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China leads the world in adoption of generative AI, survey shows

2024.07.09 17:58

By Eduardo Baptista

BEIJING (Reuters) – China is leading the world in adopting generative AI, a new survey shows, the latest sign the country is making strides in the technology that gained global attention after U.S.-based OpenAI’s ChatGPT launched in late 2022.

In a survey of 1,600 decision-makers in industries worldwide by U.S. AI and analytics software company SAS and Coleman Parkes Research, 83% of Chinese respondents said they used generative AI, the technology underpinning ChatGPT.

That was higher than the 16 other countries and regions in the survey, including the United States, where 65% of respondents said they had adopted GenAI.

The global average was 54%.

The industries surveyed included banking, insurance, healthcare, telecommunications, manufacturing, retail and energy.

The results underscore China’s rapid progress in the generative AI field, which gained momentum after Microsoft-backed OpenAI released ChatGPT in November 2022, prompting dozens of Chinese companies to launch their own versions.

Last week, a report by the United Nations’ World Intellectual Property Organization showed China was leading the GenAI patent race, filing more than 38,000 between 2014 and 2023 against 6,276 filed by the United States in the same period.

While many leading international generative AI service providers, including OpenAI, face curbs in China, the country has developed a robust domestic industry, with offerings from tech giants such as ByteDance to startups such as Zhipu.

Enterprise adoption of generative AI in China is expected to accelerate as a price war is likely to further reduce the cost of large language model services for businesses.

The SAS report also said China led the world in continuous automated monitoring (CAM), which it described as “a controversial but widely-deployed use case for generative AI tools”.

This technology can collect and analyze vast amounts of data on users’ activities, behaviour and communications, which can lead to privacy infringements as they are not aware of the extent of the data being collected or how it is used, said Udo Sglavo, vice president of applied AI and modelling at SAS.

“The algorithms and processes used in CAM are often proprietary and not transparent,” Sglavo added.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An AI (Artificial Intelligence) sign is seen at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai, China July 6, 2023. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

“This can make it difficult to hold the entities using CAM accountable for misuse or errors.”

He added, “China’s advancements in CAM contribute to its broader strategy of becoming a global leader in artificial intelligence and surveillance technologies.”



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