China has an ambitious plan to lead the world in artificial intelligence by the end of the next decade:
The country laid out a development plan on Thursday to become the world leader in A.I. by 2030, aiming to surpass its rivals technologically and build a domestic industry worth almost $150 billion. Released by the State Council, the policy is a statement of intent from the top rungs of China’s government.
….The United States, meanwhile, has cut back on science funding. In budget proposals, the Trump administration has suggested slashing resources for a number of agencies that have traditionally backed research in A.I. Other cuts, to areas like high-performance computing, would affect the development of the tools that make A.I. work.
I’m hardly a Henny Penny nationalist. If China wants to catch up to us in aircraft carriers, it doesn’t bother me that much. But I won’t deny that I feel a lot more comfortable with an America that retains its lead in important technology, and AI is the most important technology in the world right now. It’s no exaggeration to say that the country with the best AI in 2030 might be the country that rules the world in 2050.
Then again, maybe not. But I’d just as soon not take that chance. America may have its faults, but we have a damn sight fewer of them than China.