Can China create a world-beating AI industry?

“SOUTH OF THE Huai river few geese can be seen through the rain and snow.” In classical Chinese this verse is a breakthrough—not in literature but in computing power. The line, composed by an artificial intelligence (AI) language model called Wu Dao 2.0, is indistinguishable in metre and tone from ancient poetry. The lab that built the software, the Beijing Academy of Artificial Intelligence (BAAI), challenges visitors to its website to distinguish between Wu Dao and flesh-and-blood 8th-century masters. Anecdotal evidence suggests that it fools most testers.

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The system, whose name means “enlightenment” and which can

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