Still, China is not yet the dominant force in the world of AI.
“The innovation is still coming from the U.S. and that’s thanks to, obviously, a huge network of universities that are fed by the world’s greatest talent — not just Chinese engineers coming to the U.S., and computer scientists, but also from India and everywhere else,” Ben Harburg, managing partner at MSA Capital, told CNBC at the East Tech West conference last month. “That advantage, for the next few years at least, stays with the U.S.”
Still, Harburg noted China’s large data sets, and the country’s large number of graduates in STEM fields.
“China will be where you monetize and, by nature of the beast, eventually they will start to innovate far beyond the U.S. — but a couple years away,” he added.
Meanwhile, Friedman said the race in AI could potentially come down to politics. More specifically, U.S. President Donald Trump’s stance on immigration.
“What really drove our economy forward, what drives any economy, is that we had a higher percentage than any other country of high-IQ risk takers … people who start new companies, and new businesses, and create new medical and new engineering breakthroughs,” he said. “Trump basically has put out a sign in our front yard that says, ‘Get off my lawn.'”