Perhaps, the real ‘arms race’ in artificial intelligence (AI) is not military competition but the battle for talent. Since the vast majority of the world’s top AI experts remain in the US, China is starting out from a position of clear disadvantage in this fight. The New Generation AI Development Plan, released in July 2017, acknowledged, ‘cutting-edge talent for AI is far from meeting demand’. This initial program called for China to ‘accelerate the training and gathering of high-end AI talent’, recognised as an objective ‘of the utmost importance’. Indeed, Chinese leaders are determined to catch up through leveraging a range of talent plans and new educational initiatives.
China’s AI talent insurgency is already underway. In accordance with this plan, China is creating new technical training programs, engaging in aggressive recruitment and constructing AI as an academic discipline.
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