An Important Piece in The New York Times on China’s AI Ambitions

We’re seeing this pattern pretty much across the board–China is targeting major new technologies with the full-hearted involvement of its central government. In this case, it is pouring massive resources into an effort to develop Artificial Intelligence, which may be one of the most transformative technologies of our lives. American technology companies also are working on AI but the key difference is that the American government does not appear to be deeply involved in coordinating the effort or setting any particular direction. Can you imagine what the Chinese are capable of in terms of using AI? They already are using it to track their own citizens, relying on facial recognition technology and thousands of cameras. We don’t think that’s ethical because it violates everyone’s privacy, but the Chinese government is not worried about ethics or privacy. We need to find a way to create a national strategy around key technologies or one day we will wake up and discover that the Chinese have leapfrogged us. This is a challenge that only recently has come into focus. Those of us who thought the Chinese state-controlled system would never achieve technological innovation were plainly wrong.

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