China’s Brain Drain

“China’s AI talent base is growing, and then leaving” – this is what Joy Dantong Ma writes in an article with the same title. Artificial intelligence is promoted in the People’s Republic in various ways. Money is invested in technologies, institutions, and people. “China has been successful in producing AI talent, evidenced by the rapid growth of AI human capital over the last decade.” (MacroPolo, 30 July 2019) This seems to be good news for the country in the Far East. But the study to which the article refers comes to a different conclusion. While “Beijing has cultivated an army of top AI talent, well over half of that talent eventually ended up in America rather than getting hired by domestic companies and institutions”. “That’s because most of the government resources went into expanding the talent base rather than creating incentives and an environment in which they stay.” (MacroPolo, 30 July 2019) According to Joy Dantong Ma, Beijing seems to have recognized its failure in retaining talent. “The well-known New Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan, released in 2017, vowed to lure top-notch AI scientists in neural network, machine learning, self-driving cars, and intelligent robotics by opening up special channels and offering up competitive compensation packages. Still, it’s not clear that Beijing will be able to reverse the Chinese AI brains from draining to its biggest competitor, the United States.” (MacroPolo, 30 July 2019) Does the USA even want the talents? That is anything but clear in these times.

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