China has revealed its plans which it believes if successfully executed will make it the world leader in AI (artificial intelligence) by 2030 - which would see the industry worth around $147.7 billion. China's state council disclosed a three-step roadmap it has established, in which it outlined its thinking behind AI and how it expects the technology to be developed and deployed.
In the document released by the State Council, the plan declares that it believes artificial intelligence has become a new engine of economic development. The first part of the initiative runs to 2020 and it has outlined a clear aim for the country to continue to make progress in developing a new generation of AI theory and technology.
The second part of the plan delivers a vision on AI from 2020-2025, and it's during this particular period that China is predicting that they will achieve a ‘major breakthrough' in AI technology and the application of it, which those who have developed the plan insist will lead to ‘industrial upgrading' and economic transformation.
The last step of China's AI vision will see them become the world leader in artificial intelligence which would result in an industry worth 1 trillion yuan. In addition to this, China disclosed that if the plan is executed properly then it envisages the commercialization of AI in smart cities. It hopes to adopt AI technology for its military. However, this could cause concern for the international community.
The US government has already expressed its fears over China, and implemented tighter controls against the country investing in US technology start-up companies. A Pentagon report claimed, "If we allow China access to these same technologies concurrently, then not only may we lose our technological superiority, but we may even be facilitating China's technological superiority."
China is home to some of world's largest tech companies, which include Alibaba and search engine giant Baidu. Both these companies are increasing their focus on developing AI capabilities. This approach is evidenced by Baidu who has an AI research lab in Silicon Valley and is exploring areas like driverless cars. Meanwhile, Alibaba's cloud division is focusing heavily on using AI in areas such as shopping to healthcare.
However, some leading technologists have expressed their concern over AI and its potential impact on society and jobs. Elon Musk and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg became embroiled in a row over AI last week. Musk says mass adoption of AI would result in a policy of universal basic income being implemented. Zuckerberg on the other hand refuted those claims and said there was no reason for people to be afraid of this revolutionary technology.