Washington: The chief executive officer of government contractor Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. warned that the US has only a small advantage over China in the rising field of artificial intelligence and is at risk of falling behind without a "national strategy." "It's not the 50-year edge that we have in building aircraft carriers," Horacio Rozanski said Thursday in a meeting with Bloomberg editors and reporters in Washington. Chinese President Xi Jinping has made a 10-fold increase in AI output a national priority as the world's second-largest economy seeks to dominate the industry by 2030. The US has little formal AI strategy at the federal level, although resources and government projects have accelerated in the last year or so, Rozanski said. "The investments are being driven at this point by the strategies of the different parts of the government, as opposed to collective strategy," he said.
The world's most powerful person used to be Vladimir Putin. This year he was defeated by the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, according to the Forbes ranking of powerful people who make you question what you've been doing with your life so far. It's safe to say that Mr. Putin knows plenty about power, and he believes that advances in artificial intelligence (AI) will not only change the world as we know it, but the global balance of power as well. It looks like other world leaders agree, with China and the US fighting for AI supremacy and the EU scrambling to catch up. Real growth is fueled by cold hard cash, so we've put together a list of the 10 biggest artificial intelligence startups in the world by funding.
Last year, China said it plans to be a world leader in AI by 2030. Now its capital is building a massive campus to house the AI firms that will power that rise, according to local media outlet Beijing News (link in Chinese). Authorities in Beijing's Mentougou district will build the tech campus along with Zhongguancun Development Group, a company that has built several similar technology parks in China. They plan to invest 13.8 billion yuan (about $2.1 billion) in the 548,700 square-meter park, and hope to to attract over 400 enterprises. Construction will be completed within three to five years.
Facial recognition technology is penetrating deep into China. Cameras track passengers at railway stations, identify homeless people on the streets, and even monitor worshippers in state-approved churches. China's nation-wide surveillance project, named Skynet, began as early as 2005. But recent advances in artificial intelligence have given the state's surveillance efforts a boost. Join us for a live briefing as we dive into the Chinese government's AI strategy, what tech giants like Alibaba and Tencent are doing in AI, startup activity, and China's cross-border AI initiatives.
In January, Wall Street investors were optimistic tax cuts would sustain economic growth and the Trump bull market. As spring arrives, the world has proven decidedly more uncertain. The administration has not articulated end game goals for the trade standoff with China. President Xi Jinping is offering some concessions but his commitment to industrial policies that target vital American industries remains clear and menacing. An all-out trade war could disrupt global supply chains, nix planned investment spending, stall both economies and tank stocks.
Xi Jinping's bookshelf includes not only classics on communism but also works on artificial intelligence, as TV viewers spotted during his new year's speech this year. One of the books that helps the Chinese president understand AI is The Master Algorithm, a 2015 bestseller by Pedro Domingos. In a recent interview with German magazine Der Spiegel, Domingos, who teaches computer science at the University of Washington, said that when he saw his book on Xi's bookshelf, he found it "both exciting and scary." Exciting because China is developing rapidly, and there are all sorts of ways the Chinese and the rest of the world can benefit from AI. Scary because this is an authoritarian government, going full tilt on using AI to control their population. In fact, what we are seeing now is just the beginning.
To the right, young software engineers sit in front of their laptops in the windowless, artificially lit rooms. To the left, computer science professor Pedro Domingos opens the door to his office, which has a view of the massive trees on campus. Domingos' book "The Master Algorithm," about the technology of artificial intelligence (AI), made him famous and is also considered a standard reference work. The best-selling book, published in 2015, describes how machines that can learn are changing our everyday lives -- from the social networks and science to business and politics and right up to the way modern wars are waged. The book drew praise from Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Google CEO Eric Schmidt. Recently, a third prominent figure noted that he'd read the book: Chinese President Xi Jinping. When state television broadcast his new year's speech this year, viewers discovered that next to Marx's "Capital" and "Selected Works" by Mao Zedong, he also has a copy of "The Master Algorithm" on his bookshelf. "The book is much read in China," says Domingos. "That's probably why Xi and his people became aware of it.
A Chinese fugitive was arrested after an AI-powered facial recognition system alerted authorities to his presence in a crowd of 60,000 people attending a pop concert. Welcome to the age of robot snitches. Wanted for "economic crimes," the 31 year-old man was reportedly surprised when police apprehended him. He'd traveled nearly 100 km (about 60 miles) with his wife and friends to attend the event, a concert headlined by Cantopop star Jacky Cheung, before authorities nabbed him on a tip from a venue camera. Chinese authorities have entirely embraced facial recognition systems and AI-powered surveillance monitoring.
China has retaliated quickly against proposed United States penalties on Chinese goods and announced 25 percent tariffs on critical American exports, including soya beans, aeroplanes and cars. On Tuesday, the administration of President Donald Trump threatened to slap tariffs on $50bn in Chinese imports across 1,300 categories of products, ranging from industrial robots to locomotives. Beijing's response came hours after the US revealed its plans, with China's foreign ministry saying in a statement that "America's measures to impose tariffs have violated the rules of the World Trade Organisation, and have seriously violated China's legal rights". Soya beans are the top US agricultural export to China and were among the 106 products on which China intends to impose the additional tariffs. The US is the second-biggest soya bean supplier to China, after Brazil.
Samsung Electronics has begun construction of its second semiconductor line in Xi'an, China. The South Korean tech giant will invest $7 billion in the new line that is expected to be completed next year. It will produce V-NAND memory chips, which are in very high demand from Chinese vendors. The company signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to build the line back in August, 2017, with Shanxi Province. Samsung began building its first chip line in Xi'an -- Chinese President Xi Jinping's hometown -- back in 2012.