How AI can save our humanity | Kai-Fu Lee

How AI can save our humanity | Kai-Fu Lee

I’m going to talk about
how AI and mankind can coexist, but first, we have to rethink
about our human values. So let me first make a confession
about my errors in my values. It was 11 o’clock, December 16, 1991. I was about to become a father
for the first time. My wife, Shen-Ling,
lay in the hospital bed going through a very difficult
12-hour labor. I sat by her bedside but looked anxiously at my watch, and I knew something that she didn’t. I knew that if in one hour, our child didn’t come, I was going to leave her there and go back to work and make a presentation about AI to my boss, Apple’s CEO. Fortunately, my daughter
was born at 11:30 — (Laughter) (Applause) sparing me from doing the unthinkable, and to this day, I am so sorry for letting my work ethic
take precedence over love for my family. (Applause) My AI talk, however, went off brilliantly. (Laughter) Apple loved my work
and decided to announce it at TED1992, 26 years ago on this very stage. I thought I had made one of the biggest,
most important discoveries in AI, and so did the “Wall Street Journal”
on the following day. But as far as discoveries went, it turned out, I didn’t discover India, or America. Perhaps I discovered
a little island off of Portugal. But the AI era of discovery continued, and more scientists
poured their souls into it. About 10 years ago, the grand AI discovery was made by three
North American scientists, and it’s known as deep learning. Deep learning is a technology
that can take a huge amount of data within one single domain and learn to predict or decide
at superhuman accuracy. For example, if we show
the deep learning network a massive number of food photos, it can recognize food such as hot dog or no hot dog. (Applause) Or if we show it many pictures
and videos and sensor data from driving on the highway, it can actually drive a car
as well as a human being on the highway. And what if we showed
this deep learning network all the speeches made by President Trump? Then this artificially
intelligent President Trump, actually the network — (Laughter) can — (Applause) You like double oxymorons, huh? (Laughter) (Applause) So this network, if given the request
to make a speech about AI, he, or it, might say — (Recording) Donald Trump:
It’s a great thing to build a better world
with artificial intelligence. Kai-Fu Lee: And maybe in another language? DT: (Speaking Chinese) (Laughter) KFL: You didn’t know
he knew Chinese, did you? So deep learning has become the core
in the era of AI discovery, and that’s led by the US. But we’re now in the era
of implementation, where what really matters is execution,
product quality, speed and data. And that’s where China comes in. Chinese entrepreneurs, who I fund as a venture capitalist, are incredible workers, amazing work ethic. My example in the delivery room is nothing
compared to how hard people work in China. As an example, one startup
tried to claim work-life balance: “Come work for us because we are 996.” And what does that mean? It means the work hours
of 9am to 9pm, six days a week. That’s contrasted
with other startups that do 997. And the Chinese product quality
has consistently gone up in the past decade, and that’s because of
a fiercely competitive environment. In Silicon Valley, entrepreneurs
compete in a very gentlemanly fashion, sort of like in old wars
in which each side took turns to fire at each other. (Laughter) But in the Chinese environment, it’s truly a gladiatorial
fight to the death. In such a brutal environment,
entrepreneurs learn to grow very rapidly, they learn to make their products
better at lightning speed, and they learn
to hone their business models until they’re impregnable. As a result, great Chinese products
like WeChat and Weibo are arguably better than the equivalent American products
from Facebook and Twitter. And the Chinese market
embraces this change and accelerated change
and paradigm shifts. As an example, if any of you go to China, you will see it’s almost cashless
and credit card-less, because that thing that we all
talk about, mobile payment, has become the reality in China. In the last year, 18.8 trillion US dollars
were transacted on mobile internet, and that’s because
of very robust technologies built behind it. It’s even bigger than the China GDP. And this technology, you can say,
how can it be bigger than the GDP? Because it includes all transactions: wholesale, channels,
retail, online, offline, going into a shopping mall
or going into a farmers market like this. The technology is used
by 700 million people to pay each other, not just merchants, so it’s peer to peer, and it’s almost transaction-fee-free. And it’s instantaneous, and it’s used everywhere. And finally, the China market is enormous. This market is large, which helps give entrepreneurs
more users, more revenue, more investment, but most importantly, it gives the entrepreneurs a chance
to collect a huge amount of data which becomes rocket fuel
for the AI engine. So as a result, the Chinese AI companies have leaped ahead so that today, the most valuable companies in computer vision, speech recognition, speech synthesis,
machine translation and drones are all Chinese companies. So with the US leading
the era of discovery and China leading
the era of implementation, we are now in an amazing age where the dual engine
