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China's AI feeding frenzy leaves gap between hype and reality

Talent shortage and overweening bureaucracy threaten Beijing's ambitions

China is determined to lead the world in AI, but its success is not a foregone conclusion.   © Reuters

HONG KONG -- The number of potential board positions in the game of Go is usually estimated at 10172, more than the number of atoms in the universe. So when AlphaGo, a computer program developed by Google, beat a Chinese master of the game in 2017, it created an understandable frenzy of excitement over what artificial intelligence might achieve.

That excitement has since morphed into another type of frisson. Futurologists and consultants have begun to predict that when AI starts to transform our daily lives, China will become the leading technological power.

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