Western researchers and professors will not move to China in large numbers until it becomes a world class modern country, i.e., with rich salaries and having democratic institutions, with freedom of speech, not having the internet nor books censored, as is regrettably the case today. I calculate that China may become a democracy in about 10-15 years, based on the global trend of democratization. There are 120+ democracies in the world today (of about 200 countries). At the rate they are democratizing, there will be no more dictatorships left by about 2040. China is changing so fast that it will get richer and hence democratize more quickly than the very poor Arab and Black African nations, whose populations are often growing faster than their economies. Hence it will democratize in 10-15 years.
So if China becomes a modern foreigner-friendly state that is able to make talented foreign researchers feel welcome, then it can assemble the international research teams to build real A.I. this century. If China continues its incredible economic growth rate, then we will see a “brain drain to China” from the US and Europe heating up in about 10 years. (By about 2020, many cities in the east of China will have reached U.S. purchasing power levels, e.g., Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Hanzhou, Xiamen, Beijing, etc. Shenzhen, the richest city in China, is almost at that level today.)
MLU: AI researchers often speak of their funding problems. You have said of the American university research grant financing system:
The American public is not sufficiently admiring of higher education to be willing to pay for it. There is a historical trend in the US that the percentage of the budgets of state universities that is paid for by state taxes is dropping. Raising student fees is one way to make up the short fall. Another is to tax the research grants of the professors more heavily.
Many US universities now take 40%, 50%, even 60% of the research grant money obtained by its professors to pay its heating bills, etc. As the state subsidy drops, the pressure on new professors is intense. US universities will only hire new professors who prove themselves to be good salesmen, i.e., good hustlers in scraping up money.
That's a sad state of affairs, and you cite it as one of the reasons why you eventually sought employment outside of the United States. What can the US do to promote a more nurturing environment for its researchers?