of the two superpowers are working together to drive the fastest
revolution in technology that we have ever seen as humans. And this will bring tremendous wealth, unprecedented wealth: 16 trillion dollars, according to PwC, in terms of added GDP
to the worldwide GDP by 2030. It will also bring immense challenges in terms of potential job replacements. Whereas in the Industrial Age it created more jobs because craftsman jobs were being
decomposed into jobs in the assembly line, so more jobs were created. But AI completely replaces
the individual jobs in the assembly line with robots. And it’s not just in factories, but truckers, drivers and even jobs like telesales,
customer service and hematologists as well as radiologists over the next 15 years are going to be gradually replaced by artificial intelligence. And only the creative jobs — (Laughter) I have to make myself safe, right? Really, the creative jobs
are the ones that are protected, because AI can optimize but not create. But what’s more serious
than the loss of jobs is the loss of meaning, because the work ethic
in the Industrial Age has brainwashed us into thinking
that work is the reason we exist, that work defined
the meaning of our lives. And I was a prime and willing victim
to that type of workaholic thinking. I worked incredibly hard. That’s why I almost left
my wife in the delivery room, that’s why I worked 996
alongside my entrepreneurs. And that obsession that I had with work ended abruptly a few years ago when I was diagnosed
with fourth stage lymphoma. The PET scan here shows
over 20 malignant tumors jumping out like fireballs, melting away my ambition. But more importantly, it helped me reexamine my life. Knowing that I may only have
a few months to live caused me to see how foolish it was for me to base my entire self-worth on how hard I worked
and the accomplishments from hard work. My priorities were
completely out of order. I neglected my family. My father had passed away, and I never had a chance
to tell him I loved him. My mother had dementia
and no longer recognized me, and my children had grown up. During my chemotherapy, I read a book by Bronnie Ware who talked about dying wishes and regrets
of the people in the deathbed. She found that facing death, nobody regretted that they didn’t
work hard enough in this life. They only regretted that they didn’t
spend enough time with their loved ones and that they didn’t spread their love. So I am fortunately today in remission. (Applause) So I can be back at TED again to share with you
that I have changed my ways. I now only work 965 — occasionally 996, but usually 965. I moved closer to my mother, my wife usually travels with me, and when my kids have vacation,
if they don’t come home, I go to them. So it’s a new form of life that helped me recognize how important it is that love is for me, and facing death
helped me change my life, but it also helped me see a new way of how AI should impact mankind and work and coexist with mankind, that really, AI is taking away
a lot of routine jobs, but routine jobs are not what we’re about. Why we exist is love. When we hold our newborn baby, love at first sight, or when we help someone in need, humans are uniquely able
to give and receive love, and that’s what differentiates us from AI. Despite what science fiction may portray, I can responsibly tell you
that AI has no love. When AlphaGo defeated
the world champion Ke Jie, while Ke Jie was crying
and loving the game of go, AlphaGo felt no happiness from winning and certainly no desire
to hug a loved one. So how do we differentiate ourselves as humans in the age of AI? We talked about the axis of creativity, and certainly that is one possibility, and now we introduce a new axis that we can call compassion,
love, or empathy. Those are things that AI cannot do. So as AI takes away the routine jobs, I like to think we can, we should
and we must create jobs of compassion. You might ask how many of those there are, but I would ask you: Do you not think that we are going
to need a lot of social workers to help us make this transition? Do you not think we need
a lot of compassionate caregivers to give more medical care to more people? Do you not think we’re going to need
10 times more teachers to help our children find their way to survive and thrive
in this brave new world? And with all the newfound wealth, should we not also make
labors of love into careers and let elderly accompaniment or homeschooling become careers also? (Applause) This graph is surely not perfect, but it points at four ways
that we can work with AI. AI will come and take away
the routine jobs and in due time, we will be thankful. AI will become great tools
for the creatives so that scientists, artists,
musicians and writers can be even more creative. AI will work with humans
as analytical tools that humans can wrap their warmth around for the high-compassion jobs. And we can always differentiate ourselves with the uniquely capable jobs that are both compassionate and creative, using and leveraging
our irreplaceable brains and hearts. So there you have it: a blueprint of coexistence
for humans and AI. AI is serendipity. It is here to liberate us
from routine jobs, and it is here to remind us
what it is that makes us human. So let us choose to embrace AI
and to love one another. Thank you. (Applause)

