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Artificial intelligence

China has a new plan to create an army of AI researchers

April 5, 2018

A new school for machine learning hopes to churn out Chinese tech talent—and surprisingly, it’s being helped by some of North America’s finest AI minds.

Background: China plans to become the world leader in AI by 2030. That feat will only be accomplished with a lot more AI talent.

The news: Wired reports that Kai-Fu Lee, the former chief of Google’s operations in China who now runs an investment firm focused on AI, just launched a school to train more Chinese AI talent. It could add close to a thousand new AI graduates every year, right from the start.

AI showdown: There’s an ongoing race between America and China to take over the market for AI projects—from the cloud to chips. And this is all now happening against the backdrop of  a trade war focused on technological expertise.

But: It’s not a competition to everyone. Renowned Western researchers like Geoffrey Hinton and John Hopcroft will take part in teaching at the new school. Meanwhile, Lee argues that both countries publish research papers, so any improvement in Chinese AI fortunes will benefit the US and the world. Donald Trump may not agree.

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Illustration by Rose Wong

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