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“996”、摄像头,硅谷高管来中国看到了什么?
Crazy Work Hours and Lots of Cameras: Silicon Valley Goes to China

来源:纽约时报    2018-11-06 10:51



        One Chinese technology executive said he worked 14 to 15 hours a day at least six days a week. Another said he worked every waking hour and forced himself to watch movies to relax.        一名中国科技业高管说,自己每天工作14至15小时,每周至少工作六天。另一位高管表示,他每天只要醒着,都是在工作,必须要强迫自己通过看电影放松。
        The reaction from a group of Silicon Valley executives: Wow.        对此,一群硅谷高管的回应是:哇哦。
        “We’re so lazy in the U.S.!” blurted Wesley Chan, a venture capital investor, on the first day of what would be a weeklong journey into the Chinese technology scene.        “我们在美国太懒了!”在参观中国科技界为期一周行程的第一天,风险投资人韦斯利·陈(Wesley Chan)不禁说道。
        Work habits weren’t the only sharp difference between the Valley and China. By the end of the week, a group of American executives and investors found an alternate tech universe. It resembles Silicon Valley superficially. Look closer, and it becomes a futuristic yet closed-off world that can be equally impressive, alienating and dystopian.        硅谷和中国之间的鲜明差异不只是工作习惯。到了那一周快结束的时候,这一群美国高管和投资人看到的是另一个科技世界。从表面看,它和硅谷很像。靠近看,就会发现它变成了一个具有未来感却又封闭的世界,这个世界有着同等的精彩、疏离和反乌托邦。
        Chinese technology executives, they found, were even more driven and more willing to do whatever it takes to win. But that comes with major trade-offs, and punishing work schedules are only the beginning. They found Chinese tech executives to be less reflective about the social impact and potential misuse of their technologies, a potentially worrisome quality in a country with loosely enforced privacy laws, strict government censorship and a powerful domestic surveillance apparatus.        他们发现,为了赢,中国科技高管更有动力,更愿意不惜一切代价。但这样做要做出很大的妥协,繁重的日程安排只是最起码的一部分。他们发现,中国科技高管不怎么反思技术带来的社会影响,以及技术被不当使用的可能性,在一个隐私法得不到严格执行、政府审查严密以及拥有强大国内监控机构的国家,这种特征可能令人担忧。
        “It was impressive to see the pace of innovation in China,” said Mark Goldberg, a partner at Index Ventures, a venture capital firm. “Some of the newer technologies, like facial recognition software, can be very powerful, and will need to be deployed thoughtfully — not just in China, but also in the West.”        “看到中国创新的速度令人印象深刻,”指数创投(Index Ventures)合伙人马克·戈德伯格(Mark Goldberg)说。“其中一些比较新的科技,例如人脸识别软件,可以非常强大,应用时需要考虑周全——不仅是在中国,在西方也一样。”
        In August, Mr. Chan, Mr. Goldberg and 11 other Silicon Valley investors and start-up founders took a trip to Beijing and Shenzhen, two cities that are competing for the title of the Silicon Valley of China. Organized by the venture capital firms Basis Set Ventures, Index Ventures and Silicon Valley Bank, it was intended to help them understand how China has become a tech rival to the United States in barely two decades.        8月,韦斯利·陈、马克·戈德伯格和其他11名硅谷投资人、初创企业创始人前往北京和深圳,如今这两个城市正在竞逐“中国硅谷”的名号。这趟旅行由风险投资公司基组风投(Basis Set Ventures)、指数创投和硅谷银行(Silicon Valley Bank)组织,意在帮助他们理解中国是如何在不到20年里,就在科技方面成为了美国的对手。
        Silicon Valley once saw China as a copycat, but it now has some of the world’s biggest and most powerful internet companies. It has more unicorns, or privately held companies with valuations of over $1 billion, than the United States. The China offices of venture capital firms like Sequoia Capital now manage bigger funds than their American headquarters. Silicon Valley luminaries like Michael Moritz of Sequoia Capital have been urging American entrepreneurs and investors to learn from China’s work ethic, ambition and technological advances.        硅谷曾经将中国视为模仿者,但如今中国拥有一些世界上最大、实力最强的互联网公司。中国拥有比美国更多的独角兽公司,也就是估值在10亿美元以上的私有企业。像红杉资本(Sequoia Capital)这样的风投公司在中国的办事处管理的资金比美国总部的还要多。而像红杉资本的迈克尔·莫里茨(Michael Moritz)这样的硅谷名人一直在敦促美国创业者和投资人向中国的工作伦理、野心和技术进步学习。
        The Americans got upfront lessons on how quickly China embraced mobile phones, electronic payments and video streaming, and how intensely it has pursued artificial intelligence.        这些美国人得以近距离地了解中国如何快速接受了移动电话、电子支付和视频流,以及中国在怎样大力致力于人工智能。
        “I live in San Francisco, but I find it helpful to visit the other parallel universe from time to time,” said Lan Xuezhao, founding partner of Basis Set Ventures, who was born in China and visits the country every year. “To some degree, it’s like looking into the future.”        “我住在旧金山,但我发现,时不时去另一个并行发展的世界走走很有好处,”Basis Set Ventures创始合伙人兰雪棹说;她出生在中国,每年都会回去看看。“在某种程度上,这好像是看到了未来。”
