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  • “To ascend to future dominance, Baidu needs to find a new way to grow—and fast. Fortunately, the world has provided Li with just such an opportunity: “the era of artificial intelligence,” he tells me. Li is betting Baidu’s future on the promise that he can own the future of artificial intelligence, in Asia and beyond.
  • Like America’s Big Five, Baidu has substantial computing brawn, a suite of AI-powered services called Baidu Brain, and a fast-improving voice assistant platform called DuerOS.
  • Baidu’s biggest advantage is one of place and time. Li is introducing his strategy within a culture that has few ethical hang-ups around AI development. In the West, where people are concerned about the biases with which we program our algorithms and the speed at which they’ll disrupt traditional career paths, new technology emerges more slowly. In China, it’s the reverse: There’s public pressure for companies to move as fast as possible. In July, the Chinese government issued a development plan that aims to make it the world leader in AI by 2030.”
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