Why is China so obsessed with AI (artificial intelligence) that it’s trying to surpass the US in AI technology? Although, China has an advantage due to its abundant cheap labor and human workforce.
Answered 7h ago
Multiple answers (including that of Mr. Denlinger) have already addressed the strategic importance of AI, seems like the erroneous assumptions about “abundant cheap labor” has not been thoroughly addressed so far.
Reliance on cheap labor is precisely what the PRC must avoid to advance its next stage of development, for a few reasons.
Others have cheaper labor. Plenty of other countries ALREADY have cheaper labor costs than the PRC - Indonesia, India, Vietnam, just to name a few. The PRC’s current advantage is NOT just cheap labor, but a combination of flexibility, scale, excellent infrastructure, & a vast local market that keeps TOTAL costs of production down.
China’s workforce is shrinking. China’s population growth phase has pretty much ended. China’s population will start to shrink within 10 years, and it’s total workforce is already shrinking due to aging.
China must move up the value chain. EVEN IF the PRC still had “abundant cheap labor”, that advantage would shrink continuously as automation becomes cheaper. Therefore, in order to continue growing & maintaining competitiveness, the PRC would need to upgrade its industries in any case.
Paul Denlinger, Worked with several startups; sometime product man agement guy, manager
Answered 12h ago. Upvoted by Jason L, AI researcher.
Because everything about Al plays to China s strengths and advantages：
AI neural networks require huge amounts of data the more the better. China has about 900 million mobile phone users who are creating huge amoun ts of data on a daily basis. As AI develops and is pushed out to other sectors, the data becomes more valuable than the technology. Since China has four times the population of the US, China has a huge inn ate advan tage which the US cannot match;
AI requires a large number of data scien tsts to create algorithms, China can supply those.
AI will cause large social disruptions and unemployment as it is applied in di fferent fields, it is better to get ahead of these chang es so that the sodety can be educated and prepared for them;
Al gravita tes towards a winner-takes-all business model, which will add to the ab ove-mentioned disruption The government and party need to prep are for this.
The nation and society which commands Al will become the next superpower. The president of Russia, Vladmir Putin,said so.
Luc De Mestre, PhD Computer Science, Université De Caen Basse-Normandie (2006)
Answered Mar 12
Everybody know that AI is the next big thing. Because AI unlock the automation of millions of jobs.
Up to 375 million jobs may be automated by 2030. 375 million jobs may be automated by 2030, study suggests
More than 500 millions of jobs worldwide will be automatized in the next 20 or 30 years.
Konstantinos Konstantinides, EE, Ph.D.
Answered Mar 12
The question shows a misunderstanding of what AI is about. It is not about creating human robots to replace humans. AI is a whole family of tools to improve the process of making decisions. For example, IBM’s “Watson” is being used to scan medical literature and then help doctors decide on the best treatment for cancer patients. AI can help us make better and more efficient processors, better cars, more energy-efficient homes, etc. That’s why it is important to all countries, regardless of the availability of cheap work force. By the way, that work force is getting more expensive every day.
In some industries, Al is already so good such that Al is already cheap er than cheap human laborers Who can say that we won t see the same in other industries?
Moreover, even in some industries where China s cheap human laborers are still more competitive than AI,who can say that the cost of human laborers in Chin a will remain cheap If the cost of workers in China rose but China had no Al capability at that time, then Chinese economy would be adversely affected.
Last but not least, It s not always a binary decision between human and Al . In many cases, the best result is obtained by combining them. Therefore, Al capability is always b eneficial in this case.
Joseph Wang, studied at Ph.D Astronomy UT Austin, Physics MIT
Because the Chinese government has looked a few years in the future. Chinese labour is no longer cheap, and it’s about to disappear.
The Chinese population is about to get very old, very quickly. China’s economy in the past was helped by lots of young people ready to get factory jobs. But because of the one child policy, that source of labour is fast disappearing.
So in order to make sure that the Chinese economy keeps running once everyone gets old, the government is encouraging a lot of development of AI and robots as well as moving the factories to Africa and Southeast Asia.