China Plans to Take Over A.I. In Three Easy Steps

Just three easy steps to world domination!

Unsplash / Alex Knight

The rest of the world already expects China to become the world’s premier A.I. bastion within the next couple decades, and the Chinese are more than prepared to meet that challenge. The largest country in the world has just released a three-step plan for how it intends to capitalize on the opportunity and make a ton of cash: $147.7 billion, to be precise.

“Artificial intelligence has become a new engine of economic development,” the State Council’s document said, according to a translation acquired by CNBC.

Here’s what the country has it store:

Step 1: “New Generation” of A.I.

By 2020, China plans to develop what it’s calling a “new generation” of A.I. technology. What does this mean? Who the fuck knows! But the idea is for this type of A.I. software to be used more widespread, creeping into more consumer devices and applications. China also wants to develop a standard of policies and ethics for A.I. for the entire country to adhere to by this point.

Step 2: “Major Breakthrough”

By 2025, China wants to achieve a “major breakthrough” in A.I. Again, exactly what this means is completely nebulous, but the document states it involves a transformation in industrial applications, which would ostensibly translate into an economic boom for the rest of the country.

Step 3: World Domination, Basically

By 2030, China becomes the world leader in A.I. How? Let me point you back to the flawlessly detailed outline of steps 1 and 2.

A recent report from PricewaterhouseCoopers suggests A.I. could add as much as $16 trillion by 2030 thanks to A.I. About $7 trillion of that is expected to come straight from China. The country’s State Council, which released the three-step roadmap Thursday, is obviously thinking much more conservatively, but there’s no question it would prefer to reap closer to $7 trillion than $147.7 billion.

But seriously, it’s totally unclear. China is either being cagey about the details or simply expects the pieces to fall into line such that the country experiences a windfall of $147.7 billion.

However, based on other information, we can expect China to focus its investments and A.I. related actions into certain specific areas. The military will undoubtedly be one of them. Large Chinese tech companies like Alibaba and Baidu have been bullish about putting more effort into augmenting their A.I. applications, from driverless cars to more frivolous purposes.

But even those leading China’s development of A.I. have their reservations. Alibaba cofounder Jack Ma recently made some pointed comments about what China and the rest of the world could expect from the rush to make A.I. a critical part of the world economy.

“The third technology revolution may cause the Third World War,” Ma said last month. “The next 30 years are going to be painful.”

Let’s hope China’s State Council is prepared for such growing pains. The new report certainly doesn’t address those concerns.

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