Once upon a time, Japan was widely expected to eclipse the United States as the technological leader of the world. In 1988, the New York Times reporter David Sanger described a group of U.S. computer science experts, meeting to discuss Japan’s technological progress. When the group assessed the new generation of computers coming out of Japan, Sanger wrote, “any illusions that America had maintained its wide lead evaporated.”

Replace “computers” with “artificial intelligence,” and “Japan” with “China,” and the article could have been written today. In AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order, which unsurprisingly became

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  • CARL BENEDIKT FREY is Oxford Martin Citi Fellow and Future of Work Director at the Oxford Martin School at Oxford University and the author of The Technology Trap: Capital, Labor, and Power in the Age of Automation.
  • MICHAEL OSBORNE is Professor of Machine Learning at the University of Oxford, a Fellow at the Oxford Martin School, and Co-Founder of Mind Foundry.
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