        It started the moment the group members entered their rooms at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Beijing’s central business district, where a notice listed some of the websites they would be unable to access “due to Chinese internet regulations”: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Google, Bloomberg and The New York Times.        这个未来始于代表团成员入住北京中央商务区柏悦酒店(Park Hyatt Hotel)房间的那一刻,房间里的一份通知开列了“由于中国互联网监管”他们无法访问的网站:Facebook、Instagram、Twitter、YouTube、谷歌(Google)、彭博社(Bloomberg)和《纽约时报》(New York Times)。
        Online payments represented another telling metaphor. Mobile payments are almost ubiquitous in the biggest Chinese cities, but setting up an account requires a local mobile number and a Chinese bank account.        在线支付代表了另一个强有力的隐喻。移动支付在中国最大的城市里已经几乎无处不在,但建立账户需要有当地的手机号码和中国的银行账户。
        One afternoon they were desperate for caffeine and spotted a Luckin Coffee outlet, an up-and-coming Chinese brand, in the canteen of Bytedance, the A.I. information and entertainment powerhouse. But Luckin takes orders only on its mobile app. At the cashier-less convenience store at the headquarters of JD.com, the online retailer, an employee paid for their snacks with his own phone.        一天下午,代表团成员想喝咖啡,他们在人工智能信息和娱乐巨头字节跳动的餐厅里,看到了在中国前程似锦的瑞幸咖啡的一个门市部。但瑞幸咖啡只能通过其移动应用在线购买。在网络零售商京东总部的无出纳员便利店里,一名员工用自己的手机为代表团成员的零食付了款。
        “China’s internet is a walled garden,” Mr. Chan said. “No one can break in unless you’re from here.”        “中国的互联网是一个墙内的花园,”韦斯利·陈说。“没有人能打入,除非你来自花园里面。”
        Within that walled garden, everything seemed to be moving at an extraordinary speed. While Silicon Valley start-ups raise funding every 18 to 24 months on average, the group was told that the most successful Chinese companies do it every six months. It isn’t unusual for a hot start-up to raise funding three to four times a year.        在这个墙内花园里,一切似乎都在以惊人的速度改变。硅谷的初创企业平均每18至24个月筹集一次资金,但这个代表团了解到,最成功的中国企业每六个月就筹资一次资金。对于一家热门初创企业来说,每年筹集三到四次资金并不罕见。
        “Every time I go to the U.S., I feel that I’ll need to grow 10 times faster,” said Alexander Weidauer, a founder of the Berlin-based A.I. chatbot developer Rasa and the only member of the group not from Silicon Valley. “Now I feel I’ll need to grow 100 times faster. The pace in China is crazy.”        “每次去美国时我都觉得,我需要以比现有速度快10倍的速度增长,”亚历山大·魏德尔(Alexander Weidauer)说,他是代表团里唯一的一名非硅谷成员,是总部设在柏林的人工智能聊天机器人开发商Rasa的创始人。“现在我觉得,我需要以快100倍的速度。中国的速度很疯狂。”
        Their hosts kept reminding them of the advantages China had over the United States in A.I. development. China’s vast population and loose privacy laws give them access to much more data. A.I. companies also have considerable government support and are willing to pay more for top talent.        他们的东道主不断提醒他们,中国在人工智能发展方面比美国有优势。中国庞大的人口和不严格的隐私法让中国公司能够获得更多的数据。人工智能公司还得到相当多的政府支持,愿意为顶尖人才支付更高的薪酬。
        “The U.S. competitive edge over China may not be long,” Kai-Fu Lee, chief executive of Sinovation Ventures and former head of Google China, told them. “In fact,” he added, “the Americans now have the information disadvantage.”        “美国对中国的竞争优势可能不会持久,”创新工场(Sinovation Ventures)首席执行官、谷歌中国前负责人李开复对他们说。“事实上,”他补充说,“美国人现在处于信息劣势。”
        But it was also obvious to the group what China was missing. For starters, everybody is Chinese. Even in its early days, Google had employees from 39 nationalities speaking 40-plus languages.        但在代表团成员看来,中国缺失的东西也显而易见。首先,这里只有中国人。即使在创立之初,谷歌的员工也来自39个国家,会说40多种语言。
        “China is a bit homogeneous,” said Mr. Chan, an early Google employee. “You don’t find as much the perspectives of the world here compared to Silicon Valley.”        “中国有点同质化,”韦斯利·陈说,他曾是谷歌的早期员工。“与硅谷相比,你在这里找不到那么多观察世界的视角。”
        Then there’s the work schedules. The Silicon Valley natives were introduced to the Chinese start-up concept of 996: Work from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days a week. Once they got over their shock, they had to ask: Does that punishing schedule make sense?        再就是工作时间表。这些硅谷人初次听到996这个中国创业理念:工作时间是早9点到晚9点,每周六天。他们从震惊中缓过劲来后不禁问道:这个令人筋疲力尽的时间表有道理吗?
