The western world may have lead the way in computer software and semiconductors, but when it comes to artificial intelligence, China is shining.
That’s according to a sweeping report in The New York Times looking at China’s role in what some think will be the most important technology in the future. The New York Times reported experts think China is only one step behind the U.S. in that field. What’s more, the country has ambitions for the use of AI to predict crimes, lend money, track people in the country, help with traffic snarls and censor the internet, among other things.
The paper reported China is throwing vast sums of money at its artificial intelligence push and has already spent billions of dollars on research focused on that area. Additionally, China is gearing up to launch a multibillion-dollar initiative to bankroll startups and academic research focused on growing artificial intelligence in China.
But it’s not only the government that is pushing ahead in AI. China’s private companies are also getting involved with the technology. Baidu, the internet search provider in China, is pioneering AI in speech recognition. In 2017, Baidu opened a company/government lab that’s run in part by educators who worked on research for China’s military robots.
At the same time that China is funding more AI development, the U.S. government led by President Trump is pulling back. Trump’s budget proposal would cut funding for a handful of government agencies that in the past have backed AI projects.
“It’s a race in the new generation of computing,” said James Lewis, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in the New York Times report. “The difference is that China seems to think it’s a race, and America doesn’t.”