AI Soup: The Recipe

Reflecting on the thoughts of Kai-Fu Lee, a man of many titles.

Andy Friedman 2018 Kai-Fu Lee
Kai-Fu Lee (Illustration by Andy Friedman, MIT Technology Review)

A pervasive project is being undertaken in covert AI soup kitchens. Secret ingredients are being smuggled into these kitchens to make some of the largest, and (for some) best tasting, super-sized artificial intelligence soups the world is about to know.

Please be careful when you enter. Do not slop ingredients on the floor. We do not want to waste them. More importantly, if people are injured, we may have to pay compensation to any of the few remaining specimens of working humans. We may not have this concern for long. The goal of AI is to eliminate humans from the world of work, and to replace them with robots. A universal, basic (that means minimal) income for the majority. Unparalleled, unimaginable wealth for a technological elite.


  1. AI stock is based on bushels of university students, trained to be AI professionals and researchers.
  2. Add litres of data accumulated from computers, mobile phones, vehicles and anything else that has an ability to sense, record and transmit data.
  3. Thicken copiously with financing: Government grants, investments and even crowd funding are available. The exact mix will depend on the particular political whims of the day.
  4. Season with a culturally diverse bowl of innovative techniques, many open-source and freely available.
  5. Fine tune the taste for local consumption with a mix of entrepreneurial herbs, thoughtfully selected for the environment where the AI soup is to be consumed.

The secret of any soup is long, slow cooking.

Transfer the mixture to culturally correct tureens.  Serve in 2020 in China, in 2023 in Europe or 2028 in North America. The rest of the world? Look what happened in developing countries when mobile phones eliminated the need for copper cables, and landlines in both slums and rural areas.

Are we prepared for a world where half of all our daily tasks can be performed better and at almost no cost by artificial intelligence and robots? Are we ready for a  revolution, the fastest transition humankind has ever experienced?

Will this technological revolution create new jobs simultaneously as it displaces old ones? Will AI combined with humans to produce symbiots? Is a universal basic income a necessary key to AI acceptance?

Further reading:

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