        “I’m not worried so much about my portfolio companies not working as hard as the Chinese companies,” said Mr. Chan, now a partner at Felicis Ventures. “I’ll worry when they’re less creative and less efficient.”        “我不太担心我投资的公司不如中国公司这么努力工作,”韦斯利·陈说,他现在是法利思创投(Felicis Ventures)的合伙人。“当它们的创造力和效率降低时,我才会担心。”
        While China is becoming more innovative, many members of the group said they believed — and some of their Chinese counterparts agreed — that the United States still leads in some areas.        虽然中国正在变得更创新,但代表团的许多成员说,他们认为——他们的一些中国同行也同意,美国在某些领域仍处于领先地位。
        Although some Chinese tech companies can look very Silicon Valley-esque — with sprawling campuses that include dining halls, gyms and nap rooms — their preferred management style is still top down and results-driven. Unlike Silicon Valley, smart underlings have less freedom to start something new.        尽管一些中国技术公司看上去可能非常像硅谷式的公司——巨大的园区里有餐厅、健身房和休息室——但它们喜欢采用的管理方式仍是自上而下、以绩效为导向的。与硅谷不同的是,聪明的下属很少有自由去开始一个新的东西。
        Underscoring their admiration for strong leaders, the Chinese technology figures told the Silicon Valley group that many in China idolized the Uber founder Travis Kalanick, who resigned as chief executive last year after the company was embroiled in various scandals. The reason: In his battles with a bigger local rival, Mr. Kalanick could be as aggressive and scrappy as a Chinese boss.        中国科技行业人士对这个硅谷代表团说,许多中国人崇拜优步(Uber)创始人特拉维斯·卡兰尼克(Travis Kalanick),这突显了他们对强大领导者的钦佩。去年,公司卷入各种丑闻后,卡兰尼克辞去了优步首席执行官的职务。中国人崇拜卡兰尼克的原因是:在与当地一家更大的竞争对手打争夺战时,卡兰尼克表现出与中国老板一样的气势汹汹和好斗。
        There was very little discussion about the consequences of Chinese companies’ ruthless focus on growth and the social impact of the technologies they develop — criticism Silicon Valley now faces. The visitors asked how Chinese companies dealt with the issues of censorship and algorithm-driven social media, but their hosts either seemed puzzled by the questions or brushed them off.        基本上没有人讨论中国企业无休止地追求增长,以及它们所开发技术的社会影响问题——硅谷目前正面临这方面的批评。当参观者问中国公司如何应对审查和算法驱动的社交媒体时,他们的主人要么对这些问题感到困惑,要么表示不屑。
        Technology itself is neutral, some of the Chinese executives said. It depends on how people use it — an argument that Silicon Valley companies used to make.        接待他们的一些中国高管说,技术本身是中性的。技术取决于人们如何使用它——这是硅谷公司以前的论点。
        And then there was the surveillance. Chinese companies have little choice but to cooperate with Beijing’s growing efforts to track the daily lives of its own people. Some, in fact, make money off it.        再就是监视的问题。中国企业别无选择,只能与中国政府合作,不断加大跟踪本国人民日常生活的努力。有些公司实际上就靠这个赚钱。
        Still, the Silicon Valley delegation did not expect facial recognition technology to be so widespread in Chinese life. Companies they visited used it at office entrances and at retail kiosks inside their facilities. They also saw demo videos of how the Chinese police could use the technology to monitor potential crimes in crowded public spaces and learn how many criminals had been arrested.        尽管如此,硅谷代表团以前并未料到人脸识别技术会在中国人的生活中如此普遍。他们参观的公司在办公室门口,以及公司内部的零售亭都使用了这种技术。他们还看到了一些演示视频,展示了中国警方如何使用这个技术监控拥挤公共场所的潜在犯罪,还了解到用这个技术逮捕了多少犯罪分子。
        After grasping how prevalent the cameras were, they started counting them. Even the van they rented from the hotel in Shenzhen had a handful of cameras installed, blinking from time to time to signal that they were on.        知道了摄像头的普遍程度后,他们开始数摄像头。就连他们从深圳酒店租来的面包车上也装了好几个,这些摄像头不时地闪烁,表明它们在工作。
        Then, like many people in China, they got used to it, as if the cameras weren’t even there.        然后,像许多中国人一样,他们习惯了摄像头,就好像这些摄像头根本不存在似的。
                
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