The AI race is on

1 min read

News that the Chinese tech giant, Alibaba, is pushing into leading-edge technologies is being viewed by many as the latest twist in the accelerating technological arms race between China and the US.

The company is looking to develop superfast quantum computers and is also looking to develop, and then make commercially available, artificial intelligence chips within the next 12 months.

Nothing wrong with ambition and who’s to say they wont deliver on this. And while there may be plenty of commentators who doubt they’ll be able to achieve this, it's worth considering the depth of the company’s knowledge in terms of algorithms, data intelligence and computing power.

The news also raises an interesting issue in the light of the on-going trade war between the two economic behemoths.

China is increasingly moving towards self-reliance not only as a result of the trade war with the US – it’s companies are big buyers of chips from leading US companies like Intel and Qualcomm – but due to US concerns, and reactions to, the growing technological prowess of Chinese tech companies.

Many critics suggest that China's technical prowess is built on stolen intellectual property, and the US administration has sought to restrict the sale of tech assets and the creation of joint ventures involving Chinese companies.

Alibaba has said that any products that appear will, initially, be for the domestic market, but in time they will be offered to external clients.

To be honest Alibaba has a very long road to traverse to be able to compete with its more established US competitors, but the AI race is certainly heating up with this announcement.