CDRF and Sequoia China publish report on human capital investment in the AI era
Aug 22, 2018

BEIJING, Aug. 22, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The report Human Capital Investment in the AI Era: Future Challenges and Coping Strategies in the Chinese Job Market was jointly released today by the China Development Research Foundation (CDRF) and Sequoia China. The report is the first ever comprehensive policy research product released in China that focuses on the impact of AI on the Chinese job market.

Artificial Intelligence is a double-edged sword: without proper human capital investment, it can have negative impacts on our future society. "If we decide to go on the path towards a future with AI, we must emphasize human capital investment, and this must be done at an early stage," says Lu Mai, Vice Chairman and Secretary General of CDRF. "This is based on strong scientific evidence in the fields of neuroscience, psychology and sociology, and it has been recognized internationally. Currently, China's early childhood parenting and preschool education lags behind global standards, and China's vocational education also needs further improvement. All of these shortcomings will hinder China's labor market from transitioning to an AI-led future. Actions should be taken as soon as possible to address these potential challenges."

"AI will greatly free humans from repetitive jobs and cultivate creative minds," says Neil Shen, Founding and Managing Partner of Sequoia China. "This means work will shift from 'labor-centric' to 'innovation-driven'. More talents will devote their time to scientific discovery and technological innovation, and dedicate their effort to the enrichment of the world." Shen further stresses that artificial intelligence and human intelligence can reinforce each other and develop hand in hand. On the cusp of a great AI transformation, China should embrace this changeover and reap its benefits, while addressing the potential difficulties posed by AI. It is important to note that the entire society, particularly the system of academic education and vocational training, must be prepared to adapt to the changes and meet the challenges.

The report predicts that developments in AI will propel the knowledge economy further, creating enormous opportunities for productivity improvements while posing great challenges to the economy and society. The knowledge economy powered by AI will differ from a traditional economy structurally in terms of resources, costs, market, economy, employment, distribution and trade. As China's rapidly ageing society and declining birth rates will threaten its future economic and social development, the emergence of AI holds great potential in addressing labor supply issues in certain sectors, such as in the mid- and high-end service industry, and will play a crucial role in alleviating the effects of a dwindling labor force.

China must prepare itself and address the challenges arising from the labor market and social equity issues. Investing in human capital is and will always be a major pathway to job creation in the AI era. To this end, more efforts need to be put into building a wider understanding of AI; AI should be applied first in sectors needing the most economic and social investments, such as education, healthcare, law, and finance and other mid- to high-end service sectors; educational resources should be allocated to further human equity and equality, and foster a new generation in the workforce that can easily adapt to social changes. Lifelong learning and high-quality vocational training systems should also be established and the social security system should play a stronger role in providing a safety net and redistributing wealth.

Mr. Long Guoqiang, Vice President of the Development Research Center of the State Council (DRC), Ms. Zhang Yizhen, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, and Ms. Lu Xin, Deputy Director of the Office of the Central Xinjiang Work Coordination Group and Former Vice Minister of the Ministry of Education, delivered keynote speeches at the launch event. The event was also attended by Ms. Lv Wei, Member of the Standing Committee and the Financial and Economic Committee of the NPC, Mr. Tang Min, Councilor of the Councilor's Office of the State Council and Vice Chairman of Youcheng China Social Entrepreneur Foundation, along with representatives from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Science and Technology and DRC.

Founders and CEOs of Sequoia China's portfolio companies, including inferVISION, Dingxiang, 4Paradigm, Shannon.AI, MiningLamp, Bitmain, Synyi and CARS, representatives from Microsoft, the IBM Institute for Business Value, Ali Research Institute, Boston Consulting Group, and authors from TAL Group, LinkedIn, Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management, Renmin University School of Labor and Human Resources who contributed background reports for the research project also attended the launch event.

Source: China Development Research Foundation

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