Viewpoint: AI has far-reaching consequences for emerging markets
By Lee Kai-fu
Most studies about the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on jobs and the economy have focused on developed countries such as the United States and Britain. Through my work as a scientist, technology executive and venture capitalist in the US and China, I have come to believe that the gravest threat AI poses is to emerging economies.
In recent decades, China and India have presented the world with two different models on how countries can climb the development ladder. In the China model, the nation leveraged its large population and low costs to build a base of blue-collar manufacturing. The country then steadily worked its way up the value chain by producing better and more technology-intensive goods.
In the India model, a country combines a large English-speaking population with low costs to become a hub for outsourcing of low-end, white-collar jobs in fields such as software testing and business process outsourcing. If successful, these relatively low-skilled jobs can be slowly upgraded to more advanced white-collar industries.
Photo courtesy of Andrew Magill.