AI in general 1, 2017

New Generation of Artificial Intelligence Development Plan



Chinese State Council


The Chinese Government’s development plan has been translated into English by the experts at the New America think tank. The summary below is based on this translation.
The document describes artificial intelligence as a new focus of international competition and an engine of economic development that brings great opportunities for creating societal benefits. However, challenges are also acknowledged, such as economic security, social stability, personal privacy and even global governance. Therefore, a forward looking approach is required to minimise the risks and guarantee the controllable development of AI.
While some advances have been made in areas like intelligent manufacturing, the general state of AI development in China is judged to be lacking. However, the document affirms the ambition to seize this historical opportunity to lead the world in AI development.
Four basic principles are outlined.
Technology-led - achieve transformational breakthroughs in AI theory, methods, tools and systems;
Systematic layouts - use a systematic development strategy encompassing basic research, technology development, industrial development and application, building on the socialist system’s ability to undertake major efforts. 
Market-dominant - follow the rules of the market and accelerate commercialisation. Leverage the government for planning, policy support, security, ethical guidelines and market regulation.
Open-source and open - promote open-source sharing in academia and industry. “promote two-way conversion and application for military and civilian scientific and technological achievements and co-construction and sharing of military and civilian innovation resources”
The strategic objectives are to be achieved in three steps. 
  • By 2020 China should have caught up with the other global players in overall AI theory, technology and application. First technology standards should also be established by that point, along with ethical norms, policies and regulations in some areas.

  • By 2025 China should achieve major breakthroughs in AI theory, resulting in world-leading innovations, making AI the main driving force of China’s economic transformation. AI laws and regulations will have been established, along with ethical norms and policy systems, AI security assessment and control systems.

  • By 2030 China should lead the world in AI theories, technologies and applications, and become the globe’s primary AI innovation centre.

  • [/ul]
    Key elements of the deployment of this strategy are 

    1. Creation of an open and cooperative AI tech innovation system, that strengthens China’s basic research capacity and allows for original theoretical contributions to AI;

    2. Recognising the integration of technological and social systems, pursue parallel innovations in industrial and social policies;

    3. Promote breakthrough in all 3 areas of theoretical research, technology development and industrial application, ensuring security and controllability;

    4. “Fully support science and technology, the economy, social development, and national security” Leverage AI to become a global R&D power, create economic prosperity and implement people-centric development thinking.

    In addition to a strong focus on the science and technology base, the elaboration of which takes up the overwhelming majority of the document, legal, ethical and social issues also play an important role.
    Research on legal, ethical, and social issues related to AI should be strengthened and laws, regulations and ethical frameworks established. Civil and criminal responsibility issues and the protection of privacy and property should be extensively researched, along with information security in AI. Traceability and accountability systems should be devised and in key areas safety management laws and regulations should be quickly formulated, to “lay a legal foundation for the rapid application of new technology.”
    Research should also look at human-machine collaboration and an ethical framework for such should be devised.
    An AI R&D and design code of ethical conduct should be developed and the assessment of the potential hazards and benefits of AI strengthened. China will also actively take part in global efforts aimed at AI governance and contribute to the resolution of common problems and global challenges.
    Open data policies should be improved and related pilots undertaken to create value from public data. In addition, the Government will review several policy domains to effectively cope with social problems generated by AI.
    The AI standards framework should be strengthened, building on the key principles of security, availability, interoperability, and traceability. Chinese enterprises should be encouraged to participate in such standard-setting activities internationally. At the same time IP protections in AI should be strengthened and a public pool of AI patents established to promote AI uptake.

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