China’s Vice Minister of Science and Technology, Wu Zhaohui, has taken center stage at the AI safety summit in the UK, further signaling China’s dedication to advancing artificial intelligence (AI) while emphasizing the importance of fairness in accessing advanced AI technologies. Joined by a delegation of prominent academics, including renowned computer scientist Andrew Yao, Wu and his team have gathered to discuss the existential risk that AI may pose to humanity and advocate for tighter controls on its development.
China’s Vice Minister of Science and Technology, Wu Zhaohui, has called for equal rights in accessing advanced AI technologies and emphasized the importance of global cooperation in AI development.
China’s Stance on AI
Wu’s speech at the summit focused on the principles of mutual respect, equality, and mutual benefits. He emphasized that regardless of a country’s size or scale, they should have equal rights to develop and use AI. In addition, