Microsoft President Brad Smith Warns Of Chinese Rivals In AI Race

April 28, 2023

By Sharan Kaur Phillora

Microsoft President Brad Smith has cautioned that the development of generative AI could soon face stiff competition from Chinese research institutions and firms. Smith focuses in an interview with Nikkei Asia that China will participate in the race to innovate and emerge as a leading player in the development of generative AI.

Here’s what we know: 

Competition among leaders in the development of generative AI is fierce, and organizations such as OpenAI (ChatGPT) with Microsoft, Google, and the Beijing Academy of Artificial Intelligence are at the forefront of this technology. 

“Who’s ahead and who’s behind can change a bit from one part of the year to another, but one thing has been absolutely constant: the gap is almost always measured in months, not years,” Smith said, calling the race to innovate “enormously competitive.”

Generative AI, the technology behind ChatGPT, can produce text and images with sophistication levels close to those of humans. However, there are concerns that this technology could replace jobs. And contribute to the spread of misinformation, copyright infringement, and data breaches.

“What we have fundamentally found is that technology innovation, when pursued well, can actually lead to stronger defense at the expense of strong offense. That’s the real lesson from the war in Ukraine,”  he asserted, citing American IT firms like Microsoft that have assisted Ukraine in fending off Russian cyberattacks throughout the course of the conflict’s year-long duration.

But China is not the only one. Japan is already tapping into ChatGPT to lighten workloads and address labor shortages. The country’s three biggest banks are using it to respond to internal queries and reduce paperwork, while insurers such as Tokio Marine are developing an AI system based on the ChatGPT platform to write draft answers for queries from policyholders and insurance agents. 

Smith believes that such technology can help address one of Asia’s biggest challenges, which is the need to find new sources of productivity growth to support an aging population.

And as the development of AI continues to progress, it will be crucial to find a balance between innovation and addressing concerns about potential negative impacts.

About the author

Sharan Kaur Phillora’s thirst for knowledge has led her to study many different subjects, including NFTs and Blockchain technology – two emerging technologies that will change how we interact with each other in the future. When she isn’t exploring a new idea or concept, she enjoys reading literary masterpieces.

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