Tembusu Conversations: Dr Lee Kai-Fu



7.00pm:   Registration

7.20pm:   Audience to be seated at Tembusu College’s Multi-Purpose Hall

7.30pm:  Start of Tembusu Conversations

9pm:    End of dialogue and group photo-taking session

Ms Ayushi Lahiry


Dr Lee Kai-Fu is the Chairman and CEO of Sinovation Ventures and President of Sinovation Venture’s Artificial Intelligence Institute. Sinovation Ventures, managing US$3 billion dual currency investment funds, is a leading venture capital firm focusing on developing the next generation of deep tech companies in China. Prior to founding Sinovation in 2009, Dr Lee was the President of Google China, and Senior Executive at Microsoft, SGI, and Apple.

In the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Dr Lee built one of the first game-playing programmes to defeat a world champion (1988, Othello), as well as the world’s first large-vocabulary, speaker-independent continuous speech recognition system. Dr Lee founded Microsoft Research China, later renamed Microsoft Research Asia, that was given the title of the hottest research lab by MIT Technology Review. While with Apple, Dr Lee led AI projects in speech and natural language, which were featured in Good Morning America on ABC Television, and the front page of the Wall Street Journal. He has authored 10 US patents, and more than 100 journal and conference papers. Dr Lee is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and was the Co-Chair of Artificial Intelligence Council for the World Economic Forum Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. He was listed in Times 100 in 2013, and WIRED 25 Icons, and has a following of over 50 million audience on social media.

Altogether, Dr Lee has been in AI research, development, and investment for more than 30 years. His New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling book AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order discusses US-China co-leadership in the age of AI, as well as the greater societal impacts brought upon by the AI technological revolution. His new co-authored book AI 2041: Ten Visions for Our Future, published in fall 2021, explores how AI will change our world over the next twenty years.

Dr Lee received his Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science from Columbia University, his PhD from Carnegie Mellon University, and was awarded honorary doctorate degrees from both Carnegie Mellon University and the City University of Hong Kong.

Smart Casual

Recording of the Conversations can be found at https://youtu.be/nqxtKjUZUAg

A write up on this Conversations can be found at NUS News and LinkedIn.


The Tembusu (Fagraea fragrans) is a large evergreen tree in the family Gentianaceae. It is native to Southeast Asia. Its trunk is dark brown, with deeply fissured bark, looking somewhat like a bittergourd. It grows in an irregular shape from 10 to 25m high. Its leaves are light green and oval in shape. Its yellowish flowers have a distinct fragrance and the fruits of the tree are bitter tasting red berries, which are eaten by birds and fruit bats.