As the US is building up AI robots and programs so is the Chinese, and according to a recent story the Chinese may threaten to surpass the US in AI innovation:
When a Google computer program beat the world’s best player of an ancient Chinese board game last May, it might have seemed like an incremental milestone.
But for some, the success of the program known as AlphaGo marked more than a man vs. machine clash. It set up a broader race between China and the United States over artificial intelligence, a competition that could mold the future of humankind just as the widespread arrival of electricity did in the last century.
The Go tournament took place in Wuzhen, a city of canals that is more than 1,300 years old, a fitting venue for a competition involving the strategy board game Go that has been played for several thousand years. Go is renowned for its complexity, and it is said that there are more variations to the game than there are atoms in the universe.
Perhaps it was a coincidence of timing, but the AlphaGo competition kicked off events that demonstrated China’s resolve to close the gap with — and quickly surpass — the United States in deploying artificial intelligence, or AI. Goals Chinese authorities announced last July are ambitious: Reach parity with the United States by 2020, achieve major breakthroughs by 2025, and “occupy the commanding heights of AI technology by 2030” as the world’s undisputed leader.
Can China do it? Experts say the race is in its early stages but the challenge has been set, and China is taking action to move toward its aspirations.
“There’s a lot of ambition, a lot of enthusiasm but it still remains to be seen whether this is possible,” said Elsa B. Kania, a specialist in artificial intelligence and Chinese defense innovation at the Center for a New American Security, a think tank in Washington. Nonetheless, she added, “there is a very real chance and possibility” that China could achieve its goals.
The stakes are high. Advances in artificial intelligence could add trillions of dollars to a major economy and give an edge on the battlefield, shifting empires and global power.
“For the moment, the United States is the most advanced AI country in the world. But that gap is closing,” said Chris Nicholson, chief executive of Skymind, a San Francisco start-up that focuses on deep learning, a type of artificial intelligence.
Russia, too, is paying attention, although it is not in the same tier as China and the U.S.
“Artificial intelligence is the future, not only for Russia, but for all humankind,” Russian leader Vladimir Putin told students Sept. 1, according to the state-run RT network. “Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world.”
Processors equipped with artificial intelligence algorithms and specialized hardware platforms learn from experience, adapt to new information and perform human-like tasks. The field is in its relative infancy, and numbers of top scientists are limited. Google, the Mountain View, California, technology giant, employs at least half of the top 100 of them, the Eurasia Group, a New York-based political risk consultancy, estimated in a report in December.
But China has some comparative advantages, and it is moving fast. Last year, its scientists sought 641 patents related to artificial intelligence, compared with 130 in the United States, says CB Insights, a venture capital database company.
Other metrics also show China’s push. Every year, top experts gather for the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence. In 2012, U.S. researchers presented 41 percent of the papers at the meeting, and Chinese experts barely hit 10 percent, said Avi Goldfarb, a professor of marketing at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.
In 2017, he said, U.S. share of papers fell to 34 percent and China’s grew to 23 percent.
“What’s really happened is that China has invested a lot and done much better,” said Goldfarb, co-author of Prediction Machines: The simple economics of Artificial Intelligence.
One of China’s comparative advantages in artificial intelligence is the massive data that the government and large internet companies collect on the nation’s 1.3 billion citizens.
In China, people use their mobile phones to pay for goods 50 times more often than in the United States, says Sinovation Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm with offices in China and the United States. Chinese order 10 times more food delivery volume than in the United States. And shared bicycle usage is 300 times that of the United States, the company says.
“All of that is data that goes back to train AI models,” Kai-fu Lee, Sinovation’s founder and a former Google executive, told an MIT forum Nov. 2 on the future of work.
A Chinese bike-sharing company, Mobike, has fleets in 200 cities globally. Its sensor-equipped bikes transmit 20 terabytes of data for Mobike to analyze with artificial intelligence every day.
China’s government has moved heavily into facial recognition software designed to keep tabs on the populace. It has done so through unique levels of partnership with private Chinese tech companies, like Yitu Tech, one of many big firms that cooperate closely with authorities.
Lee, the former Google executive, said massive datasets give China an upper hand.
“A very good scientist with a ton of data will beat a super scientist with a small amount of data any day,” Lee told the MIT forum.
Given such an advantage, venture capital money is pouring into China-based startups pursuing aspects of artificial intelligence. Such startups took 48 percent of all dollars going to AI startups globally in 2017, surpassing the United States for share of dollars, CB Insights says.
While competition to harness artificial intelligence is real, it is unlike the race to develop a nuclear bomb before and during World War II. A remarkable degree of commercial overlap occurs between the two countries, and some experts don’t see an inevitable winner and loser in the competition.
“There’s a lot connectivity between Beijing and Shanghai and Hangzhou and (Silicon) Valley,” said Paul S. Triolo, director of global technology at Eurasia Group.
Microsoft and Google have large operations involved in artificial intelligence research in China, he said, “and Chinese companies like Baidu and Alibaba and Tencent have lots of AI researchers working in the U.S. Who’s winning that?” (source)
Now let’s put this article, which sounds somewhat scary, in perspective.
