... and fast-improving Chinese technologists
We reported last week that, against the prevailing narrative that China has more or less already won the artificial intelligence race, some experts say there is still very much a contest. They said this is because while China and its companies are spending a lot of money to dominate AI, they continue to be held back by intellectual inflexibility — they cannot or will not pivot as quickly as western researchers, and may always be fated to be behind.
Some FOW readers pushed back: Their take is that China is either already in or is on its way to the catbird seat when it comes to AI. "We do have sustainable differentiation, but China learns fast," Bart Riley, an advanced battery expert, told me.
What we're hearing: In response, I called around for more of this side of the debate.
1. Carnegie Mellon's Andrew Moore, also quoted in the above post, told me that AI is moving along two tracks — research and development. And, if the aim ultimately is to be the greatest AI commercial gargantuan — to create the new Googles and Amazons, as discussed above — it is the latter category where focus is important.
- Even if AI researchers make no further major advances, they have accomplished enough already "for hundreds or thousands of important applications of AI," Moore said. "There is plenty of new technology waiting for someone to get around and implement."
- "What is blocking you is access to trained people. This is where China is in good shape," he said.
2. Hector Abruña, a professor and battery researcher at Cornell University, said the time is over when China's best students go to the U.S. to study and stay to live there.
- They still go to top U.S. universities for the cachet, but then many return home and work in leading labs there.
- That has created "a dramatic turnaround" in terms of the quality of Chinese science, he told Axios.
Read the whole post.