AI Research: China & US Leading Research- US Falling Behind!

US and China lead the world of research in AI. This article shows the number of deep learning publications by US and China since 2007.  While most were at par in 2007, the landscape changed and US was leading the pack with a significant margin until 2013 when China has gotten ahead. Unless we are mindful in the US and pay attention to this and not get lost in our ‘assumed glory’ – China may get ahead so far that we may fall significantly behind.

Here is a bit of what has happened since 2017 between China and the US:

  • Universities in China have progressed dramatically- There is no longer a compelling reason to attend our universities which directly increases the pool of Chinese researchers- who would have otherwise been in the US and are now growing China’s AI Research capacity,
  • Our major corporations, in order to tap into the China AI talent pool have been aggressively setting up operations in China, hence, we are helping China get ahead,
  • Our government funding for AI Research at our universities has been dropping dramatically,
  • China is no longer the ‘outsource labor capital’ and has vibrant competing companies such as Alibaba, Tencent and many others, growing as rapidly if not more rapidly than our corporations,
  • Chinese grads no longer have to come to the US to work for the next hottest company,
  • Global markets are pouring money into China, and
  • China is leading the market in making direct large scale investments into US and international startups at a mega scale.

Given the above, it is expected that China has taken over the US in AI Research.  The China that I was recently visiting is nothing like the China of 2017!

Here is the great news:

  • We (US) have the largest number of the mega companies, which are global leaders in all disciplines.  We also have the largest number of stellar universities and world class researchers in Universities and our corporations. We should not loose this opportunity!
  • We need to re-shift our thinking and get into the fact-based discomfort zone very quickly.  We need to stop thinking we are ‘AHEAD’ when we no longer are and change things to regain the leading AI Research position.  This needs to happen NOW. I am delighted that the right steps are underway, it needs to happen at a much faster pace.  Stay tuned for things that are coming…

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