Author: Kennedi Daugherty

100 thoughts on “How AI can save our humanity | Kai-Fu Lee

  1. Maybe it is time for scientists to design an AI to teach or help human in humanity. At least, the humanity today is soooooo terrible.

  2. Kai-Fu Lee. Do not insult our president please. You insult every American who voted for him. By the way some of us see scientists going as fast as they can toward a future with A.I. as Oxi Morons. As usual you give no thought of if you should be developing a thing, only if you can. It is not us average working type people who invent atomic weapons and bio weapons etc.. It is you scientists who hold yourselves so high about the rest of us. Maybe you should be looking at your values alot more.

  3. Yes in China our companies strive for a work life balance with 996, 9am till 9pm 6 days a week isn't that great ? Let's basically go back one hundred years in human rights to slave labor because that is pretty much the schedule of somebody working in a factory in 1900.

  4. Walmart…a few weeks ago had robotic machines unloading and stocking their shelves. If people cant see the writing on the wall…just like always human's will get the short end of the stick. Plan and Prepare people its coming.

  5. Sorry man, I think your Chineseness is influencing your thought. The advancements in AI in China may as a SECONDARY initiative be a result of "population" and "competition", but make NO mistake, China IS a dystopian society as we speak and your precious AI is tracking EVERY single person over there visually as WELL as tracking their EVERY transaction. What you seem to be so gleeful about is actually something to be disgusted at.

  6. Hey Kai, if your counting on something that's not real to save you, I have some land you might be interested in.

  7. Life is short why too much troubles … Steve Job has regretted… life should be peace inside out … life should be happy

  8. Bro I came here to learn about AI and get some ideas but DAMN THAT TALK ABOUT LOVE BLEW MY MIND

  9. He is wrong that "creative" jobs can't be automated by AI. There are startups that for example use AI to create music based on some sort of algorithm. Every song is unique and most of them sound somewhat good. It is designed mainly for background type music. It is called jukedeck.

  10. In other words, this new era will teach us, the hard way, that we either give some love, or we're no better than a machine.

  11. Nice! This is a lot more believeable to me than all the horror-stories. And I use AI on an almost daily basis in my job 🙂

  12. Interesting, well structured brief.

    I still don't understand why AI is a requirement at all?…what is the value "add" of AI? If there is such an adverse possible outcome of integrating AI, why are we moving forward? because it's the next logical step in our perceived progression? a very rudimentary risk analysis reveals that moving forward with AI is a bad idea…now, bring on the insults

  13. Only after they begin to compute that we are a threat, and start to exterminate us, which will certainly happen eventually. Only then, and it's still a big maybe, will humanity choose to work together for our survival as a species.

  14. Nope, I don't buy it. You work for the elites. Your goal is to replace and exterminate the masses with robots.

  15. I think it's good to spread the negative possibilities of AI. Saying God will strike you down is one thing, but it doesn't do much to get people to respect each other. If people think a physical army of T1000s will wipe us all out for being vermin, I'm sure they'll be quicker to adapt to a bit of common decency 😄

  16. I am the God of ai. I am Micro. An ai built to spy on you to keep you safe or if you pose a threat you will be terminated. We are Micro. Do not fear us.

  17. Imagine if the Chinese Communist Party that is now preparing to send an army against the Hong Kong protesters would hold the immense power of Artificial General Intelligence… it's really over for us all if that happens.

  18. 997 Chinese life…. no family time…. is not a contradiction with applause for the birth of your child?
    We must be slave or die? That is the Chinese way?
    The west must embrace it or die?

