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The US-China Competition in AI Gets Intense

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The battle for control of artificial intelligence (AI) isn’t just for tech billionaires; it’s a fierce competition between the United States and China. These two global powers are vying for supremacy in various aspects, from the intellectual expertise and design of AI hardware and software to the essential raw materials fueling AI systems. Both countries are using government subsidies to drive progress in this high-stakes race.

The AI arms race between the US and China is heating up

Currently, the US holds a significant advantage in developing generative AI systems, particularly large language models (LLMs), like Open AI’s ChatGPT. This lead is partly due to export restrictions imposed on high-performance semiconductors, preventing China from accessing the most advanced LLMs.

In response, China is taking strategic measures, restricting the export of crucial chipmaking metals to the US and establishing a substantial $27 billion chip fund for major projects.

The competition for AI talent reached new heights when the US Justice Department charged a Chinese national and former Google AI software developer with stealing confidential code for supercomputing data centers.

At the Web Summit’s technology conference, leaders acknowledged the current dominance of the US and China in AI. However, the long-term economic and societal advantage is still uncertain. Geopolitical “swing states” like the UK, UAE, Israel, Japan, the Netherlands, and South Korea might emerge as key players in forming AI alliances.

Several Asian countries, including Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea, have a head start in semiconductor manufacturing and design, contributing to their AI advancements. Europe and the Middle East also show potential as AI hubs, with the Netherlands and the UAE making significant investments.

According to experts, global power will shift towards nations that produce, not just consume, AI technology. Cooperative approaches involving the private sector, public sector, and civil society are crucial for developing effective frameworks for AI.

While most countries have adopted national strategies for AI development, regulations are still evolving. In March, the EU is expected to adopt new legal restraints around AI, setting a precedent with the world’s first comprehensive legislation. The US and UK are yet to establish federal laws specific to AI, though President Biden’s executive order emphasizes safe AI development.

As the digital divide narrows, human capital and access to open-source models become increasingly important. Nations preparing their workforces for AI development and implementation are likely to gain a significant edge in this evolving landscape.

Source: Yahoo Finance