China is developing AI without US chips: Here's how

China is developing AI without US chips: Here's how

U.S. sanctions have limited China’s access to the latest chip technology to develop AI, but local companies are not letting this stop them.


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The race to create artificial intelligence (AI) continues as China pushes forward the development of home-grown AI without utilizing the latest technology from the United States due to current sanctions. 

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Chinese companies are studying AI methods to develop AI via weaker semiconductors, along with combinations of chips, in order to bypass reliance on a single type of hardware. 

The report said researchers and analysts believe creating alternatives to such chips will be difficult for Chinese tech firms but some experiments have shown “promise.”

Sanctions imposed by the U.S. against China in October 2022 have deprived Chinese companies of accessing the most advanced chips on the market. This includes Nvidia’s A100 chips and the latest version, the H100, which are the most popular options in the AI development scene.

Currently, the Chinese market has access to Nvidia chips A800 and H800, which are only capable of small-scale AI models.

In April, the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba announced it will be rolling out a ChatGPT competitor in the “near future” to be called Tongyi Qianwen. Alibaba plans to integrate the chatbot within its suite of applications, including its workplace messenger DingTalk. 

Related: AI chatbot usage causes concern among 70% of Japanese adults: Survey

ChatGPT is the brainchild of the U.S.-based company OpenAI. However, the race to create the best and most powerful AI system is underway, even among local American companies.

Microsoft recently released various new AI-powered features for its preexisting chatbot Bing and web browser Edge, which are said to rival ChatGPT. Additionally, Google’s AI division DeepMind is said to be restructuring in order to deliver the latest AI breakthroughs.

Chinese authorities announced an upcoming mandatory review of all generative AI services released within the country before they are allowed to operate publicly. 

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