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A study of Google Trends data shows that despite all the talk about artificial intelligence, it was less popular than Bitcoin in 2017. The situation in China tells a very different story.

There has been a lot of talk about artificial intelligence in recent news cycles. Some see it as the next big thing in technology, following in the footsteps of cryptocurrency and the meta-universe.

Ai’s Popularity Is Growing at an Incredible Rate

In a recent May 23 blog post, OpenAI executives warned that by the end of the next decade, AI will surpass human experts in “most areas” and have the same level of performance as “one of today’s largest corporations.”

The number of searches for AI in the U.S. and worldwide has grown significantly, reaching 89 on Google Trends. However, this is still less than the peak search interest in Bitcoin, which reached 100 in December 2017. At that time, bitcoin approached its all-time high of $20,000.

Comparing how people searched for buzzwords like “AI,” “metaverse,” and “Bitcoin” in the US over a ten-year stretch. Source: Google Trends

Mark Shilsky, a technology expert at Alliance Bernstein, told Business Insider on May 31 that AI has yet to reach Bitcoin’s hype. His research focused mainly on how people search for things in the United States.

Shilisky analyzed how “AI,” “meta-universe,” and “bitcoin” – three of the most talked about parts of the tech industry over the past decade – relate. The results show that the number of searches for “bitcoin” has been higher than for “AI.”

China Asks, “Who Is Bitcoin?”

However, the results are very different in China, where virtual money is illegal, and Google searches are limited. Baidu is the most popular search engine in the country.

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Since May 2013, Google Trends data shows that Chinese Google users are more interested in artificial intelligence than Bitcoin.

Over the past ten years, searches for Bitcoin in China have exceeded searches for AI only three times, and all three of those three times happened when something important happened to Bitcoin.

In November 2013, there were more searches in China for Bitcoin than AI. This happened when the price of Bitcoin reached a record $300 on the now-defunct Mt. Gox cryptocurrency exchange.

In December 2017, when the price of bitcoin peaked, it rose to nearly $20,000, returning it to the top spot in search interest.

The third and most recent event occurred in February 2021, when bitcoin climbed above $43,000 after Tesla announced it had bought $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin and would begin accepting payments in bitcoin.

The Impact of China’s Cryptocurrency Ban

In 2021, the country made it illegal to use cryptocurrencies. At that time, Cointelegraph staff in China reported that online searches for several well-known cryptocurrency platforms yielded nothing.

Notably, the number of searches for the word “AI” in the Chinese market was growing unprecedentedly. In April 2023, searches for “AI” reached a new high of 100. At this point, the number of searches is around 94.

China’s Focus On Artificial Intelligence

In May, a Chinese government-backed AI company, Flytek, demonstrated its newest product, the Spark Model. This advanced AI system could compete in the market with OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

At the May 30 meeting, Chinese officials stressed how important it is to prioritize steps to strengthen political security and improve the safety of Internet data and artificial intelligence. Interestingly, at the same time, the following was said about cryptocurrencies in China:

“As cryptocurrency enthusiasts, we must think and prepare for the worst and most extreme scenarios. We must be prepared to survive volatile markets and even dangerous crashes.”
Peter Bergman (

By Peter Bergman (

Peter Bergman is an experienced financial writer with a passion for helping people achieve financial freedom. With over a decade of experience, he has written extensively on topics ranging from personal finance to investment strategies, and his work has been featured on and other leading financial websites.

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