China is now on race with America to become the world leader in artificial intelligence (AI) since they announce it in 2017. While the United States is still winning, China keeps making rapid progress.
China is aiming to become the best in artificial intelligence by 2030. They are developing their artificial intelligence faster than the United States or the European Union. Government spending, both local and central is estimated to be in the tens of billions of dollars.
This race has given a warning to the West, concerning that China is becoming an authoritarian surveillance state. However, treating China as a villain is overly simplifying the situation and potentially costly. China has been implementing AI for people surveillance, which considered as bad for the West, but they are also producing a lot of AI innovations.
China has been doing AI innovation in order to solve real-world problems. One of their contributions is for healthcare, gaining faster development in this ongoing pandemic. China has made an “AI doctor’ chatbot to serve people in remote areas. The country also develops medical image processing to diagnose cancer and other diseases.
The progress also results in potentially harmful innovations. One of the technologies is enabling surveillance and detention of Muslim ethnic minorities in China’s Xinjiang province. Another example is a smart court system, generating assessments to help with sentencing decisions. This can lead to potential bias and making it harder to challenge the decision.
China’s progress towards becoming the AI leader is at a full pace. The world should have a detailed look at the developments rather than simply labeling China as a villain. Engaging more with China and try to understand the real situation would be the best decision.