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AI Search Interest Surges, But Bitcoin Still Reigns: A Global Perspective

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AI vs. Bitcoin: Search Interest Showdown

Google Trends data reveals that while AI captures attention globally, it falls short of the feverish search interest witnessed during Bitcoin’s 2017 mania. However, the story is different in China, where unique factors influence search trends and preferences.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has emerged as a prominent topic, dominating headlines and sparking discussions across various industries. With the potential to revolutionize technology and reshape the future, AI has garnered significant attention.

Yet, when comparing global search interest for AI and Bitcoin, it becomes evident that Bitcoin’s popularity in 2017 remains unmatched.

AI’s Rise to Prominence

Over the past few months, AI has gained substantial traction, prompting some to label it as the latest “tech fad” following the hype surrounding cryptocurrencies and the metaverse. OpenAI executives recently warned of AI’s rapid progress, forecasting that within the next decade, AI will exceed expert skill levels in most domains and rival the productivity of large corporations.

While the search interest for AI has reached a fever pitch globally, clocking in at 89 on Google Trends, it still falls short of Bitcoin’s peak search interest of 100 in December 2017, during the time when Bitcoin was nearing its then-all-time high of $20,000. This comparison highlights the enduring impact of Bitcoin’s historic surge on public interest and curiosity.

AI vs. Bitcoin in the US

Analyzing search trends specifically in the United States, technology specialist Mark Schilsky from Alliance Bernstein noted that AI’s search interest is “still far below the absolute hype of Bitcoin.” This observation underscores the lingering fascination with Bitcoin’s meteoric rise, which captured the attention of mainstream audiences and became a cultural phenomenon.

Schilsky compared the search volumes for three buzzy segments of the tech industry over the past decade: “AI,” “metaverse,” and “Bitcoin.” His analysis reveals that Bitcoin consistently garnered higher search volumes compared to AI, suggesting that Bitcoin’s allure continues to resonate with the American public.

China’s AI Dominance

In contrast to the global landscape, China presents a unique scenario. With cryptocurrency banned and Google search restricted, the Chinese populace relies on alternative platforms like Baidu for their search queries. Google Trends data indicates that Chinese users have consistently shown more search interest in AI than Bitcoin on a monthly basis since May 2013.

However, there were three notable instances over the past decade when Bitcoin surpassed AI in search interest in China. These occurrences coincided with significant Bitcoin-related events that captivated the Chinese market. In November 2013, Bitcoin exceeded AI as the most searched term, aligning with its then-highest price of $300 on the now-defunct exchange Mt. Gox.

Similarly, in December 2017, when Bitcoin soared to nearly $20,000, it regained the lead in search interest. The most recent event took place in February 2021, as Bitcoin surged above $43,000 following Tesla’s announcement of a substantial Bitcoin investment. As of today’s price, Bitcoin is valued at approximately $27,000.

China’s AI Ambitions

Despite the ban on cryptocurrencies, China remains fervently committed to advancing AI technology. The country’s search interest in AI reached an all-time high of 100 in April 2023, with the current search score hovering around 94.

To reinforce its AI capabilities, China’s state-sponsored company, Flytek, recently unveiled “Spark Model,” an AI system designed to compete directly with OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

Chinese officials have emphasized the need to safeguard political security and enhance internet data and AI governance. During a recent meeting, they highlighted the importance of being prepared for worst-case scenarios and extreme challenges, emphasizing the significance of internet data and AI security.

The Ever-Evolving Landscape

As AI continues to capture global attention, Bitcoin’s 2017 mania retains a special place in public consciousness. China’s dedicated efforts to promote AI innovation reflect its strategic vision for technological leadership.

The dynamics of search interest between AI and Bitcoin provide valuable insights into the evolving tech landscape, as both fields shape and influence the way we perceive and interact with technology on a global scale.


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