China is quickly catching the U.S. in artificial intelligence research and may overtake it in the next two years, according to an analysis by the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence.
China has broad ambitions in AI. The government in 2017 announced plans to lead the world in the technology by 2030 and last year announced plans to build a $2.12 billion technology park dedicated to AI development research.
Using its academic search engine, the Semantic Scholar, the Allen Institute analyzed over two million academic AI papers published through 2018. It found that China will overtake the U.S. in the most-cited — 50 percent of research papers in 2019, the top 10 percent in 2020 and the top 1 percent by 2025.
President Donald Trump in February signed an executive order promoting artificial intelligence, titling it the “American AI Initiative,” but many critics said it didn’t include proper funding.
The initiative, though, did follow the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s announcement of its $2 billion commitment to AI research funding.
“Our economy and security has benefited greatly from the cutting-edge research being homegrown in our universities and research institutes,” Allen Institute CEO Oren Etzioni told MIT Technology Review.
“We need to urgently increase AI research funding and commit to visas for AI students and experts.”