Seeking to outsmart US, China races ahead on artificial intelligence

Chinese students work on the Ares, a humanoid bipedal robot designed by them with funding from a Shanghai investment company, displayed during the World Robot Conference in Beijing on Oct. 21, 2016. China’s goal is to transform the country into a global leader in artificial intelligence in just over a decade. (Ng Han Guan AP)


When a Google computer program beat the world’s best player of an ancient Chinese board game last May, it might have seemed like an incremental milestone.

But for some, the success of the program known as AlphaGo marked more than a man vs. machine clash. It set up a broader race between China and the United States over artificial intelligence, a competition that could mold the future of humankind just as the widespread arrival of electricity did in the last century.

The Go tournament took place in Wuzhen, a city of canals that is more than 1,300 years old, a fitting venue for a competition involving the strategy board game Go that has been played for several thousand years. Go is renowned for its complexity, and it is said that there are more variations to the game than there are atoms in the universe.

Perhaps it was a coincidence of timing, but the AlphaGo competition kicked off events that demonstrated China’s resolve to close the gap with — and quickly surpass — the United States in deploying artificial intelligence, or AI. Goals Chinese authorities announced last July are ambitious: Reach parity with the United States by 2020, achieve major breakthroughs by 2025, and “occupy the commanding heights of AI technology by 2030” as the world’s undisputed leader.

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How Many Muslims In The World? Islam Set To Overtake Christianity As Most Popular Religion, While US Population Also Rapidly Growing

Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world and will overtake Christianity as the most popular before the end of this century, according to an analysis of religious surveys published Tuesday by the Pew Research Center.

With 1.6 billion, Muslims made up 23 percent of the world’s population, according to a 2010 Pew estimate. That figure was still some way short of the 2.2 billion Christians which comprised 31 percent of the population. Continue reading

Dollar to hit parity with euro in 2017


The dollar is likely to hit parity with the euro during 2017 driven by diverging paths for interest rates, according to Goldman Sachs’ chief economist.

The Federal Reserve is likely to hike interest rates three times in 2017, pushing it even further from the rate positioning stance of Europe during the course of the year, Jan Hatzius told CNBC at the Goldman Sachs Strategy Conference in London on Monday. Continue reading

British pound could hit history-making dollar parity by end of 2016

Debate continues as some analysts predict $1.20-$1.30 could hold for sterling this year

Investors should prepare for the British pound to hit parity with the U.S. dollar by the end of the year or early in 2017, said at least one analyst — and should parity happen, it’ll be a first.

After last week’s surprise U.K. vote to exit the European Union trading bloc, sterling fell more than 12% against the dollar on Friday before trimming some of its unprecedented drop late in the U.S. trading day. But bears regained the upper hand on Monday, sending the currency to a fresh 30-year low at $1.3121. Continue reading

As Euro Slides, Strategists Cut Forecasts

Some Investors See Single Currency Falling to Parity With U.S. Dollar

A day after the European Central Bank unveiled its bond-buying program, the single currency still was in free fall, blowing past analysts’ expectations for how low the euro can go.

Some investors now say the euro could fall to the point where it is on equal footing with the U.S. dollar for the first time since it climbed above the buck in late 2002.

“If you would have asked me a few months ago, I would’ve said that parity could be in the cards in the years ahead. Now, we can’t rule it out anymore even by the end of this year,” said Thomas Kressin, head of European foreign exchange at Pacific Investment Management Co., or Pimco, which has $1.68 trillion under management. Continue reading

Euro Fall Would Raise Stakes for China, US

With the possibility of Greece, already in shambles and under consideration of exiting the Eurozone, the Euro most likely could afford to absorb the loss of one member nation. However, with Italy and Spain on the brink of disaster themselves, there is no way of controlling what will be an outright implosion of the EU. Should that happen, and it’s likely a gaurantee at this point, you could likely count the days on one hand until the United States follows suit.

The situation in the euro zone has become so bleak that it is giving rise to the most improbable rumours. The latest to make the rounds of European hedge fund managers suggests that the euro will be tied to the dollar at close to parity, a dramatic fall from its current level of just under $1.30 and one that would involve the printing of hundreds of billions of euros.

If the euro collapses that will be especially bad news for China though, since 18 per cent of China’s exports go to Europe. In April, Chinese exports to the euro zone were down 2.4 per cent from a year ago, according to broker CLSA. Some of those exports were from German makers in China itself. For example, Pakistani textile mills have recently imported capital equipment from Siemens plants on the mainland. But if the euro sinks, German manufacturers will export from home rather than from their Chinese factories.

Some analysts suspect that China has been trying to support the euro and indeed, data from BNY Mellon suggests that as the growth in Chinese reserves slows, the euro falls.

Meanwhile, the liquidity from the excess printing of money especially in the U.S. continues to spill over into the rest of the world.

Full article: Euro Fall Would Raise Stakes for China, US (CNBC)