America isn’t the only country with a foot in the door of super-advanced next generation technology. Foreign interests make a definite impact as global tech industries make it more and more difficult to predict a clouded future of machine learning, complicated algorithms even their human creators don’t understand, and more information than we could ever hope to process with our silly human minds.
The Chinese company Baidu is a global leader in artificial intelligence, and many of us here in the United States overlook its importance. The company develops a wide range of popular apps from offices across the globe–including one here in the U.S.–and has over two billion users. At the beginning of 2017, Facebook hadn’t even crossed that benchmark. By the end of 2016, it had about 1.86 billion users.
When you think about the future of Baidu, you might compare it to Google. After all, Baidu holds over 75 percent of China’s search engine market share. But with a popular online storefront, and offerings to absurd amounts of downloadable media, Baidu is primed for bigger and better things.
Baidu Brain boasts voice recognition accuracy of at least 97 percent, and facial recognition accuracy of 99.7 percent. If you’ve used Google Photos, then you know its own facial recognition algorithms pale in comparison, having the tendency to pair similar faces in an album marked for only one person.
This is only the tip of the iceberg.
Like a number of American companies that had no interests in transportation before a rush for increased levels of artificial intelligence, Baidu hopes to accomplish fully autonomous driving by 2021. According to company representatives, Baidu is on track to achieve this feat before other behemoths like Google. It also intends to incorporate its voice recognition capabilities into the line of vehicles it will eventually release.
On November 27, Baidu and another Chinese company called Xiaomi announced a partnership in order to increase their reach into the Internet of Things (IoT). Imagine if Google and Apple joined forces in order to combine their knowledge for a singular future. That’s what this partnership is. We already know that Baidu and Xiaomi be building on deep learning foundations together, but the companies are keeping most of their plans far from public reach.
China recently dropped a news bomb acknowledging its intent to be the king of artificial intelligence by 2030, and companies like Baidu could make that target date a walk in the park.
Baidu is definitely a foreign company worth watching, especially if you’re an investor. It has a market cap of over $90 billion, and that doesn’t yet come close to Google’s, which crossed $600 billion earlier in 2017. The first $1 trillion company will likely be an American one, but that doesn’t mean we’ll be at the top for long.