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Bitcoin did it better: AI Search Interest on Google Reaches Fever Pitch

The popularity of artificial intelligence (AI) has soared to unprecedented levels, as revealed by the latest data from Google. Although it has not yet reached the feverish hype surrounding Bitcoin’s peak at $27,113 in 2017, AI has been making waves in the headlines, leading some to label it as the newest “tech fad” following the trends of cryptocurrency and the metaverse.

OpenAI, a prominent player in the AI field, recently cautioned in a blog post on May 23 that within the next decade, AI will surpass human expertise in “most domains” and match the productivity of today’s largest corporations. This prediction has fueled the growing interest in AI worldwide, with a Google Trends score of 89, indicating a significant surge in search queries related to AI, particularly in the United States.

Despite its increasing popularity, AI’s search interest still falls short of Bitcoin’s peak search volume of 100 in December 2017, when Bitcoin was on the brink of reaching $20,000. Mark Schilsky, a technology specialist from Alliance Bernstein, observed that AI has yet to reach the hype surrounding Bitcoin, as outlined in a report by Business Insider. Schilsky’s analysis focused specifically on search trends in the United States.

The landscape is quite different in China, where cryptocurrency is banned and Google search is restricted. Baidu, the country’s preferred search engine, takes precedence over Google. According to Google Trends, Chinese users consistently displayed a higher search interest in AI than in Bitcoin every month since May 2013. However, there have been only three instances over the past decade when Bitcoin surpassed AI in search volume, coinciding with significant Bitcoin-related events.

The first occurrence occurred in November 2013, when Bitcoin’s price reached $300 on the now-defunct cryptocurrency exchange Mt. Gox. In December 2017, as Bitcoin soared to nearly $20,000, it surpassed AI in search interest again. The most recent instance happened in February 2021, following the news of Tesla’s $1.5 billion investment in Bitcoin and its decision to accept Bitcoin payments. It is worth noting that China banned cryptocurrencies in 2021, leading to zero search results for major cryptocurrency exchanges, as reported by Cointelegraph’s staff in China.

In contrast, China has experienced a surge in AI-related searches, reaching an all-time high of 100 in April 2023, with a current search score of around 94. Flytek, a Chinese AI company backed by the government, recently unveiled the “Spark Model,” an AI system designed to compete directly with OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Chinese officials have also emphasized the importance of safeguarding political security and improving internet data and AI security during a meeting on May 30. They expressed the need to be prepared for worst-case scenarios and withstand challenging circumstances.

While AI’s search interest has reached new heights globally, it still lags behind the hype surrounding Bitcoin. China presents a different scenario, with consistently higher AI search interest than Bitcoin. The growing significance of AI is reflected in the development of advanced AI systems and the emphasis placed on ensuring its security and governance. As AI continues evolving, it is poised to impact various industries and domains significantly.

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