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AI won’t save us but cybernetics could

Popular Chinese economist Lu Qiyuan recently claimed the US has four years to prevent a major political, social and financial crisis. It must do at least one of three things: implement structural political reform; prevent the dollar from losing its role as the global reserve currency; or create a new wave of economic growth driven by artificial intelligence (AI).

If Lu Qiyuan is right, the US is facing a Herculean task. Structural reform of the US political system would meet strong opposition from America’s corporate and financial giants, the main beneficiaries and sponsors of the current political system. They are firmly in control of the national media and ensconced in the national bureaucracy.

Preserving the role of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency will also be an uphill battle, all the more so after the West banned Russia from the global financial system. The extrajudicial weaponization of the dollar system spooked the rest of the world and had the opposite of its intended effect. De-dollarization has become a global buzzword.

The third option, an exponential increase in productivity driven by AI also faces major hurdles. The world is in a generational transition from the Third to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The US launched the Third Industrial Revolution – the ICT and Internet revolution – but China is set to lead the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Industry 4.0 is the fusion of digital, biological, and physical technologies and the large-scale deployment of AI, robotics, nanotechnology, biotechnology, and the Internet of Things (IoT). As the factory of the world, China makes nearly all of the hardware that is needed for Industry 4.0 and has the required infrastructure.

Mystical aura, ambivalent