EDITO – Artificial intelligence: China towards “spectacular progress”, points out François Lenglet

My boss is a robot. A artificial intelligence system feminine, Tang Yu, will be at the head of Netdragon, a video game company employing 4,700 people in Fujian province, southeast China. The company’s founder propelled a computer to the management of one of its subsidiaries.

This story sounds like a joke. But not at all. Netdragon is a listed company worth almost a billion euros. It is, according to the human pattern, streamline decision-making and integrate as much data as possible to run the business.

The computer will not have a salary or stock options while it will work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Tang Yu will be in constant contact with the communities of players in the metaverse, virtual universe which constitutes the field manufacturers in the video game sector.

Computers, new decision makers?

Decision makers, no. Advisers, of course. A financial company in Hong Kong had introduced an artificial intelligence system to its board of directors. More prosaically, in the warehouses of large logistics companies, human employees already obey expert systems to prepare orders and store packages. Their foreman is a robot. In China, Baidu, one of the country’s GAFAs, has just opened a driverless taxi service in the cities of Wuhan and Chongqing.

In terms of the use of robots and artificial intelligence, China is at the forefront. For robots, those found in factories, the country installed nearly 250,000 in 2021, or half of the equipment put into service on the planet that year, up 44% compared to the previous year.

And for artificial intelligence systems, China is in spectacular stride. So much so that a report that an American report published this week, led by Eric Schmidt, former boss of Google, considers that this is one of the areas in which the supremacy of the United States is threatened by 2030. He sees there the risk of domination of the planet by China, both in the control of data and in the computer power to exploit them.

An inevitable Chinese domination?

The Americans are doing everything to counter it. The first is to reduce dependence on China. According to the Schmidt report, almost all of the electronic components used by the Pentagon come from Chinese companies, at one time or another during their manufacture. The United States is therefore investing heavily in production, tens of billions. And they block the export of technologically sensitive products to China. The battle of artificial intelligence has begun.

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EDITO – Artificial intelligence: China towards “spectacular progress”, points out François Lenglet


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