Widely Followed Chinese Technologist Says In Next Decade, AI Will Replace Half Of All Jobs

According to Kai-Fu Lee, founder of venture capital firm Sinovation Ventures and a top voice on tech in China, robots are likely to replace 50 percent of all jobs in the next decade.

Terming Artificial intelligence (AI) as the “singular thing that will be larger than all of human tech revolutions added together, including electricity, [the] industrial revolution, internet, mobile internet — because AI is pervasive”, the influential technologist said that AI is the wave of the future.

“It is the decision engine that will replace people,” Lee said, adding that AI capabilities far exceed those of humanity.

Recognizing 3 million faces at the same time, or dispersing loans in eight seconds were among the capabilities and feats that companies, in which his firm has invested can accomplish, he said giving an example of the future power of AI.

“These are things that are superhuman, and we think this will be in every industry, will probably replace 50 percent of human jobs, create a huge amount of wealth for mankind and wipe out poverty,” Lee said. He expected that displacement to occur in the next 10 years, Lee later added.

Partly because he previously headed Google China before founding his venture capital firm, Lee’s views on technology are widely followed. With millions of social media followers on multiple platforms, he has celebrity status in the industry and in China and he has also held executive posts at many other major tech companies, including Apple and Microsoft.

Lee tackled the big question: Will human still have a place in the world as machines grow more intelligent? while talking to the media when he was at the Global Mobile Internet Conference in Beijing.

Nothing can replace human-to-human interaction, was the answer to the question, he said.

“Touching one’s heart with your heart is something that machines, I believe, will never be good at,” he said, explaining that service jobs should be considered “first-class” employment.

Lee said that traditional companies like banks, insurance firms and hospitals, are simply moving to slow even as all of this change is happening. And since they “possess the biggest treasure” in the form of troves of data, this slow moving is too bad, he added.

“Because AI is about taking data into insight and decision, so I anticipate [the] internet sector, entrepreneurial sector, to continue to grow and in many cases, displace and even wipe out traditional companies in China,” he said.

In China, it’s become pervasive for consumers to pay for everything from rent to transportation through mobile wallets and transfers as Chinese tech tycoons like Tencent and Alibaba, for instance, have forged the way in mobile payments. Meanwhile, China’s giant state-owned banks are just barely starting to catch on, Lee said.

(Adapted from CNBC)

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