Is China Ahead of the West in AI Technology?

Chinese officials have made a concerted effort to use AI to improve social governance. President Xi Jinping has made it a priority to modernize China’s legal system, which has long suffered from lack of transparency and local protectionism. To counter local political interference in the courts, the Chinese government has enacted a range of reforms. Judges are now empowered to report attempts by local politicians to influence court decisions, and case registration systems make it easier for courts to reject complex cases.

But while the U.S. leads in military AI, China has made significant headway in digital surveillance and cloud computing. This demonstrates the power of big data and digital surveillance to drive AI innovation. While the US may have the biggest domestic market for AI applications, China may hold on to its narrow advantage for the foreseeable future, while the US is likely to try to catch up. Regardless of the case, China is well on its way to becoming an AI technology leader.

While AI-related industries in China are growing rapidly, efforts to cushion the impact of AI-related disruptions are lacking. While AI may boost productivity and growth in many sectors, its use may lead to increased social inequalities and less support for government policies. AI-driven policies may help China overcome these problems, but they can’t guarantee it. And that’s where AIDP comes in. A key role in advancing AI technology can be played in advancing society.

AI-related technology has been a growing focus for the Chinese government for years. In March 2016, China published its 13th five-year plan. This document mentioned AI as a key area for stimulating the economy. Despite the recent Sputnik moment, China has been making a concerted effort to develop and use AI before the West caught up. In addition, the country has poured record amounts of money into AI-related start-ups in China. In 2017, Chinese venture capitalists invested more than $4.9 billion in AI-related companies.

The Chinese government has also made public statements that show their willingness to leapfrog the West in AI. President Xi Jinping declared that only the innovators will win in the AI race. Deputy of the 19th National Congress and Director of the Science and Technology Committee of the Central Military Commission, Liu Guozhi, said in an interview that AI is a new shortcut for innovation.

While China has released several AI reports, few have attempted to assess the plausibility of their AI development strategy. Most of these documents have focused on specific areas and the economic and social benefits and risks. To understand the impact of AI in China, policymakers must focus on three areas: security, economic growth, and cultural specificities. The Chinese government has made a major policy move that should be backed up by the US and EU.

While the US is hesitant to cooperate with the Pentagon in AI, China is doing so voluntarily. Chinese companies have a duty to work with the government in order to improve their technology. In the US, many businesses are wary of such collaborations. Indeed, Google recently ended a collaboration with the Pentagon on AI, after it was revealed that it helped the Department of Defense develop software to increase the accuracy of drone attacks.

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