the winner takes all = more data means a better product, a better product means more users, and more users means more data.

He illustrates the impact on jobs, both impacting blue and white collar workers, with the following two graphs.

Risk of job replacement in cognitive labor (source: Kai-Fu Lee AI Superpowers)

Risk of job replacement in the manual labor sector: (source: Kai-Fu Lee AI Superpowers)

Kai-Fu Lee forecasts in his book that there will be around 50% job losses in the US and China. He underlines that of course these jobs won’t be disappearing immediately, but in steps. New jobs, such as robot repairers and AI developers, will certainly be created, but certainly not enough to cover the losses.
At last Kai-Fu Lee proposes a solution to these challenges. He suggests to raise a super tax on the winner-takes-it-all AI companies, so that governments can give a stipend to volunteer workers. He divides the volunteer work into three broad categories:
- Care work;
- Community service;
- Education.
He ditches the whole concept of Universal Basic Income (it is the typical silicon valley quick fix, according to the author). It does not solve the real problem: having a meaning in life.
We can and should financially reward our foremost quality as humans: to love, with the benefits we reap from automation. The question remains whether our governments (being much more influenced by strong monopolies) are willing to tax the large corporations to support the small individuals.
Links to check out & books to read
📨 Our own previous newsletter about McAfee (see second part “Data and Data Scientists are scarce”) 
📕 Kai-Fu Lee’s AI Superpowers
📄 If you can’t finish books? Read this