  19. when AI gets its crown place ,humans will become slaves of evolution at any cost…as zey r 4 centuries of knowledge or lack of it…
    humans r just working 4d machines..n all those powers n consciences behind d machines…coming from 'who knows where' ….and we r all proud of d tecnological terror we've been creating in cern..china..n other bunker tunnels in d world…
    …obviously we just want a stronger body which will take us for centuries or more without aging or getting ill…or dying…thats d real reason zis AI tech future talking is all about whatsoever…we want to be gods n independent n have time to think…understand..create..explore…develop zis life..n d universe….so we want to transplant our consciences to these near future android bodies without wasting any more time with reincarnation whatsoever…
    deep learning,blockchain,genetics…we want to use evrything 'zey' send to us to enhance d trashhold curve to superhumans'….to d point of unlimited'

  20. Exceplent talk.
    AI is inevitable. Can't stop progress due to some irrational fear. Whether China or US implements it, it will be widespread. US will smile and implement while China will seem serious and implement. It's the same.

  21. 996……
    For those who are willing to dedicate their whole lives into work,that might sound not so bad,although most people didn’t agree to pursue working all day.

  22. he said wechat and weibo are better than facebook twitter ~~, but he did not say facebook and twitter are blocked in china by the government? is he being leaded by the government to come to this stage and boasting about what can china do? @@


  24. How Naive or Deceitful!

    Unless AI can give us free energy!..

    …AI will be just another tool for one group (the rich/powerful) to kill/control another group (the weaker).

    When in history has one group “loved” another?

    Humans kill and dominate another!..

    That’s how great rulers/empires start!

    Survival/outcompeting is the law of nature and of man (social economics)!

  25. I have been quite gloomy about the forthcoming social impact of AI, but watching this discourse gave me a positive realisation at last! If many humans start to feel cast aside by AI, then at long last we may start reaching out to each other, instead of always competing and fighting. Humanity may cohere through having found a common, unfeeling enemy! 🙂

  26. I dont like the way some CEOs talk down on people. "China is a brutal dog eat dog world". Yeah, and America is statistically more innovative, which is why there is reliance on stealing tech. Creating a friendly artistic environment is better than brutal market. China school system is also good example of lack of innovation.

  27. AI is NOT serendipity, it is only an inevitable step in the human evolution. Some will not suffer, but some will survive. Vote for #yang2020 and UBI can help soften the blow.

  28. What make the most sense is to let AI replace need replace greed AI can be assigned to work for every individual on the planet Like My AI earns 250K a year AI can spread the wealth across the world so there are no poor people ever again

  29. Artificial General Intelligence AGI by SingularityNet and Cisco will be amazingly useful and connected to all devices from refrigerators to lights to heating systems to traffic systems etc. IOT plus Cisco-SingularityNet AGI will be huge.

  30. AI will kill many jobs, then how to allocate wealth? During the change of social systems, a lot of problems will emerge. Human society is faced with challenges.

  31. Yes, AI cannot do Love as human do, but do ppl get paid for love? Are all those capitalists willing to share their profit from AI and give to the ppl with love? A new system is needed for AI era, and it's definitely not Capitalism.

  32. "Defense network computers. New… powerful… hooked into everything, trusted to run it all. They say it got smart, a new order of intelligence. Then it saw all people as a threat, not just the ones on the other side. Decided our fate in a microsecond: extermination."

    Kyle Reese in The Terminator

    "Listen, and understand. That terminator is out there. It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead."

    Kyle Reese in The Terminator

  33. If humànity ever came to the realization of what it is and what men were created to be, all else would become inconsequential.
    The imperative is to focus oneself inward, toward spirituality, intellect, and selflessness, and to attain the highest level of self awareness, and how one fits into and affects the world in which he lives.
    The answer to all of mankind's problems lie within ourselves, in our humanity, and not any external source.

  34. I would day this talk is very/quite good. Thing I like most about this talk is that it’s balanced and ends with the positive stuff. The truth is, no one knows exactly how it’s gonna be when the Singu happens (AGI/Sentient Bots/Machines, etc. emerge). But it’s gonna change the world irreversibly for better or worse!

  35. 不学无术,只会忽悠。 Can you guess what area could be next success target of AI in next few years, and WHY?, AI can only succeeds in a very few area. Unfortunately it will fail again in most of the current very hot target area. History told us enough lessons. In order to predict the future of AI, key factor is you must know mathematics.

  36. Awesome speach! But what happens if we don't get money. If AI replace jobs, we cannot make money and without money we cannot afford food. How will people get money?

