China’s massive investment in AI is changing the entire world at an accelerating rate. Just like climate change is accelerating, so is AI.
Recently Elon Musk at a fireside debate with the original founder of Alibaba, and it was amusing. Elon Musk said some of his usual quotes.
His warnings about AI are to me salient though, even if sensationalistic.
China is also glamorizing companies that are considered AI leaders. 10 new national AI champions include Xiaomi, JD.com, Qihoo 360, Megvii and Yitu, among others.
It’s quite an interesting strategy actually.
The world will pivot around Beijing in ways we don’t yet understand.
Beijing has hand-picked Huawei Technologies, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment supplier, to be part of China’s expanded team of national champions in artificial intelligence.
Huawei, I remind myself, a company that recently referenced an article I wrote about it to its European Twitter followers.
In China, AI is the new God
- Huawei will take the lead in the research on AI infrastructure and software.
- Hikvision will take the lead in the research on AI infrastructure and software.
- Megvii will handle image perception.
- Yitu, image computing.
When as a futurist I’ve talked about China’s tech dynasty, I’m not kidding. It’s like a pantheon of the gods. If in China you aren’t allowed Gods, what is AI — in a country of such ubiquitous total surveillance and data capture?
If $ money is God in America, it seems China is taking a slightly more post-modern approach.
It’s AI that will capture the majority of GDP growth in the 21st century.
One of the few paper books I bought this year was “AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order” by Kai-Fu Lee.
- Xiaomi Corp, will focus on smart home hardware.
- JD.com, on smart supply chain
- Qihoo 360 Technology will handle online safety
China now has a total of 15 national AI champions since starting this initiative in 2017, says the South China Morning Post.
When will China catch up to the United States in AI? I feel that might be sooner than we think, as soon as 2030. In many areas, it’s already ahead. More data means better training of deep learning systems.
Chinese officials have been canvassing domestic tech firms to learn about their supply chain structure. The 2020s will mean the real bifurcation of the internet, when the Chinese dynasty will grow their regime. This includes an OS with Huawei, an entertainment sector with companies like ByteDance and Tencent and all the nuts and bolts of the Cloud, led by companies such as Alibaba and Baidu.
China is already ahead in super apps, facial recognition, app ecosystems, E-commerce, payments and online to offline retail (020). China is, for all intents and purposes, playing a much longer game with the future of artificial intelligence.
Here we are talking about how technology can scale globally. If ByteDance apps go viral and Huawei leads the world in 5G, what happens to American BigTech? They lose market share. They lose access to global users for data monetization and AI training.
China is taking on Silicon Valley with a much more innovative venture capital structure for AI startups to thrive in, and they will win. Softbank’s Vision Fund #2 should go that route and not invest in risky startups like WeWork, Uber and so forth.
If China is a place where AI is like God, what do humans become in such a future? What does Musk say? What did Stephen Hawking say before he died? What does the super intelligence of the machine say to the temporary mammal?
“See you later!”
China’s hunger for AI dominance is fueling innovation that wouldn’t be possible anywhere else. In 2019, we are witnessing just the infancy of China’s technological dynasty. Huawei and Alibaba are Queen and King with many children.
When the U.S. blacklisted Chinese telecom giant Huawei for national security concerns, it started a chain reaction that no truce of trade tariffs can prevent. It started an AI arms race that is so important countries will be willing to do anything to be superiorly placed in it.
If knowledge is power, humans are the data that AI’s architecture can be built and trained upon. Our actions on the internet, even our video games, are the training platforms for early dumb AI. So what does this become? More than just a global brain.
China is surveying its tech companies to gauge their exposure to U.S. suppliers, aiming to reduce reliance on American technology as the trade war between the two countries intensifies. China will clone a better internet, with a better Cloud and a better system of influence that results from the cold tech wars.
China’s AI will fuel innovation that no other country will be able to compete against. It’s already started, it’s happening.
The West shouldn’t fear China’s artificial intelligence revolution. It should copy it. But America cannot copy China, it will be unable to do so. What then?
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