With billions of dollars flowing into a focus on artificial intelligence, China poses both a military and commercial threat to the United States where artificial intelligence is concerned, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.
While the exact amounts invested remain hazy, experts dub this strategic focus by China and its leadership as the first credible threat to U.S. technological supremacy since the Soviet Union–and U.S. experts are moving in the wrong direction to compete. Building on that, Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Alphabet, recently told U.S. national security officials and AI researchers that dismissal of China’s AI strategic plan released in the summer is downright mad.
“You’re crazy to treat them as somehow second-class citizens,” Schmidt said.
The Chinese do not merely copy others’ ideas, as some dismissive experts have attested. Rather, they are in the midst of a grand innovation, hoping to lead the world’s AI technology by 2025. Their programmers are already routinely winning international machine learning competitions and their companies have developed better-than-human speech recognition performance before western competitors. They are coming at the issue from both military and civil angles simultaneously, and vigorously.
By comparison, the United States under the Trump Administration has cut 10 percent out of the National Science Foundation’s AI budget and made slashes to other basic research funding.