BigStock Photo China wants to become the world leader in artificial intelligence by 2030 — but by Seattle’s , or AI2, suggests that Chinese researchers are on track to take the lead well before that. The analysis is based on a tally of the most impactful research papers in the AI field, as measured by AI2’s academic search engine. “If current trends continue, within five years, China will surpass us in terms of the top, highest-impact papers,” the institute’s CEO, Oren Etzioni, told GeekWire. “The other thing to realize is that citations are what you might call a lagging indicator, because the paper has to be published, people have to read it, and they have to write their own paper and cite it.” Thus, the analysis is likely to understate China’s current influence in AI research, Etzioni said. “The bottom line is, Chinese AI research is startling in quantity and quality,” he said. AI2’s findings are consistent with what tech analysts have been saying over the past year or two. Last year, found that 48 percent of the $15.2 billion invested in AI startups globally in 2017 went to China, with just 38 percent going to U.S. startups. Oren Etzioni is the CEO of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence. (GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle) That’s just the start: China’s State Council has by 2030 — and put that expertise in the service of what’s becoming a . Etzioni said the AI2 analysis shows that research in artificial intelligence has grown dramatically over the past three decades, from 5,000 published papers in 1985 to 140,000 in 2018. Over that time, there have been many studies tracking the progress of AI research, but Etzioni said Semantic Scholar provides new perspective. “First of all, this is the most up-to-date result, because we’ve analyzed papers through 2018,” he said. “Secondly, what’s unique is we looked at this notion of most-cited papers, because we’re after impact.” The analysis shows that, in terms of sheer volume of research papers, China surpassed the U.S. back in 2006. Since then, China’s trend line has gone through ups and downs (and ups), but never fell below the U.S. totals. Semantic Scholar told a different story when it came to the top 50 percent, the 10 percent and the top 1 percent of academic studies, as measured by citation counts. Those charts show a gradual decline in the percentage of papers attributed primarily to U.S. authors, and an accelerating rise in the Chinese percentage. The Chinese Academy of Sciences led the list of China’s research institutions when it came to citations, followed by Nanyang Technological University, Tsinghua University, the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. If the trend lines are extended, China should surpass the United States this year for the top 50 percent, next year for the top 10 percent, and by 2025 for the top 1 percent. This chart shows the market share for the top 1 percent of AI papers, as determined by citation impact. Extending the trend lines suggests that Chinese researchers will produce more of the “cream of the crop” in AI research by 2025. (AI2 Graphic / Field Cady / Oren Etzioni) China’s AI rise has already sparked concerns in Washington, D.C., leading to the establishment of a as well as a at the Pentagon. The White House budget proposal for fiscal year 2020, , would set aside $208 million for the AI center. Etzioni argued that the federal government’s AI strategy should put more emphasis on basic research. “We need to stop what the Trump administration has been doing, which is using various ways to discourage immigration of students and scholars into this country,” he said. “We need more of those talented people, like we always have. AI2 is highly international, and that’s been a huge boon for us.” Setting aside more money for basic research in AI will also be essential, Etzioni said. Last month, President Donald Trump , and this week’s budget proposal made . But those documents didn’t provide specifics. “We need those specifics,” Etzioni said. “And we need them even sooner than we had thought.” Authors of the AI2 analysis, ” are Field Cady and Oren Etzioni. The researchers used to classify AI papers for the purpose of the study. Check the full analysis for details about the methodology.
It seems like we’ve moved to the Midwest or East Coast with Seattle weather lately. And days like these make us think about how technology can help kids continue to learn when they’re outside the classroom. An upcoming weekend hack event will focus on improving education using technology. takes place Feb. 22 and Feb. 23 in Seattle. “Discover how developments like voice, AI, ML, and AR/VR will forever change the way we learn and teach information,” according to a description from the event site. Here are more highlights from the GeekWire Calendar: : A talk from fashion startup Armoire about how they’ve used machine learning in their business at Ada’s Technical Books in Seattle; 6 p.m. to 8 p.m Thursday, Feb. 21. If you’re a comic book fan, Seattle’s MoPop museum is currently showcasing The exhibit has more than 300 items on display, including props and costumes from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as well as old, rare or out-of-print comics. The installation runs through March 2. : A presentation about Artificial Intelligence from startup veteran, computer scientist and Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence CEO Oren Etzioni at Create 33 in Seattle; 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb.26. : The first night in a series of hackathons where contestants work in teams to develop and program donkey cars at Code Fellows in Seattle; 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26. : An event highlighting current trends and innovations in robotics at WeWork Labs in Seattle; 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28. : A competition where five startups pitch their company to the audience members at The Collective in Seattle; 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28. For more upcoming events, check out the , where you can find meetups, conferences, startup events, and geeky gatherings in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Organizing an event? .
Artificial intelligence could open the door to applications in a variety of technological fields. (NIST Illustration / N. Hanacek) The White House is moving forward with the American AI Initiative, a set of policies aimed at focusing the full resources of the federal government on the frontiers of artificial intelligence. President Donald Trump is due to sign an executive order launching the initiative on Monday. Among its provisions is a call for federal agencies to prioritize AI in their research and development missions, and to prioritize fellowship and training programs to help American workers gain AI-relevant skills. The initiative also directs agencies to make federal data, models and computing resources more available to academic and industry researchers, “while maintaining the security and confidentiality protections we all expect.” “This action will drive our top-notch AI research toward new technological breakthroughs and promote scientific discovery, economic competitiveness and national security,” the White House said in a statement. As a trust-building measure, federal agencies are being asked to establish regulatory guidelines for AI development and use across different types of technology and industrial sectors. The National Institute of Standards and Technology is being given the lead role in the development of technical standards for reliable, trustworthy, secure and interoperable AI systems. The White House says an action plan will be developed “to preserve America’s advantage in collaboration with our international partners and allies.” “In , President Trump committed to investing in cutting-edge industries of the future,” Michael Kratsios, deputy assistant to the president for technology policy, said in a prepared statement. “The American AI Initiative follows up on that promise with decisive action to ensure AI is developed and applied for the benefit of the American people.” This week’s action comes amid rising concern about American competitiveness in artificial intelligence research and development. and the are both pushing ahead with multibillion-dollar AI research and development programs. In response, the White House has , and a with Amazon’s Andy Jassy and Microsoft’s Eric Horvitz among its members. and are among the hundreds of companies that are making AI a high priority in R&D, resulting in well-known products such as Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana AI voice assistants (as well as similar AI agents offered by Apple and Google). AI capabilities such as machine learning and computer vision are also key to the development of and . Stacey Dixon, director of the , or IARPA, said AI applications are also highly relevant to national security. “Understanding imagery is one of the most evident opportunities for us to use AI, due to the sheer quantity of data to be analyzed and AI’s demonstrated effectiveness at image categorization,” she said. “However, IARPA also develops AI to address other intelligence challenges, including human language transcription and translation, facial recognition in real-world environments, sifting through videos to find nefarious activities, and increasing AI’s resilience to many kinds of attacks by adversaries.” Those AI tools could be used for nefarious purposes as well, however. , a consortium including the and called on policymakers to collaborate closely with researchers to investigate, prevent and mitigate potentially malicious uses of AI.