There are few critical assets/pillars in AI: data/knowledge/science, digital infrastructure/ICT/computer science, technology/engineering talent and the policy environment.
To be on the global frontier of AI in terms of scientific research, technological development and market applications, China and USA should develop a real or true AI, instead of weak and narrow AI, ANI, or a fake/simulation AI.
Still, China is quickly closing the once formidable lead the U.S. maintained on ANI research.
Chinese researchers now publish more papers on ANI and secure more patents than U.S. researchers do. The country seems poised to become a leader in ANI-empowered businesses, such as speech and image recognition applications.
From a research perspective, China has become a world leader in AI publications and patents.
Again, the AI which China and USA are developing today is not real AI. It is a weak and narrow AI that solves narrowly defined problems — requires domain-specific knowledge and user-generated data to improve, to be customized to specific business scenarios.
You first make a product (e.g., voice recognition). Then, you attract many users and these users generate data. Finally, you use machine learning to improve products with data. Improvements occur through this virtuous cycle.
China has a vibrant market that is receptive to these ANI-based products, and Chinese firms are relatively fast in bringing AI products and services to the market. Chinese consumers are also fast in adopting such products and services. As such, the environment supports rapid refinement of ANI technologies and ANI-powered products.
China has strong ANI promoting policies and weak privacy regulations.
China has in recent years passed a number of policies to promote the development of ANI. Such policies include, but are not limited to, “Made in China 2025, ” “Action Outline for Promoting the Development of Big Data,” “Next Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan,” and so on.