Can AI (Artificial Intelligence) pose a threat to the human society? What kind of jobs can’t be displaced by AI? How can mankind coexist with AI? These were the topics brought up by Dr. Kai-Fu Lee, AI scientist as well as President and CEO of Sinovation Ventures, in a lecture for the University of Michigan – Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joint Institute (UM_SJTU JI) students on September 11. The lecture presentation themed “AI·Future” was also attended by SJTU Vice President Weiming Wang, Executive Dean of School of Entrepreneurship & Innovation Xu Zhao, Sinovation Ventures Market Operation Supervisor Xiaohong Ma and Public Relations Director Junchao Wang, JI Dean Peisen Huang, Party Secretary Xinwan Li, Associate Dean Chien-Pin Chen and Gang Zheng, Deputy Party Secretary Yanchun Yang, faculty and staff members. Professor Xudong Wang, head of UM-SJTU Joint Research Centre for Smart Connected Systems, officiated the event.
Dr. Kai-Fu Lee elaborated the characteristics and development trend of AI. Since 1990s, AI has witnessed four waves of development, including Internet AI, Business AI, Perception AI and Autonomous AI. In recent years, stepping-up efforts of product innovation, hard-working entrepreneurs, huge capital input, wide-spread application, unparalleled market size and government policy support triggered tremendous development of AI in China.
In his lecture, Dr. Kai-Fu Lee analyzed the impact of AI on the human beings. AI is not only future of economy, but also future of the mankind. It is an irreversible trend of human society. Therefore, it is highly meaningful to actively think about the coexistence with AI. Dr. Lee said AI is expected to free human workforce from repetitive and boring jobs. Although AI are bound to displace the human roles in many areas, complex and creative jobs will become exception. The biggest challenge for the mankind is the loss of the meaning of life instead of jobs. Compared with AI, human beings outstand in the definition of humanity. Possession of creativity and compassion, creation of caring jobs will be more meaningful for mankind of the future.
“The biggest challenge that humans are facing is not losing jobs, but losing the purpose to live. The development of AI is a huge challenge on humanity. Facing such a challenge, the mankind should make proper use of machines and take care of each other. We should have a clear understanding that the value of life cannot just be work, it should be love.. We should not worry about being freed from work to search for the true meaning of life,” said Dr. Lee.
During the interactive session, JI students raised questions regarding the market needs for AI talents, AI impact on education, and future motivator of AI career development. Dr. Kai-Fu Lee pointed out that there exists potential and opportunities for AI industry, we should continuously push technology reform and in-depth research. AI would also make traditional classes more effective and interesting. Meanwhile, AI can provide aid to teaching, making personalized teaching possible and helping teachers regain the original purpose of teaching students.
Dr. Kai-Fu Lee had a brief meeting with JI leaders before the lecture. He expressed his hope to have more bilateral communication and cooperation opportunities after listening to the introduction of JI and the joint center for smart connected systems.