Chip war and censorship hobble Chinese tech giants in chatbot race

By Poornima Weerasekara and Sebastien Ricci

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US restrictions on China do much less damage than Beijing's own restrictions on its tech sector. They are primarily to protect sales of American consumer tech and ensure that the US/5 Eyes can stick their spyware on all the major services operating in the West.

Censorship rules China out of AI because of all the gaffes that will go viral. Perhaps not such a bad thing, as so much 'AI' will be useless, toxic or just plain unreliable. Dictatorships can do stuff like science and maths, but in the humanities and social sciences, party doctrine trumps facts and suppresses the truth. That is why a Chinese degree in maths is as good as a Western one, but a Chinese degree in history isn't. So you can do tech related to the sciences, but social media and 'AI' chat bots are likely to get you a stint in a labour camp.

Surprising that China has a funding issue, as the West always complains about CCP state funding tipping the playing field. The US and its allies are using this as an excuse to tilt capitalism their way by giving trillions in public money to build stuff on their own turf, despite the economic and environmental damage deglobalising will cause.

To try to avoid emulating the Soviet and Chinese failures of top down innovation they are giving all of this public money to private companies. But as they make the decisions on what will be funded, intervening in the market at the expense of any entities that they don't fund, they are in charge, and are likely to 'fund and fail' as badly as the Soviet Union did and the CCP are.

China will be ruled out of the next big thing in tech anyway, as it will never allow distributed processing versions to replace the star topology internet services that it can easily spy on and censor. Internet innovation ends now in dictatorships, many of which will cut their internal nets off from the global internet. It may end in the West too, of course. Governments are really good at banning things. The only real difference is that China publicise it as a virtue, whilst the West do it on the sly using registration processes, privacy rules like GDPR, and public safety requirements to protect women, children and pets.

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They have splendid AI research in both countries, US and China. And although this bubble might be becoming smaller in China due to US restrictions, the contrary effect might even help Chinese economy, because if those two bubbles burst, and surely they will as AI is not the expected miracle medication for everything, then in Chin will burst only a smaller bubble but in US a significantly bigger one. Well, you surely know what effects that will have then.

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The thing is, once the language models are created, they’re finished. They can be and easily improved. No lead is a big lead.

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The strict restrictions on the Chinese internet mean companies have "significantly less data resources for training purposes compared to Western competitors", Lauren Hurcombe, a technology lawyer at DLA Piper, told AFP.


The lack of privacy controls and data-mining 'super-apps' combining a variety of customer data could be an advantage for China in the AI race though current efforts are hobbled by the lack of open-ended research.

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In a multipolar world, China will develop independence and America will lose its leading researchers and innovators.

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Considering the many new and emerging national security issues surrounding AI, especially its weaponization potential, hardly a surprise these technologies are being restricted.

After all, military budgets exploding in Japan and elsewhere BECAUSE of China, makes no sense to enable their military threat.

Real question, can China master AI with its political system's absolute power of industry? We've not seen truly great world class tech. emerge with such governance in the past.

After all, most technologists don't do their best work with an autocrat's gun constantly held to their head...Elon Musk or some other serious entrepreneur sounds a lot nicer!

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"The input may contain ethical content. Please try a different input."

Hmm, at the end of the day, we can only trust AI to be honest and without self interest.

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The secret sauce that China does not have, nor do many states in the US, is free thinking. Creative minds need to test new ideas, wild ideas, controversial ideas, in a free wheeling hot house environment where new ideas, new ways of doing things are welcomed and where information flows freely.

China is far to rigid for this kind of person. Information is too tightly held. Wild ideas like men wearing nail polish are punished. Laugh if you will and you would never see me wearing nail polish O_O but it is the kind of society that isn't offended by new and different that has the creative secret sauce. I know from experience that Shanghai has those kinds of creative minds and the right vibe but the rigidity of the CCP holds them back (gawd Shanghai could be such a hip Bohemian place if the CCP were gone !)There is a reason why Elon Musk put Telsa's design center in California and not Texas. The kind of people he needs would never live in Texas for any amount of money. A lot of the original Space Shuttle engineers refused to move to Florida and retired or went to other jobs, a move that cost the lives of astronauts as the good minds that built the Space Shuttle were gone. Commands from above by the Central Committee are not going to spur innovation. Innovators have to be free to try new things, make mistakes, maybe even fail big and not feel like they are going to be punished for trying something really off the wall. China under the CCP is never going to be that kind of place.

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Chinese just dont see themselves as equals to the west. Why on earth would a Chinese chatbot be given a western name? No confidence in Chinese names? Do they really feel so inferior they are unable to choose a strong common Chinese given name? Perhaps Ernie is actually a strong Russian name and they are naming it to praise Putin? That seems unlikely.

Perhaps it is a simple case of cultural appropriation?

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DT,their are 100 of thousands of millionaires in Houston Texas,I lived in Texas ,Texas has a free thinking population,why are people from California moving to Texas,most free thinking Texan live in urban areas

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DT,their are 100 of thousands of millionaires in Houston Texas,I lived in Texas ,Texas has a free thinking population,why are people from California moving to Texas,most free thinking Texan live in urban areas

You have millionaires in Houston because there is oil. I worked the oil patch. These are the least imaginative most rigid and conservative people imaginable, relics of the 19th Century robber barons. Their time is coming to a close. They are not imagining new technologies or new ways of organizing societies. They might be clever enough to exploit was someone else created but they are not creating new things. Emphatically not.

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To tell you how backward oilmen are. I recall when I worked a Chevron project in Papua New Guinea the Chevron managers would call the local workers "boys". I remember them telling one of the other managers "get me a couple of boys". You can view photos of what the people of Papua New Guinea look like. They never treated the locals with any respect because they were black. Rather they treated them like African American slaves and often called them the same things I recall my grandparents (born in the late 1800s) would call African Americans. It was like somebody turned the clock back 100 years.

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