How China Is Chasing The AI Dream 

China-is-chasing-the-AI-dream-topArtificial intelligence is advancing quickly into many types of practical, everyday uses in China, such as mobile communications, driving, shopping, information searching and deliveries. It’s moving faster in China than in the West in part because there are fewer legacy systems from outdated technology practices to jump over.

This trend is part of China’s journey over the past 10 years from first copying technologies from the West, to then improving upon the underlying business models—and sometimes innovating, too. Today, it’s becoming common for ideas from commerce, communications, finance and transportation to be copied from China to the West. AI is one field where this progress is most noticeable, since it crosses so many types of uses for both business and consumer markets.

It helps that the Chinese government has put its stamp on making China an AI technology contender, and in super-speed, by 2020. By 2030, China will be a world-leading innovation center for AI, if Chinese government predictions and declarations hold true. China is vying for leadership in a marketplace where there are already 2,000 AI companies that have sprung up across 70 countries, with a total of $22 billion in funding—$6 billion of that alone in the first seven months of 2017, according to VentureScanner research.

US-China AI duopoly has arrived

Venture capitalist Kai-Fu Lee, founder and CEO of Beijing-based technology investment firm Sinovation Ventures and a former top executive at Microsoft and Google, is a strong believer that China will be a leader in the future of AI—alongside the United States.

“In the age of AI, a U.S.-China duopoly is not just inevitable, it has already arrived,” Lee said at a recent technology summit held by his firm in Silicon Valley. He even ventured to predict that it is a 50-50 split about which country will get ahead the most quickly in two of the most practical uses of AI: autonomous driving and robotics. Lee also predicts that China is becoming more technologically advanced in another area—retail automation, largely because of quicker adoption of facial recognition of consumers for instant purchases without staff.

Read more of Rebecca Fannin‘s article in Reach Further: China’s AI Dream