Chinese President Xi Jinping Calls for Development of AI to Modernize Industrial System

Chinese President Xi Jinping reiterated the importance of developing China’s capabilities in artificial intelligence (AI) during a key economic meeting on May 6. This was the second time in less than two weeks that the President had made such comments, highlighting the significance China places on AI in the Sino-US tech race, according to South China Morning Post.

Xi emphasized the need for China to use its AI expertise to modernize the country’s industrial system, building a “holistic, advanced, and harm-free” system. He also urged the country to take advantage of opportunities presented by scientific and technological breakthroughs, such as AI, to strengthen its strategic initiative in future development and international competition.

Chinese President Xi Jinping

The President’s remarks come amid ongoing efforts by the US to restrict China’s access to advanced semiconductors, which are vital for training sophisticated AI models. China is also facing pressure from the US to ensure that AI products are safe before being publicly deployed.

At a separate Politburo meeting on April 28, Chinese leaders concluded that the country must pay attention to the development of artificial general intelligence (AGI), while also taking risk prevention into account. This was the first time that Beijing had included a reference to AGI in a Politburo statement, reflecting China’s mixed signals on the issue.

Computer scientist Geoffrey Hinton, who is known as one of the “godfathers of AI”, warned earlier this week about the dangers of companies releasing new AI technologies at a dangerous pace, risking jobs and potentially enabling the spreading of misinformation. Cybersecurity experts have also warned that generative AI, like ChatGPT, could be weaponized by scammers in a cybersecurity arms race.

China’s renewed emphasis on the development of AI highlights the growing importance of this technology in the global tech race. It remains to be seen how China’s efforts to develop its AI capabilities will be impacted by the ongoing trade tensions with the US and concerns about the potential risks associated with this technology.

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