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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

China is poised to take the lead in innovations at the intersection of AI and biotech, with clinical applications of gene-editing and cell therapies, as well as blood-based cancer diagnostics.

Why it matters: China and Silicon Valley are competing for proprietary access to the genetic data of entire populations, which can be analyzed using machine learning to drastically advance genomic and medical research. Breakthroughs and overall leadership in these fields will have repercussions for the global economy.

Background: AI can be used to target specific genetic markers from massive genomics data sets, which is why it is so useful in personalized health monitoring and in designing more precise treatments and tests for diseases.

  • The Chinese government has committed $9.2 billion over 15 years into a precision medicine initiative, which includes funding the use of AI.
  • The NIH's comparable initiative was appropriated funding of just $1.5 billion over ten years. Chinese VC and private investments also dwarf similar American investments.
  • In 2017, China invested an additional $4 billion in the American AI and biotech sectors — and gained access to datasets and potentially to trade secrets.

Meanwhile, China also has a receptive regulatory system, high skills in precision manufacturing, and low labor costs.

  • The Chinese company WuXi NextCODE already provides the world’s leading platform for interpreting massive sets of genomic data and diagnosing rare diseases.

The big picture: Frost & Sullivan predicts AI technologies will generate $6.7 billion in global revenue from health care by 2021.

  • AI and biotech-dominant countries could use other countries' bio-data for economic growth.
  • China is already working to access the bio-data of emerging markets in Africa.

What to watch: The U.S. government is attempting to restrict China’s investments in American firms developing AI and other technologies that are critical for national security. Efforts include the Fair Trade with China Enforcement Act, introduced in the Senate May, and the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act of 2018, enacted in August.

Eleonore Pauwels is a research fellow on Emerging Cyber-technologies at UN University’s Centre for Policy Research, focusing on AI.

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Sports

Gonzaga University revokes NBA great John Stockton's tickets over mask stance

Former Utah Jazz player John Stockton during a 2017 press conference in Salt Lake City. Photo: Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Gonzaga University suspended the season tickets of notable alumni John Stockton after the NBA Hall of Famer failed to comply with the school's basketball games mask mandate, the Spokesman-Review first reported.

Driving the news: "Basically, it came down to, they were asking me to wear a mask to the games and being a public figure, someone a little bit more visible, I stuck out in the crowd a little bit," the former Utah Jazz point guard told the outlet in an interview Saturday.

Updated 4 hours ago - World

State Department orders evacuation of U.S. diplomats' families from Ukraine

From left, undersecretary for political affairs Victoria Nuland, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. chargés d'affaires in Ukraine Kristina Kvien during a meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal in Kyiv. Photo: Yevhen Liubimov/ Ukrinform/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

The State Department will begin evacuating families and nonessential staff from the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv this week, according to a travel advisory published Sunday evening.

Why it matters: The move underscores U.S. fears that a Russian invasion could destabilize Ukraine and threaten the embassy's ability to assist Americans.

Perfect storm brewing for extreme politicians

Data: Axios research; Table: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Redistricting and a flood of departing incumbents are paving the way for more extreme candidates in this year's midterm elections.

Driving the news: At least 19 House districts in 12 states are primed to attract such candidates — hard partisans running in strongly partisan districts — according to an Axios analysis of districts as measured by the Cook Political Report's Partisan Voter Index (PVI).