China Beats US In AI Technology Race

China puts US in a disadvantage over AI racePhoto By: Fredrik Rubensson/Flickr

When it comes to Artificial Intelligence, the United States dominates the world. With the US academic system which generates numerous researches that made today’s AI possible, other developed countries try several approaches to ace the former. China’s government, however, pledged billions in funding the said technology as a way to show its full-throated support.

In the 2018 China Artificial Intelligence Development report of the top ten countries with the most AI companies, China ranked second in the global market. It has about 1,011 AI companies in the mainland with 20.53 percent of the world’s total, following the United States with 2,028. The United Kingdom, Canada, and India grabbed the third to fifth spots on the list.

However, with much of the country’s money spent entirely to invest on both private and public AI ventures, China overtakes the United States in Artificial Intelligence with an upsurge in academic research as reported on Wednesday.

The analysis by the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence showed China has already defeated the US in published papers about AI. The researchers added that China is likely to ace the US as the most cited source or accounts for 50 percent of documents released this year, and 10 percent of papers next year. In hindsight, China will be on top of the AI research by 2025.

This analysis proves that China’s goal to top the world’s AI forces is indeed becoming a reality. But, how does China do it? The answer? The competitive government that China has over the years.

On a recent report from Quartz, it indicated that China is investing at least 7 billion dollars through 2030 including 2 billion for a research park in Beijing. The Chinese government aims to give out 150 billion dollars for the AI industry to materialize. According to CB Insights, the comprehensive national plan provide Chinese startups 48 percent of the total funding for AI investments. Eventually, this significant allocation will enable China to lead the world on AI technology.

On the other side, the US has no central AI policy, but individual projects are funded by both military and paramilitary departments like DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) and IARPA (Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity), the United States Department of Defense responsible for the development of emerging technologies for use by the military. While little interest is shown on a national level, the AI industry and research are led by major academia and private industry in the United States.

After the said findings had been revealed globally, concerns emerge from Washington and Silicon Valley that China surpassed the US in key areas of modern technology such as autonomous vehicles, virtual reality, and fifth-generation wireless networks (5G). Allen Institute researchers Field Cady and Oren Etzioni said that the surge in AI investment in China began years ago even before the 2017 announcement by Beijing that it planned to become the world leader on the said field by 2030. Aside from papers being submitted and produced, the latter is acing every developed country in the production of impacting AI document.

With this, the US is taking precautionary measures to maintain its rank. Last month, President Donald Trump signed an American AI Initiative executive order which urges the administration to “devote the full resources of the federal government to help fuel AI innovation.” Although this bill fell short of a comprehensive and in-depth strategy, US researchers have recently commanded on Washington’s bases to develop a national AI strategy to encourage more work in the private and public sectors of the AI industry.  

Since the invention of AI technology, the US showered all its efforts and resources to develop the industry further. But, what happened to the most powerful country who once led the AI world? One of the primary reason why it would be challenging for the US to keep up with China in the AI race is the West strict policies and measures toward immigration. Analysts added that the US actions of placing barriers to recruiting and retaining international students and scholars are likely to increase the trends towards Chinese domination in AI researches.

That gives China an advantage over the Big West. It also gives the three of China’s most prominent companies: Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent, or also known as “BAT,” enough opening to plan another breakthrough and capitalize mostly on highly organized AI plan.

Under President Xi Jinping, China has made tremendous strides in many fields especially in AI business. And, the government has collaborated on a move to make the country the world’s primary. Today, China is a threat not only to the US but also to other countries as it aims to become an AI innovation center through 2030, making serious progress toward that goal.

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