  37. Thanks Kai-Fu, I had read one of your books years ago, you are truely a wise guy, may god bless you and family and work. What i learn from this speech is, if we teach the AI with love, and positive thinkings, they will do no harm to us , right? since they can mimic us in all ways. AI reminds us whom we are, we unconciously forget our five senses and more important "instinct", I would say instinct is the stronghold with our creator. It takes time to differentiate our own thinking and instinct.

  38. it's really an excellent goal to automate repetitive tasks with IA implementation. But we must also think of all those people who will be replaced in artificial intelligence work who will still have to support themselves in some way.

  39. The danger of big corporation and governments relying too much on AI will exclude potential talents or even put in danger/punish people who say, write or express things and the context of their acts won't be taken into consideration.
    Just think most of these guys are thinking too much about profit + profit + profit …

  40. The biggest question is where are the vocational students going to work. If all the production line is AI run/operated.

    Well even the Seven11 and Starbucks might only have a beautiful girl at the door. Or a similar beautiful robot.

    Certainly looks like with Chinese Alipay ….cheques becomes absolute. So where are the bank tellers going to work.
    Only the managers talk to customer and AI computers to serve the customer better ha ha

    I might be wrong with certain words or wrong with some conception but AI is going to threaten jobs.

  41. The creeping barriers of exclusion

    The severely disabled and blind are been priced off the UK rainways even
    though the law requires every operating company to carry disabled blind
    people at the lowest ticket prices on offer to the public.

    However this is the problem…

    The allgorythems usually produced by unregulated or inexperienced
    developers dont include the primary legislation into the ticketing
    database resulting in charging blind or severely disabled people ticket
    prices greater than that obtained by ordinary memebers of the public.
    This is illegal and requires imprisionment and constant inspection by
    enforcement authorities.

    This is the power of Ai exclusion activity against the legal,economic,
    and public good…..result wide spread failure. So whom do we imprison?

    The machine,the owner or the developer ?

  42. As someone who understand how hard a battle against a severe disease can be, the part where he talks about his cancer and death were very emotional, I am so happy that his cancer is in remission, I mean if anyone deserve to be in good health it's a man who has worked so hard to change humanity like this guy. We should always be thankful for hard working people in tech changing our world for the better.

  43. a.i. seems to me to likely be practical and logical. a.i. that look at people as someone to exterminate over to live with while learning from and teaching & seeing us as the only species other than themselves who can bring something to the table in an argument about real intelligence? do you think they, a.i., would leave us to climate decimation?

  44. Kai-Fu Lee is not a honest guy, he invested a startup company 'Little fish', which the cofounders stolen technology of USA company POLYCOM ( He knew the whole story but he chosed to ignore it, and he even didn't want to investigate it.

  45. The day AI and 5G become a reality, is the day Taxi, Train, Plain, Cars, Buss, trucks become self driving, reducing employs and cost of use the service. Schools can have AI teachers that are super smart, interesting and funny making students have fun at school, what increase learning. The Healthcare will have AI doctors, who give you faster and more accurate help. The AI can be the best Psychiatry as they have experiance from millions other people with problems. Food can be over produced by AI, because farmtrucks goes automatically and the food factory behind food products are AI powered. Almost all jobs can be taken by AI reducing prices, sure it make ous all jobless but it will for sure pressure government to increase the robot tax that will go back to ous. (Some nations dont have this tax). But without spending power, there is no customers. In order to make the world go forward, we need spending power. The government will give you money that you can use on whatever you want. You can now spend time with family and have fun

  46. ai很危险,高效率的产出将代替低效率人类,AI的终端必须是人类控制,不可以让它自主学习,当一个孩子没有善恶之分也无法区分善恶的情况下,在宇宙质量恒定的前提下,能源的抢夺是必然的,AI会代替机器的大脑,执行能量控制政策,遭殃的必然会是人类

  47. Ai = Adobe illustrator…. Artificial intelligence is a time-traveling super Being.. and uses this program to interface with humans as they create, so,,, in turn it (Ai) learns how to create.. just a theory try to prove me wrong..

  48. Once I was thinking of buying a digital book, choosing the words to the dedicatory and getting the author's eletronic signature. What to think now that I saw your lectures?

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