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  • CNN
  • Oct 17, 2018

AI, China, and the Enterprise

C3 CEO Tom Siebel appears on CNN International's Quest Means Business show
Quest Means Business with Richard Quest

On today’s CNN International “Quest Means Business” show, host Richard Quest interviewed C3 CEO Thomas M. Siebel about the enterprise adoption of artificial intelligence (AI), how AI is changing the pace of business, and who is leading the global development of AI technologies.

Siebel discussed the impact of AI on the broader enterprise landscape, noting that AI today gives organizations the tools to solve new classes of computing problem by accurately calculating predictions, to optimize business processes—all at a lower cost. “We’re at the earliest adoption of what will be a huge information technology market,” Siebel said.

Enterprises that fail to adopt AI may be subject to the “massive extinction” the corporate world is undergoing. Siebel noted that 52 percent of Fortune 500 companies have disappeared in the last 18 years. “We have this new generation of companies coming out – like Amazon, Tesla, and Uber – with new DNA, and they’re all about using AI to solve business problems better,” he said.

It is critical that companies embrace AI to thrive in today’s global markets, including precision agriculture, travel, transportation, healthcare, and oil & gas. “And they’re doing it today,” he said.

Reflecting on the news that Baidu is the first Chinese firm to join the Silicon Valley-led “Partnership on AI” alliance to ease concerns about the development and use of AI, Siebel suggested that although it’s a good idea, the partnership should “trust but verify” Baidu’s intentions.

In light of increased U.S. university focus on AI, Quest asked Siebel whether the U.S. is leading in the global AI landscape. “I think that although the U.S. is leading at the moment, make no mistake, what’s going on with China is absolute open warfare as it relates to AI,” said Siebel. “They’re not asleep at the switch, they’re extraordinarily competent, they’re very well-funded, and they are to be worried about.”