Is China about to take over as the leading global force in artificial intelligence? That is the conclusion reached in a recent US study. Since announcing its national AI development plan last year, Beijing has stepped up its efforts to take over what is one of the most strategic of all technological fields. In response, US experts are sounding the alarm bells in a bid to get the Trump administration to react.
According to a recent report by the House Oversight and Reform IT Subcommittee, expenditure devoted by China to AI R&D is set to outstrip the budget set aside by the USA on AI tech and apps, as reported by the website Développez.com. The report found that the Trump administration is allocating insufficient investment.
A successful national development plan
While an increase on global spending on cognitive systems and AI has been forecast by a number of studies, including one compiled by the International Data Corporation (IDC), that is particularly true in the case of China, which in 2017 made clear its ambition to become a leader in this strategically important technology by announcing a national AI development plan in July 2017.
The plan has been quick to bear fruit. Back in February, the platform CB Insight published, as part of the 2018 edition of its annual Top AI Trends To Watch report, a study detailing the significant progress China has made in the area. The Asian nation has allocated more funding for startups specialising in AI than any other country on the planet.
US dominance under threat
In the opinion of the House Oversight and Reform IT Subcommittee, China could even become the global leader in AI technologies before the 2030 date announced by its government last year, unless the US can launch a counter-offensive. The subcommitee has thus urged the Trump administration to react and invest more in AI.
These conclusions are shared by Will Hurd, a Texas congressman and Republican, and by Robin Kelly, an Illinois congresswoman and Democrat, who together have written the white paper Rise of the Machines: Artificial Intelligence and its Growing Impact on U.S. Policy, having spoken to a number of AI experts. The white paper concludes that the USA’s current efforts fall well short of what is needed to challenge China. Among the urgent solutions proposed is the adoption by the Senate of the OPEN Government Data Act, “a piece of legislation that would make some government data accessible to the public and would make AI a budgetary priority for each congressional committee,” said Christian Olivier, a reporter for Développez.com.
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