Note — Oct 21, 2018

Kai-Fu Lee, The Rising Tide: A Jobless Future Is Coming

An interview with Kai-Fu Lee, “the face of the Chinese tech world” and formerly of Microsoft, Apple, and Google. Azeem Azhar also had him on his podcast, both discuss his new book. There are some interesting insights tech wise, and somewhat regarding society vs automation, but neither properly challenges inevitability or Lee’s positive outlook on China. (i.e. they don’t cover dystopia / surveillance aspects).

The Chinese model is about building an incredibly high wall so that no one can replicate or start a price war, it’s about detail orientation, operational excellence, having a huge market, having instantaneous feedback from the market, iterating so many times that it becomes innovative. And I think that is the spirit. I think the copying was the way it started. […]

If we think about this pre-emptively, it comes down to two things; creativity and compassion. Creativity speaks to policy on gifted and talented education, letting people specialise early and follow their passion, so they can maximise their impact in their area of creativity.

But that’s a small percentage of people, it doesn’t solve the job issue. So compassion becomes the only solution. By compassion I mean in a broader sense. I mean being able to want to relate to a person. These would be jobs like nannies, teachers, nurses, social workers, psychiatrists. The jobs that require a large amount of human interaction. […]

I think with anyone one of these jobs, AI can contribute by becoming an analytical engine so that people can do what they do best which is paying attention to people.