In Q2 2018, Chinese investors sank $2.87b into AI startups; in Q2 2019, it was $140.7m.
It's part of a massive slowdown in China's AI industry, which kicked off with massive political/economic fanfare from the Chinese state, which promised that the sector would be worth $150b by 2030, a boast that touched off anxiety about a global AI arms race.
Two years later, valuations for the companies that bet biggest on AI are plummeting. Baidu has sunk to a valuation of 10% of the worth of rivals Alibaba and Tencent, though they were all level as recently as 2017; the company's top AI scientists have quit, and the company just booked its first losses since 2005.
Many of the early promising AI demos have fizzled or turned out to be smoke-and-mirrors: much-vaunted demonstrations of health-tech companies like Ping An to diagnose diseases early and head them off before they could spread represent mere incremental improvements over techniques that were documented and demonstrated in the 1970s.
The other problem is that China simply can't produce the semiconductors that it needs for AI research; as a nation, China now spends $300b/year importing microchips (largely from South Korea) -- more than it spends on imported oil.
McKinsey, noting China’s modest progress in the field, points to the exponential growth in money and effort required as chips advance: it takes about 500 steps to create a 20nm chip, but 1,500 steps for a smaller 7nm chip.
Meantime, the wealth of fab projects has triggered a scramble for talent and exposed a talent shortfall of more than 400,000 employees.
Cold water hits China’s AI industry
(via Naked Capitalism)
(Image: Cryteria, CC-BY, modified)
Equifax doxed virtually every adult in America as well as millions of people in other countries like the UK and Canada. The breach was caused by an acquisition spree in which the company bought smaller competitors faster than it could absorb them, followed by negligence in both monitoring and responses to early warnings. Execs who […]
The next version of Chrome will patch a bug that lets websites detect users who are in incognito mode by by probing the Filesystem API; they've also pledged to seek out and block any other vulnerabilities that will let servers detect users in incognito mode.
The Googler Uprising was a string of employee actions within Google over a series of issues related to ethics and business practices, starting with the company's AI project for US military drones, then its secretive work on a censored/surveilling search tool for use in China; then the $80m payout to Android founder Andy Rubin after […]
With enough practice and commitment, anyone can be a visual artist. But without the right instruction, that time spent honing your skills could seem like an eternity. If you really want to see where your talent can take you, you need sound fundamentals – and no matter what discipline or genre you lean toward, the […]
Theoretically, there’s never been an easier time for marketers. The ubiquity of social media means a good word – or a good brand – can spread like wildfire with very little effort. But as limitless as the internet is, there’s a lot of competition and noise to contend with. And the vast graveyard of failed […]
They might be the shiny new thing, but AirPods aren’t for everybody. Maybe you’re looking for a new sound or you understandably lost those tiny buds during a brisk run. If so, here’s 10 headphones and earbuds that break out of the Apple mode with a return to quality and wearability. Klipsch R5 Bluetooth Neckband […]