Briefing: Chinese AI research on track to surpass US, says study

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China may overtake the US with the best AI research in just two years – MIT Technology Review

What happened: A new study from US-based Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, or AI2, has found that the US will lose its lead to China in the most-cited 50% of research papers this year, and the top 1% by 2025. Using its AI-powered Semantic Scholar tool, AI2 examined more than 2 million research papers originating in China according to the number of citations they receive in other work. Kai-Fu Lee, a Chinese AI investor, thinks “the time horizon is farther out,” but all signs point to China cementing its place as the world’s AI powerhouse.

Why it’s important: Findings like this largely confirm that China is on track to achieve its goal of matching the US in AI expertise by 2020. As the Trump Administration seeks to cut America’s science funding, the technological divide between the two countries could widen at an accelerating pace. The Chinese government has taken up a central role in AI research, with government-affiliated AI research papers increasing 400 percent in the last 10 years. It remains to be seen if the US will answer back before it falls behind in a race that stands to affect nearly every facet of life for years to come.