NDT Blog

China Lags Behind in Corporate AI Adoption

Posted on February 18, 2020

Jared Council of the WSJ writes {2/18/20}:

The U.S., France, the U.K., and Israel all score better than China on AI strategy in a Cognilytica report.

China, widely perceived as a global leader in artificial intelligence, doesn’t measure up to the U.S. and several other countries when it comes to an important component of AI strategy—adoption by businesses that aren’t startups—a new study found.
The report by research firm Cognilytica compared countries using five metrics and determined that China lagged behind in one of them: AI activity by major corporations. The other metrics were the country’s AI strategy, government funding, research activity, and venture-capital and startup activity.
The four countries in the top tier, classified as having the strongest AI strategies—the U.S., France, the U.K., and Israel—scored top marks across all five categories. Nations in the second tier—China, Canada, Germany, Japan and South Korea—were behind in one of the five metrics, according to the report released this month.
When it comes to AI, enterprise investment and adoption is important because it affects companies’ ability to compete internationally, which in turn has economic implications for a country, according to Cognilytica principal analyst Ronald Schmelzer, a co-author of the report.
In China, he said, “The action is happening in the government, and the action is happening in the startup community. The action is not happening as strongly in the enterprise.” He added: “The only area that China is less competitive, if you will, than the United States is the extent to which their enterprises—their banks, their manufacturing companies, their shipping companies—are adopting AI.”
Stephen Rodriguez, senior adviser at the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, said his research echoes the findings of the Cognilytica report. He said China is known for widespread adoption of consumer-facing AI, such as facial-recognition systems used in retail, but the country “does lag when it comes to commercial enterprise adoption of AI technologies.”
The U.S. is investing heavily in AI to maintain its global edge. The White House on Feb. 10 proposed roughly doubling nondefense research-and-development spending on artificial intelligence and quantum information sciences, citing fierce global competition. Under the plan, annual spending on AI would rise to more than $2 billion within the next two years.