Can China topple the US in the race for AI?


Connor James Ibbetson, Editor-at-large

The world is pushing for AI, whether you think it’s a good idea, or you think we are a few years away from starting a real life reenactment of the Terminator film franchise, it’s happening.

Will AI take over the world.... Maybe?

Will AI take over the world…. Maybe?

Obvious guesses as to the winner of the AI race may include Apple, or Google, or any one of a number of Silicon Valley companies. Many even Facebook or Twitter, all would be in excellent running.

However, on the other side of the world, China’s AI industry is booming at an unprecedented rate.

China’s main cloud providers Alibaba, Tencent, and Baidu, are drawing up their battle plans against their competitors in the west. With droves of youngsters in China being all too keen to enter the market, they are not short on talented new blood.

But is the world ready for AI?

In a word, no.

Many in the west are raising concerns over job losses due to increased automation across many industries. Indeed, the automotive industry is already pushing hard for legislation to pave the way for driverless vehicles – worrying many in the transit industry.

Research has already shown the number one killer of jobs in the US – is tech.

Some, such as the CEO of Deutsche Bank John Cryan are claiming the banking and financial industries are going to ‘ground zero’ for job losses to AI in the on-going ‘march towards a digital economy.’

A recent Quartz survey showed that Ninety percent of people think AI will take away the jobs of other people, but not theirs.

Do you think your career or position is at risk from automation and AI? Source : Quartz

The revolution is already coming, but where from?

Many would argue the west, led by the United States, is still in poll position.

But the Government in Beijing continues to give is giving its blessing to the crusade as well, with potentially billions of Yuan being poured into the industry. Last October, President Xi Jinping gave a speech encouraging ‘further integration of the internet, big data, and artificial intelligence with the real-world economy.’

The Chinese government is certainly known for not being just talk, whereas progress in the US tends to get bogged down in the political process.

Threats to the growth of AI in the United States come in all forms, but recently, the GOP tax plan, raising costs for graduates, following cuts to AI funding, threatens to topple the giant from its lofty, but unstable perch. And you can be sure China will not wait around to fill the void.

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