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The Two AI Books Chinese President Xi Jinping is Reading

China’s president Xi Jinping further signaled his interest in having China emerge as a dominant artificial intelligence power with the placement of two AI books on his bookshelf during his New Year’s Eve address to the nation.

The two books featured on the president’s bookshelf were The Master Algorithm by Pedro Domingos and Brett Kings Augmented:  Life in the Smart Lane.  I read each of these in the fall of 2016 and they are worthy introductions to the topic of augmented and autonomous AI.

Within a week of the address, China has also announced a $2 billion artificial intelligence office park just west ofBeijing.  The appearance of the books and the funding of the AI office park demonstrate the resolve China has with regards to obtaining the objectives laid out in their 2017 Artificial Intelligence Strategy (translation courtesy of New America).  The execution of this AI strategy also has many U.S. technologists questioning America’s ability to continue its technical domination in decades to come.  Google/Alphabet chairman Eric Schmidt issued one such warning last November.

What should be on Xi Jinping’s reading list for 2018?  I’d recommend Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence and What Algorithms Want:  Imagination in the Age of Computing.



Matt Devost

Matt Devost

Matthew G. Devost is the CEO & Co-Founder of OODA LLC. Matt is a technologist, entrepreneur, and international security expert specializing in counterterrorism, critical infrastructure protection, intelligence, risk management and cyber-security issues. Matt co-founded the cyber security consultancy FusionX from 2010-2017. Matt was President & CEO of the Terrorism Research Center/Total Intel from 1996-2009. For a full bio, please see