The development of artificial intelligence in the People’s Republic of China

In this article, we will examine one by one the points that do not yet allow the studies and developments on artificial intelligence in the People’s Republic of China to rise to 100% of the international advanced level.

I) Economic benefits come first: lack of vision

Many AI companies and some local governments lack vision and seek short-term economic benefits, hoping to see clear economic returns within one, two or two or three years. This results in a large number of AI start-ups hungry for quick success, but with a lack of confidence and weak development.

Economic benefits must be pursued, but high-tech sectors or sectors that use AI technology to promote the transformation and upgrading of other sectors and their development, must follow specific laws, as well as require a constitutive process and a certain level of success, and not a premature search for immediate profits.

II) The general level of artificial intelligence needs to be improved urgently

Despite the late start of domestic AI and the lack of participation in the development of AI technologies, patents and corresponding international standards, in China, many scientific research institutes and enterprises are involved in research and development. technological and, in some areas, are essentially at the same level or even leading compared to foreign countries. However, the overall capability and level of AI in China is far from the international level, and there is still a large gap between the general level of basic AI research and the advanced level. There is still a long way to go to reach this level as a whole and it will take time.

III) The national decision-making process remains to be put in place

Although China has announced a number of artificial intelligence-related development plans, such as Intelligent Manufacturing 2025, Robot Industry Development Plan (2016-2020), and Three-Year Implementation Plan of action for artificial intelligence on the Internet, etc. , a national strategy for the global development of AI has not yet been developed. The aforementioned program plans should also transform policy plans into targeted actions and visible benefits.

IV) State financial support needs to be further improved.

As mentioned in previous articles, China has supported AI research and related science and technology projects in many national scientific research and technology development plans, and the support is increasing. However, in relation to Internet AI, as well as intelligent manufacturing and other projects, in response to the investment of some developed countries in Europe and the United States of America, the financial support of China’s scientific research and industrial development of AI is far from enough.

In addition, compared to other projects, AI has to analyze more problems and involve a wider range of actors – so everything becomes more difficult and requires greater national support.

V) The allocation of funds for scientific research is not sufficiently fair and equitable

From time to time, the allocation of funds for scientific research has long been controversial. Firstly, the limited funds were not used for the largest and most urgent projects, but were distributed evenly – therefore “too evenly” – between certain projects that were not in urgent need of funds and those who, on the contrary, needed key support. . Second, some members of the “group of experts” allocating funds to the projects use their power for personal ends, and sometimes even agree to obtain certain financing. For a time, this had become an unwritten rule. Third, the assessment and use of funds for scientific research lacks effective oversight, and these problems also exist in the field of AI.

VI) Citizens are concerned about the development of AI

Ever since AI was conceived as a component of civil society, its social impact has drawn public attention. Some worry about the emergence and development of AI (software) and intelligent robots (hardware supported by said software), fearing that AI and intelligent machines will one day threaten the survival and development of sentient beings. humans. The greatest scientist who spoke of this danger is Stephen Hawking (1942-2018). As one of the world’s most influential physicists, he feared that using AI technology to create machines capable of independent thought would ultimately threaten the survival of mankind. Hawking said, “The full development of artificial intelligence may lead to the extinction of human beings.” The echo of his words was seized by many citizens, scientists and technicians. There is obviously another point of view of society: it is believed that even if AI has made great progress after sixty years of development, the general level of AI in the near future will never be as it is. will exceed human intelligence. Let us add, however, that progress being constant on a geometric scale, there will always be a point of no return. The question is as follows: will we be able to control, but above all define this point of no return and block it at “-x from”?

Nevertheless, some people – in our view, recklessly and foolishly – argue that we should instead attach great importance to the impact of AI itself on human society, and not waste time researching and formulate countermeasures – the “-x of” – to allay public concerns and ensure human safety.

