China Pushes the Development of Its Own AI Amidst US Chip Restrictions

Subh Rath

May 9, 2023

China can’t get the latest chip technology from the U.S. because of sanctions, but it is still working on making its own AI. 

The race to develop artificial intelligence (AI) continues as China accelerates the development of home-grown AI while avoiding the use of cutting-edge US technology due to current restrictions. 

The US sanctions put on China in October 2022 have denied Chinese companies access to the most modern processors on the market. This includes Nvidia’s A100 and H100 CPUs, the most popular AI development options. As a result, the Chinese market has access to Nvidia A800 and H800 CPUs, which can only handle small-scale AI models.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, Chinese corporations are researching ways to develop AI using weaker semiconductors and chip combinations to avoid dependency on a particular type of hardware. 

According to the study, academics and analysts believe that developing alternatives to such chips will be tough for Chinese technology companies, but certain attempts have shown “promise.”

China’s Plans for AI: 

OpenAI, based in the United States, created ChatGPT. However, even among domestic American corporations, competition to develop the finest and most powerful AI system is ongoing.

Microsoft recently unveiled several new AI-powered features for its current chatbot and web browser Edge that are said to compete with ChatGPT. DeepMind, Google’s AI branch, is also revamping to provide the most recent AI advancements.

Also Read: Solana Labs AI Can Now Fetch Blockchain Data With its ChatGPT Plugin

Conversely, China is continuing to create plans to maintain pace with US companies in the battle to develop Artificial Intelligence (AI). Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce behemoth, stated in April that it would launch a ChatGPT competitor dubbed Tongyi Qianwen in the “near future.” The chatbot will be integrated into Alibaba’s products, including its office messenger DingTalk. 

Chinese authorities have announced that all generative AI services published nationwide would be subject to an obligatory evaluation before being publicly used. 

Is China Edging Ahead of the US In The Race of AI? 

Due to competing interests, artificial intelligence may be an exception, at least in China.

At a recent dean’s conference on social science insights into the emergent global power, Harvard Economics Professor David Yang spoke about China’s AI sector’s outsized success. He highlighted a recent US government list of companies generating the highest accurate facial recognition technology as evidence. The top five corporations were all Chinese.

According to Yang, “Autocratic governments would like to be able to predict citizens’ whereabouts, thoughts, and behaviors, and AI is fundamentally a technology for prediction.” Yang also shared that this generates a purpose alignment between AI technology and autocratic dictators.

Because AI primarily relies on data, and autocratic governments are notorious for amassing vast amounts, Yang believes this benefits local companies with Chinese government contracts, who can use official data to enhance commercial ventures. 

Having said that, China’s actions have the potential to shift the competitive dynamics in the AI market, lowering worldwide dependency on US chips and offering alternative AI development alternatives. 

Read More About AI in Blockchain: AI Blockchain Solution CryptoGPT (GPT) Gets Listed on Leading Exchange Bitget