By Alan Murray and David Meyer
June 1, 2018

Happy Friday.

Most of you probably didn’t read all 294 slides in tech guru Mary Meeker’s annual power point presentation, which was released this week. So let me relieve your FOMO. I read it, and can point to a few important highlights for CEOs:

Well into the deck (Slide 201), she notes that AI spending by large companies is small, but rapidly rising. In a Morgan Stanley survey of CIOs in January, only about 2% cited AI as the area that would “see the largest spending increases in 2018.” But by April, that had jumped to 5%.

In the next slide (202), Meeker quotes Google CEO Sundar Pichai comparing AI to the discovery of fire. “AI is one of the most important things humanity is working on,” Pichar says. “It is more profound than electricity or fire….We have learned to harness fire for the benefits of humanity, but we had to overcome its downsides too.”

Skip to slide 229, and Meeker says USA is ahead in AI, but “China = Focused + Organized + Gaining.” On the next slide, she quotes Eric Schmidt: “In five years, we’ll kind of be at the same level, possibly.”

The tsunami of change that AI will bring makes “lifelong learning = crucial in evolving work environment” according to slide 232, with “tools getting better + more accessible.” The most popular online course offered by Coursera last year, according to slide 233, was Machine Learning, and number two was Neural Networks.

My takeaways:

— AI will change every business.

— Companies are moving slowly to invest…but moving.

— The U.S. is in danger of losing its lead to China within a decade.

— Reskilling is the challenge of our times (or at least one of the big ones.)

— All of this is a heck of a lot more important to keeping America great than tariffs on steel and aluminum.

You can read the full report here. The reskilling point, by the way, will be an important focus of the CEOs who gather in San Francisco later this month for the Fortune CEO Initiative. Learn more here.

News below.

Alan Murray


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