When AI Rules the World: China, the U.S. and the Race to Control a Smart Planet
Bombardier Books (October 2022)
How innovation and support of AI in the U.S. “will maximize benefits for America and elsewhere”
Handel Jones immediately captures his reader’s attention: “Rapidly and systematically, China has broken new ground in technological achievements in industries ranging from defense to automotive vehicles to telecommunications to robotics to healthcare. With strong government leadership and government investments, China has placed itself in the once unimaginable position of potentially leading the United States in industry after industry. In particular, China is speeding ahead in artificial intelligence, the master technology that in the near future will make other technologies possible. If nothing else, I thought, an examination of AI in China and the United States would provide a glimpse, for better or worse, into the future. So went the thinking that led me to write this book.”(Page xiv)
Yes, this book serves as a situation analysis, a progress report if you will, but also as a head’s up as well as a reality check.
What needs to be done? “The answer is straightforward: make investments to ensure leadership in technology while letting entrepreneurs innovate. Funding is required to build structures that help companies operate efficiently within their respective areas of expertise, whether in automobiles, medical devices, or computer chips. Attempts by the United States g government to slow down Chica are short-sighted and simply will not work. Rather, support for innovation and implementation of AI at home will bring maximum dividends for America and the world.(Page xviii)
Jones explains with meticulous care WHAT must be accomplished in months and years to come. When concluding his book, he explains HOW to achieve various strategic objectives with a national I initiative with these components:
1. Have the government lead
2. Focus government attention on deficiencies in the American defense and the aerospace industries
3. Focus government attention and resources on key industries
4. Investsubstantially in on-going research and development
5. Fund and support key AI-related initiatives in the private sector
6. And focus business and capital markets on long-term investment and planning
For most executives in both the public and private sectors who have little (if any) understanding of the nature and extent of AI’s relevance to the global marketplace, this is a “must read” that I highly recommend without hesitation or equivocation.
And I urge those who share my high regard for this brilliant book to check out The Innovation Ultimatum: Six Strategic Technologies That Will Reshape Every Business in the 2020s (Wiley, February 2020). In it, Steve Brown focuses on the challenges C-level executives face today that are occurring faster and in greater number than ever before. “There is a massive and rapidly widening gulf between the capabilities of companies that invest in technology and those that don’t.
“It is a time of reckoning. Emerging technologies will empower brave innovators to make giant steps forward, while those without vision, courage, and agility will wither and perish. Winners will change the world.” Quite literally, here’s the imperative: “Innovate or die.”
Brown focuses on six technologies that intimately connect the digital and physical worlds. He devotes a separate chapter to each in Part 1: artificial intelligence (AI); sensors and the Internet of Things (IOT); autonomous machines — robots, cobots, drones, and self-driving vehicles; distributed leaders and blockchains; virtual, augmented, and mixed reality; and those that connect everything and everyone: 5G networks and satellite constellations.
I think Brown’s book as well as Handel Jones’s is a “must-read” for leaders in all organizations, whatever their size and nature may be.