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article imageStartup says China leads many areas of AI development

By James Walker     Jan 9, 2018 in Technology
An AI startup that operates in the U.S. and China has said China's leading development of the tech in many fields. The U.S. and China are amongst several major economies battling to gain dominance in AI, a technology widely viewed as transformative.
CNBC reports AI startup Gen.Life said there's not yet a clear winner between the U.S. and China. Speaking at the UBS Greater China Conference in Shanghai this week, Gen.Life president and chief product and platform officer Daniel Tu said it's "still early days." AI's currently an emerging technology which is rapidly gaining momentum in a broad range of industries.
According to Tu, China's government support for AI is allowing it to gain an upper hand in its development. The Chinese government has published whitepapers that present clear ideas on how AI should be researched. By contrast, the U.S. government lacks a comprehensive AI strategy. Despite being pushed by researchers and private companies, the U.S is yet to publish central policies to orchestra development of the technology.
China's also aggressively building new infrastructure for AI. It has committed to an ambitious plan to build a $150 billion AI industry over the next few years, intending to become a world leader in the field by the end of the next decade. Last week, the country announced a new dedicated AI research centre to be located in Beijing. The facility will enable the country to further its progress in creating sophisticated AI and machine learning applications.
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Tu said that China's approach is allowing it to gain dominance in some AI verticals. These include retail and consumer AI, fields that could be critical to encouraging mass adoption of the technology. The U.S. has the upper hand in autonomous vehicles but may struggle to immediately sell them to consumers.
"China probably leads on the retail end and consumer front, whereas the U.S. probably leads on autonomous driving for now," CNBC reports Tu said. "There's a sense of urgency within the leading academic institutions in the United States about a lack of central, coherent policy by the central government, whereas in China, if you look at the recent State Council white paper on A.I., it's clear China has a clear vision on how they would like to see this go."
Experts generally agree that AI should be gradually introduced to consumers, allowing them to become familiar with the technology. Emerging services such as chatbots, digital assistants and automated support advisors represent a stepping stone to more sophisticated AI offering wider automation. With many people still concerned about the privacy and security implications of AI, a progressive approach to its deployment will be required.
China's lead in developing consumer AI could be a vital asset as the technology progresses. However, the U.S. is positioning itself beyond the curve, preparing complex AI deployments for when consumers are ready. Both nations are aiming to gain dominance in the next era of technology but there's no clear winner yet.
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