17 Sep 2018

China calls for global collaboraton on AI ethics and law

China's president and vice-premier tell AI experts collaboration needed on the ethical and legal aspects of AI and intellectual property.


A letter from China’s President Xi Jinping and a speech from vice-premier Liu He called on the world to work together to address complex ethical, legal and other questions raised by artificial intelligence at a gathering of global AI experts  in Shanghai.

Global collaboration

Mr Liu called for increased investment in artificial intelligence research and cross-border collaboration, stating ‘as members of a global village, I hope countries can show inclusive understanding and respect to each other, deal with the double-sword technologies can bring, and together embrace AI. Mr Liu is one of China’s top trade negotiators in the US-China trade war and sits on the country’s technology development committee. The conference is co-organised by China’s top economic planning and technology bodies, including the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Cyberspace Administration of China, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering. Mr Liu said, ‘we will strengthen investment in fundamental research and encourage ‘zero-to-one’ original research,’ adding that ‘as an intellectual property intensive industry, China will enhance efforts to defend IP protection.’

Dialogue needed

China currently attracts around 70 per cent of the US$39.5 billion raised worldwide for AI investments. China’s State Council last July laid out a three-step road map to AI supremacy, backing investment on the core technology behind various applications from autonomous driving to facial recognition. China aims to build a domestic AI industry worth about US$150 billion and to make the country an ‘innovation centre for AI’ by 2030. China is developing AI in an ‘open environment’ and encourages companies globally to collaborate at the corporate and research institute level. Mr Liu’s remarks reinforced a congratulatory letter from President Xi read to delegates reiterating the importance of dialogue in the age of AI. President Xi wrote, ‘the new generation of AI is in a rising boom,’ which ‘requires deepened collaboration and open dialogues among countries to deal with new subjects such as legislation, security, employment and governance.’

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