China has the edge in race for AI supremacy

Sophia the robot on stage before a discussion by Hanson Robotics on artificial intelligence at the RISE Technology Conference in Hong Kong last month.
Sophia the robot on stage before a discussion by Hanson Robotics on artificial intelligence at the RISE Technology Conference in Hong Kong last month.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

In the global battle for artificial intelligence (AI) supremacy, only a handful of countries and companies are in serious contention. The small club of leading national players include China, Russia, the United States, Israel, Japan and South Korea, while primarily Chinese and American companies lead the pack of commercial contenders. These include Alibaba, Baidu, Tencent, Amazon, Facebook and Google.

What distinguishes all of them is the amount of resources they have put into research and the achievements they have already made in the AI arena. And they are poised to leap further and further ahead of those who are lagging behind or have not yet even entered the race.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 10, 2018, with the headline 'China has the edge in race for AI supremacy'. Subscribe