VII) A race can lead to a wild competition

Some historians and scientists believe that there is a kind of traditional culture in Chinese society, that is, a phenomenon that flourishes everywhere and is expressed in the same way in many parts of the country. They add that these expressions are elaborate, refined and sophisticated, but they cannot guarantee the quality of the product, thus causing a huge waste of resources and manpower, and ultimately bring no economic or social benefit. This was the case in the past for large-scale steel production – the failed Great Leap Forward of 1958-1961 – as well as large-scale jet aircraft technology and thyristor devices (the Silicon Controlled Rectifier, which is a component that electrically is nearly equivalent to a diode, with the only difference that forward conduction only occurs after an appropriate trigger signal is applied to a third terminal called gate), and in current automotive production, industrial robot parks and drone development. At present, there is not only overcapacity in the automobile sector, but most of the companies in the robotics industrial park are facing a difficult situation of wild competition and are likely to be wiped out in the near future. .

Chinese AI and its industry have currently attracted unprecedented attention from the government and all walks of society. Fortunately, the phenomenon of the AI ​​industry popping up and flourishing everywhere without any criteria did not happen. The threshold of the technological starting point of the AI ​​industry is relatively high, and the difficulty and risk of starting and growing a business are equally high. There may be fewer brave and strong entrepreneurs than robot entrepreneurs, and I hope the robot industrial park will repeat the proliferation phenomenon.

VIII) Blind optimism and arrogance harm development

Many insightful people believe that there is a big gap between the current domestic AI basic research, application development and international advanced level. However, some domestic AI researchers and developers overestimate their achievements, believing that domestic AI has surpassed the international advanced level in many respects.

In order to assess whether a discipline has reached or exceeded the advanced international level, not only impartial and equal international standards must be generally recognized, but also a convincing set of results. We will not specifically address the issue in this article, but we would like to describe the level of development of AI in China from the status of the Turing Award, the highest scientific and technological honor in the international IT and computer industry.

Since 1966, the American Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) has organized 55 editions of the Turing Award, with a total of 75 winners, given that in some editions there was more than one winner.

Among the winners are Shanghai-based Chinese-American computer scientist Yao Qizhi, who won the award in 2000, with theory of computation, including pseudo-random number generation, cryptography and communication complexity.

China has won the international supercomputer speed championship several times. It is a result worth celebrating, but all this is not enough to prove that China’s AI technology has reached the international advanced level. Although the AI ​​development of many domestic giant enterprises has made rapid progress and their achievements are gratifying, China has yet to reach the level of international leadership.

Major international companies and developed countries from Europe, America and Japan have invested heavily in their efforts to achieve a dominant position in such global competition. The secret lies in not being blindly optimistic and never overestimating your own accomplishments.

IX) There is a tendency to replace research on artificial intelligence with philosophical research

Artificial intelligence, although not belonging to the branch of human sciences, has philosophical questions to put on the table. Some researchers conduct research ranging from AI to the philosophy of information or other philosophical perspectives, which are needed and worth supporting. For a long time, however, there has been a tendency in China to replace AI research with philosophical research, as well as to exaggerate the role of philosophical questions on the technical aspects of AI, and even to try to dominate AI disciplines with philosophy.

Rather, there is a need for concrete research on the main issues of AI. Professor Wu Wenjun (1919-2017), a mathematician and scholar known for his contributions to the fields of differential geometry, topology and computational geometry, once seriously warned: “Our real intention is never to discuss with words and speak with letters. . What we should do is work hard and do it skillfully. Taking advantage of the great opportunity offered by the advent of the computer age, we must take the initiative to promote the mechanization of mental work in the world and show our ideas to the planet with concrete results”.

10) International cooperation must be further strengthened

China has promoted considerable international cooperation in the field of AI, including hosting international conferences, traveling overseas to attend international conferences, and sending personnel to participate in international AI research. AI on a cooperative basis. These activities should not only be extended, but also the level of results of cooperation should be improved. It must be said that international cooperation on AI must be further strengthened so that the “international” status of Chinese academics is further strengthened. (8. continued).

Comments are closed.