The secret weapon of American AI-Chinese talent, the international situation affects the flow of talent

Posted Jun 16, 20205 min read

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Technical Editor:Mango Fruit
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As China pays more and more attention to technological innovation, and the talent introduction policy has become more and more perfect, more and more overseas talents have begun to choose to develop in China.

Last year, Daniel Povey, the father of Kaldi, a great god in the field of international speech recognition, refused Facebook to come to China and chose Xiaomi. Last week, Intel chip designer Jim Keller resigned, and Chinese netizens commented that they were welcome to work for Chinese companies.

In fact, not only Chinese companies want to introduce overseas talents, but overseas countries have also left many top Chinese talents.

Recently, a MacroPolo research report showed that nearly one-third of Chinese-educated researchers have published papers at the world s top AI conferences, and most of them live in the United States and serve American companies and universities. jobs.

MacroPolo research believes that educated scientists in China have helped American companies and universities dominate the frontier of AI. Continued tensions in the political situation may weaken the current US advantage.

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Many pioneering work in the United States is driven by the Chinese brain

MacroPolo's report shows that more than half of the 128 Chinese university undergraduate degree researchers who published papers at AI conferences work in the United States.

When the US Department of Defense launched the Maven project(which aims to reshape US military technology through artificial intelligence), it relied on a team of approximately 12 engineers working at Google. According to insiders, most of them are Chinese.

People familiar with the matter said that despite the escalating tensions between China and the United States, the US Department of Defense concluded that the project did not involve confidential data and that the United States needs the most qualified personnel to complete the work.

As Sino-U.S. relations continue to friction, the Trump administration is taking action to restrict Chinese access to advanced research in the United States. This has worried many companies and scientists engaged in cutting-edge artificial intelligence research, because many pioneering work in the United States is Propelled by the Chinese brain.

The latest research from the MacroPolo agency of the Paulson Institute shows that nearly one-third of the authors published in a prestigious artificial intelligence conference last year were educated researchers in China. More than any other country. The survey also found that most of them live in the United States and work for American companies and universities.

This research shows that these Chinese scholars are helping the United States play a leading role in an important strategically important field that allows future computers to make decisions, identify faces, find criminals, select military targets, and drive vehicles.

Many people study and live in the United States and work with American employers. They are now worried that students and professional talents will end for political reasons.

Lisa Li, a Chinese engineer who recently graduated from Johns Hopkins University, said:"Sacrificing international students is killing chickens and eggs. This will eventually destroy the future competitiveness of the United States."

Political situation affects the flow of international talent

China regards artificial intelligence as a strategically important field. The government has invested a lot of money in researchers, the purpose is to let them work for Chinese companies and institutions.

The United States has noticed China s technological ambitions and strengthened the enforcement of the disclosure rules of American universities and institutions. Last month, the US government also promulgated a new list of entities and plans to cancel visas for researchers and graduate students directly related to the Chinese military.

Co-author of this research, MacroPolo analyst Matt Sheen believes that a wide range of obstacles to Chinese talent may undermine the United States' leading position in artificial intelligence.

He said:"These people are some of the smartest people in China. They chose to work in American research laboratories, teach American students and help establish American companies. If the United States no longer welcomes these top researchers, Beijing will welcome them with open arms."

Macropolo looked at a sample of papers published at the Neural Information Processing System Conference last year. As we all know, NeuroIPS focuses on the theoretical progress in the fields of neural networks and deep learning, which have anchored the latest developments in the field of artificial intelligence. The study found that more than half of the papers were written by American authors.

The agency also surveyed the schools of these paper authors and found that nearly 30%of them are pursuing undergraduate degrees in China more than any other country, and more than half of them continue to study, work and live in the United States.

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Chinese artificial intelligence researchers may have more opportunities in the United States. The survey found that these researchers preferred companies and universities include Google, Stanford, Carnegie Mellon University, MIT, and Microsoft Research. Tsinghua University and Peking University, the two best universities in China, are the only Chinese universities among the top 25 institutions.

Multiple studies have shown that Chinese people studying AI in the United States are likely to stay. A study by Georgetown University s Center for Security and Emerging Technology showed that in 2018, 9 out of 10 people who completed a Ph.D. in the United States spent at least 5 years in the United States after graduation.

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These figures show no signs of declining, but some organizations say that the recent tension between China and the United States has begun to affect the flow of talent.

Oren Etzioni, CEO of the Allen Institute for Intelligence in Seattle, said:"I am terrified of what the government has done. The number of applications from researchers in China has decreased significantly. How many times can you say it in others "I'm not going to try" to drive them out before setting barriers for them?"

Chinese-born researchers are permanent members in the field of artificial intelligence in the United States. Li Deng, a former Microsoft researcher and now chief artificial intelligence officer at Citadel, a hedge fund, helped transform the voice recognition technology used in smartphones and coffee table digital assistants. Stanford University professor FeiFei Li worked at Google for less than two years, helping him promote a revolution in the field of computer vision, which is the science that makes software recognizable.


A certain degree of government restriction is natural. Industry insiders believe that the difference in artificial intelligence research is that researchers can find that anyone can use it. The industry should not look for intellectual property rights, but for the research mind.

Jack Clark, director of policy at the famous San Francisco laboratory OpenAI, said:"For many basic AI research, the key factor in progress is people, not algorithms."

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