China Hopes To Beat Google In The Race For Artificial Intelligence
China views artificial intelligence as governing mankind’s future, and the Chinese government declared a major impetus into the artificial intelligence field by stating to create a $150 billion domestic AI industry by 2030.
It set out an aggressive timeline in its recently announced national policy, “China’s efforts would equal various countries’ by 2020, it would obtain a major “breakthrough” by 2025, and would attain the global “innovation center” for AI by 2030, as reported by multiple outlets.
China is also not starting from scratch. It’s been spending money on AI for years, and a few AI startups are experiencing a welcome environment in places such as Hong Kong. News Channel CNN reported that Chinese tech players like Baidu and Tencent have already started AI research centers in the U.S. China also houses the world’s quickest supercomputers. However, a tacit admission is that China’s efforts this far haven’t come near to testing the broader AI efforts in different countries, namely those happening in the U.S.
Every key U.S. tech firm is investing hugely in AI and machine learning right now. If you see the biggest names like Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Amazon, they are the 5 most valuable companies in the world.
If the advancement of artificial intelligence is an arms race, then China intends to emerge as the world’s unrivalled AI superpower. Whereas the National Science Foundation in the US has not raised funding this year, china has vowed to “vigorously use governmental and social capital” to rule the industry. US as well as Chinese tech companies are pouring money and talent into AI, however, Beijing’s blueprint for investing in artificial intelligence by errecting a $150 bn industry by 2030, outlines its desire to defeat the U.S.
Though industrial policy does not guarantee success, contrary to goals, China has not been able so far to produce international champions in semiconductors or cars – some are writing off Beijing’s clout in AI, the efficiency of machines to copy human thinking and perform tasks ranging from targeting advertisements to playing. Kai-Fu Lee, a scion of Microsoft Research and Google, presently running his personal venture capital company Sinovation ventures in Beijing states counts China’s advantages: the sheer population, data, talent, and also the finer number of lines of code being written. At 730 million, China’s online users is nearly double the size of America’s and more tech-savvy. Mobile usage in China is far ahead of anywhere else. Therefore, they possess a big experimental lab for dynamic AI applications.
A different consumer behavior is witnessed in China daily while it’s a lot slower in the U.S. Secondly, there is an enormous supply of data, the lifeblood of AI applications from self-driving cars to ecommerce sites that provide customised lists of products people are more prone to purchase. Privacy laws are deficient and China starts gathering information on its citizens right from their birth while tech giants Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent are privy to their purchase, their place of travel and whom they chat to. In the matter of government data, the US doesn’t equal what China collects on its citizens in any way, according to James Lewis, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
China’s cheque book is also unrivalled in the US, where budgets are getting cut. The Chinese fund billions, while the U.S. spend millions. It is too difficult to win when you are outspent to this extent. “The way the government is putting money in is getting smarter and smarter,” says Ming Lei, a co-founder of Baidu and presently co-director at Peking University’s AI Innovation Center. “Before they just gave money to research projects or big SOEs or universities. But now they are more likely to give it to a private company, to one that is more active and can really produce the products and services.”
Thus, China seeks to dominate the global competition with regard to AI development.