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Chinese Investment in AI Should Make the US Concerned

· China,Ai,Ai Investing,Machine Learning,Asia

For the past twenty five years, the Chinese government has been playing catch up with the United States in terms of leading the global economy in growth. The United States has always been considered the leading economic superpower, but the recent economic surge in Asia has allowed China to be involved in superpower discussions. Even though they have the globe’s largest Growth Domestic Product (GDP) based on Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) at $23 trillion, China’s nominal GDP does not compare to that of America (which makes up 25% of the world’s gross world product)… for now [1].

The fact that China has invested over $4.5 billion into over 200 Chinese Artificial Intelligence companies over the past five years shows that they are ready to take the world into the future all by themselves. The United States should be seriously concerned about the longevity of their economic dominance, since China recently released their plan that eventually would crown them as the Artificial Intelligence leaders of the world by 2030. Their goal is to develop a $1 trillion A.I. industry by pouring their own money into funds for innovation and working with tech giants to ensure that the best technology is being used.

The government is making it easier for A.I. companies to thrive by placing no restrictions on any deals made involving the development of A.I. companies. Earlier in the year, Alibaba and Chinese A.I. start-up SenseTime made a $600 million deal that would help make the company become a huge part of Chinese society and their economy. SenseTime is a company, valued at $4.5 billion, that develops facial recognition technology and algorithms that equip robots with machine learning to be used in the workforce. [2]

One may question how investing all that money into a sector unknown to most of the world will automatically turn China into the world’s leading economy. The answer is this: according to Kai-Fu Lee, a key figure in the Chinese technology industry, China has a huge data advantage over the United States as well as the rest of the world. He highlights the fact that the people of China give up their private information willingly to the government, unlike Americans, which allows the government of China to have more information to use for the development of A.I. Lee explains that “...this huge amount of data can be cranked through the AI engine for better predictions, better efficiency, higher profits, less labour, less cost and so on. The data advantage is a huge one.” [3]

China looks to set an A.I. technological precedent for the rest of the globe by setting rules for their companies to follow while they develop. This process, known as standardization, according to Investopedia, can be defined as framework of agreements to which all relevant parties in an industry or organization must adhere to...” [4]. China hopes to use these standards to influence the establishment and use of A.I. the way the United States did with the Internet. [5]

If the US wants to compete with China’s determination to take over the A.I. industry, they should focus on encouraging their tech giants to establish new technology and A.I of their own. However, the fact that companies like Google and Facebook are getting in trouble for their use of private data definitely makes one believe that the American development of A.I. will take longer, and face more push back, than that of China.

Written by Robert Malzberg, Edited by Rachel Weissman & Alexander Fleiss

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