Patent Data Unveils China’s Dominance in Large Language Models (like ChatGPT)

In recent years, Large Language Models (LLMs) like @OpenAI’s ChatGPT have taken the world of artificial intelligence (AI) by storm. But have you ever wondered where the majority of innovations in this field are occurring? Today, we’ll dive into the patent data around LLMs and discuss the implications of this information on the global technology landscape.

The Emergence of LLMs

Just five years ago, LLMs were virtually nonexistent in the patent space. This fact is significant, given that AI and machine learning have been present in patent literature for decades. Historically, AI in language processing was largely rule-based, which limited its effectiveness.

However, LLMs have recently emerged as a game-changing technology, fundamentally altering the AI landscape.

The Geographic Distribution of LLM Patents

One might assume that most LLM patents would be filed in the US or EU, where well-known examples of this technology are based. Surprisingly, this assumption is incorrect.

A staggering 65% of all LLM patents are filed in China. While China’s intellectual property (IP) market is often inflated for various reasons, this dominance in LLMs cannot be explained by the Chinese patent system alone.

China’s Commitment to LLMs

The truth is that China has been investing time and resources into large language AI for longer than most Western countries. This dedication is evident in the top assignees of Chinese LLM patents, which include tech giants like Baidu, Bytedance (TikTok), Tencent, and Alibaba. This list diverges from the typical university and tech farm assignees that are common in other Chinese IP sectors.

The LLM Arms Race

When influential tech figures like Elon Musk call for a pause on LLM development in the US, it’s worth questioning whether this approach is wise. LLMs are, in effect, an arms race in the AI world, and Western countries are falling behind.

A Call to Action

Instead of hitting the brakes, Western countries should be ramping up their efforts in LLM development. To compete with China’s dominance, massive government grants should be allocated to research and development in this field. The urgency of this situation calls for a Language Model Manhattan Project, similar in scale to the historic initiative that led to the development of the atomic bomb.

The Stakes

The race to dominate the LLM space is not just about technology; it’s about global influence. Owning the LLM landscape is tantamount to winning the content culture war. China currently holds an unequivocal advantage in LLMs, and it’s time for Western powers to recognize this reality and sprint to catch up.