On May 27, when Ke Jie – the Chinese Go master – was defeated by AlphaGo in the ancient canal town of Wuzhen, the tech experts worldwide redrew the timeline in which artificial intelligence rules the world. The event highlighted the continued dominance of the United States in the AI field as well.
Quantity of papers published by Chinese researchers is more than the U.S. scientists
A U.K.-based firm’s Deepmind unit developed the AlphaGo, which is the artificial intelligence program of the search giant. The British firm was acquired by the search giant in 2014. America has been the undisputed leader in AI technology since a long time and China is trying to overthrow the U.S. with its smarter and cheaper technology. The developing market may soon get ahead of America by bringing smarter AI products to market at a faster pace.
A report by news site ‘The Straits Times’ notes that one firm, which has a user base of 1.3 billion, uses the artificial intelligence technology to enhance photos and another firm is using the AI technology to analyze and approve loans with a far lower default rate and more quickly, said former Google and Microsoft executive and venture capitalist Lee Kai-Fu at a commencement speech at Columbia University last month.
The number of papers published by China-based researchers on branches of AI research like deep learning is already more than the American scientists. Deep learning, explains The Straits Times, is where a machine modelled after the human brain can learn by itself over time. Last October, a White House report said that the China-based studies have been cited more often than American ones. This report by the White House is sought to draw attention to the depreciating dominance of the US and the soaring capabilities of China in the AI field.
AI firms in China are drawing unprecedented amounts of funding
Last year, the Chinese AI firms attracted around $2.6 billion in funding, which in comparison to the $17.9 billion funding of the U.S-based AI firms is just a fraction. ASKCI, a Shenzhen-based research firm estimated that this is a 12-fold increase in funding in comparison to what was three years ago. According to experts, three main ingredients make it inevitable for China to rise to the top in AI capability.
Professor Zhang Wenqiang, director of the Robot Intelligence Lab of Fudan University, said “Its population of 1.3 billion provides a broad domestic market to test out new applications for AI, and to also supply the vast amounts of data that AI systems – like search engines before them – need to become more accurate.” In an interview to The Straits Times, he said that companies like BAT (Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent) and Huawei are taking artificial intelligence into uncharted territory in China and are exploring possibilities in areas such as mobile payments.