Digital Transformation

China embraces AI for diplomatic edge

By John Glenday | Reporter

July 31, 2018 | 3 min read

China is enthusiastically embracing the fast-developing technology of artificial intelligence in an effort to give the country a strategic edge over its rivals.

China

China embraces AI as the fast track to global domination

Best known for defeating humans at boardgames as Go and chess as well as US gameshow Jeopardy the technology is being lined up by officials as a useful tool for assessing the potential risk of overseas investment presented by unstable regimes and terrorism.

To do this the Chinese Academy of Sciences has coded a program capable of trawling vast amounts of data gleaned from China’s sprawling diplomatic and intelligence network to make sense of information that would overwhelm human tacticians.

AI is increasingly regarded as a revolution comparable to that of the combustion engine, sparking a global arms race as nations seek to become the first to master the technology. China already has a national AI strategy in place to guide development as it works to become the world’s pre-eminent AI research hub by 2030.

Chinese advances have sparked concern in competing capitals with president Putin of Russia having already declared: “Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will rule the world.”

Such machinations haven’t gone unnoted in Washington either with US secretary of state Mike Pompeo seeking broader partnerships across Asia and India to counter growing Chinese influence in the region.

US analysts fret that China currently holds the advantage in AI research courtesy of its autocratic regime and tight control of the internet, handing its computer scientists access to volumes of data to train AI systems which are unavailable in the west.

Space X founder Elon Musk has previously described AI as a greater threat than nuclear warheads.

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