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US experts fear China is set to overtake them in AI race

A number of leading AI experts in the United States have expressed their concern that China is set to overtake them in the race to develop the cutting-edge and revolutionary technology.

US experts are bemoaning the lack of a clear plan by the US government whilst highlighting that China has a clear vision and detailed national strategy specifically designed in order to ensure it becomes a world leader in Artificial Intelligence.

The United States is currently in the dominant position in relation to AI, but experts globally are saying that China is closing the gap rapidly. Technology leaders such as Google, Apple and Facebook have ensured the US still leads its foreign rivals in relation to the new technology but analysts have warned that the government must intervene to ensure the US remains the incumbent leader in the development of AI.

In November last year, recently retired Alphabet chairman Eric Schmidt, launched a blistering attack on the federal government and said it really ‘needs to get its act together' on AI. However, Schmidt isn't a lone voice in his criticism of the Trump administration in relation to artificial intelligence. In the capital, lawmakers are urging the White House to step up on its AI policy.

Republican politician and Co-chairman of the Congressional Artificial Intelligence Caucus, John Delaney said that the lack of a national strategy needs to be addressed urgently and again pointed to the fact that China already has one in place.

Technology firms across the United States are also calling for the federal government to do more in relation to its policy and strategic approach to AI. VP of tech company NVIDIA's accelerated computing business unit, Ian Buck, has called for more investment into the development of AI.

He said, "I don't think federal agencies are investing in AI enough. I would love to see the government invest more in research funding and proactively evaluate the deployment of AI." The Trump White House has thus far paid little or no attention at least publicly toward AI policy and experts now fear that without immediate action from the White House, the US will soon lose technological ground to China.

China has already declared its intentions by releasing a public statement last July saying it would give serious attention to AI with the goal of becoming the world leader in AI by 2030. However, even if China doesn't overtake the US experts, the American AI community believes that the country will still lose a large chunk of global market share in terms of both AI development and talent to the Chinese.

Jack Clark who oversees policy at Open AI which was co-founded by Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk said that when China says it's going to do something it means it and stated that the United States can no longer continue to be complacent on AI.

Clark said, "China already has a meaningful track record - when it says it's going to pursue something it makes it happen. The amount of rhetorical support you give AI is meaningful. The market and talent for AI is global. These people are going to go to institutions in countries which are showing support for it."

While China's attempt to secure AI dominance is still in its formative stages, it's already having an effect. Chinese research submissions to AI conferences have already ramped up, while investment in Chinese AI work and patent filings are also on the rise.

U.S. AI experts say there is still time for the federal government to back AI investments. Dean Garfield, president of the Information Technology Industry Council, a trade association that lobbies on behalf of tech giants said, "There's a real risk of losing our edge on AI, but there is still plenty of opportunity for the U.S. government to act."