What’s Next

Over the coming months, we will be adding greater depth to the existing topic areas and expanding ChinAI to cover more ground.

In terms of depth, we will be appending written analytical pieces to each of the four building blocks: data, talent, companies, and government plan. These pieces will make more explicit some of the ideas presented in ChinAI’s digital interactives, as well as adding context and complexity to those arguments.

In terms of covering more ground, we will be adding several entirely new sections. One of these will analyze another key building block of AI prowess: semiconductors, or AI chips. This is one arena in which China currently lags behind the US, and remains highly dependent on US manufacturers—a dependence that was brought into sharp relief in early 2018 by the brief ban on US suppliers selling to Chinese telecom equipment provider ZTE.

The additional sections will also begin to unpack the real-world impacts of China’s rise in AI, dissecting the products built, as well as considering the ethical and safety concerns raised. Because of its multiplicity of applications, AI raises profound ethical dilemmas, shifting the question from what it can do to what it should do.

The expansion of China’s AI-powered surveillance state has already garnered deep concern from the international community. In this section, we will also dig into concerns about AI safety: the fear that increasingly powerful AI systems may eclipse humans’ ability to control them, constituting an existential threat to humanity. We will examine Chinese opinions on these kinds of existential risks, as well as how intensifying China-US competition could aggravate these risks, potentially accelerating the development or deployment of unsafe AI systems.

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