Go to your local Dollar Store- it could be a chain such as Dollar General or a local one- and take a look at all the products on the shelves. Then, go to your local Wal-Mart or other big-box department or furniture store, and take a look at their products. With the notable exception of IKEA, most of the products that you will see come from China. Take a look at the quality, and everybody knows that if the label says “China”, it most likely means cheaply manufactured and low quality that looks nice but will turn to junk in a short time. Chinese products are like the fancy “Chimet” brand paper plates- look really nice, but one-time use only and then dispose.
Now repeat the SAME experiment, except look for products made in China’s historic rival, Japan. Note the quality difference. It will most likely be more expensive but of significantly higher quality, and will last a long time. It is definately NOT a one-time use product.
One might think that the Chinese products destined for America are of lower quality than those which they sell to their own people. However, the truth is to the contrary, for Chinese make equally bad, if not worse products for their own. This is a reflection of how it is an open secret in China that nobody cares about ANYBODY.
For many years, people who had close experience either by being Chinese and growing up in China or working for many years with the Chinese knew this. However, technology has exposed what was once kept behind closed doors, for the dysfunction has been captured on cameras, photos, and Internet live streams for the world to see:
Note in these videos the cities in China as well. Take note of their organization, structure, and cleanliness. Note the attitudes of the people and how they present themselves, and compare that to major cities in Japan spread throughout the island:
While not always so, the products and services a nation produces are, like politicians, art, and culture, a reflection of the people’s attitudes who make up those societies towards themselves and the world. Likewise, consider the videos above. Would ANY of those above crimes happen in Japan at the same frequency, or in the same quantity or proportion to that which takes place in China? The answer is no, they do not.
This is not to say that Japan does not have problems, or that there is nothing good about China, but is to illustrate an important difference between the two societies that many people overlook or are unable to see. China is a very large nation, but possesses a veneer of wealth to cover massive poverty and misery that are continually perpetuated to continue to build said wealth. Japan has poverty, but nothing to the scale or proportion of what China has. Japan may be much smaller, but where the Chinese are disorganized, divided, and unable to care for their basic needs as they are dependent on foreigners buying their poor-quality products, the Japanese are organized, unified, and overall self-sufficient.
China has a larger military by sheer numbers, but the Japanese are better trained, better organized, and better armed because not just of historical reasons, but they directly benefit from US military training. Just because World War 2 ended less than a century ago means nothing, for as we have noted, Japan still retains its militaristic character and is seeking to revive its military as in the past.
George Friedman of STRATFOR, which as we have documented is a public face of US military intelligence, argues among other points that China is not as strong as she actually seems as she is dependent not on her own abilities, but on the willingness of other nations to buy her cheaply produced goods. This differs from Japan, which remains the premier power and is rising at the same time she is returning to militarism:
From 16:40 to 17:58, he discusses the difference between the Chinese and Japanese militaries, and noting at 17:40, the Pentagon has a direct motivation to promote Chinese military power in order to justify increased military spending:
The only people who want the Chinese navy to be great is the US Navy, because if the Chinese Navy is great they get more budget, so they pretend it’s really very powerful. Japan is the great East Asian power.
Now there are many issues here that can change and will affect the future, one of them being the continual decline in fertility that plagues Japan as well as the gender-imbalance ratio that China is now beginning to deal with owing to decades of the “one-child” policy. However, there is a general point in that China is large and powerful, but just might not be as strong as it seems and that China’s claims of power might be played up by our own government to justify American nationalism.
So returning to the main story, ask yourself, who is building the most robots and making the most effective use of them? Not surprisingly, it’s the USA with Japan and Germany. These are the same people who brought the world nuclear power, modern eugenics, modern propaganda, the microchip, the modern computer, and built the world economy and, in the case of the latter two, recovered almost INSTANTLY after they were annihilated in the Second World War.
Likewise, using the dollar store example, if China and Japan were to make an AI program or robot, which one would most likely work better. Or perhaps, if you were going to invest in an AI, would you buy the Japanese or Chinese version?
You already know the answer- the Japanese one- because the Japanese one would actually work and not keep breaking down. It’s the same reason why Japanese cars are so successful- because they don’t have to be fixed all the time or keep breaking down.
As we have documented and shown, the US government (and by extension Japan and Germany) is pouring unlimited funding into the production of AI and killer robots, and the production is continuing along very well. The Americans innovate, and Germany and Japan take the innovations and build them with their engineers even better than the Americans do. If the Chinese do get their hands on robotics technology similar to the US, then it is most likely because they stole it or were given it, because China is historically known for stealing, not for innovation or creativity, let alone building decent products.
Americans are addicted to fear about stuff that does not even matter or is far away. But actual threats, most don’t care.
If anything a story about China surpassing the US in AI is, for the time, complete nonsense, and only serves to give the American people the regular dose of fear of the unknown they so desperately crave and provide a hackneyed justification for shoveling more money into the bottomless pit of military spending.
Keep your eyes on Japan and her historical ally, Germany, for as the saying goes, “birds of a feather flock together.” If anybody is going to create an actual terminator that poses a threat to the human race, it will imagined and designed by the Americans and then engineered to lethal accuracy by the Germans and Japanese.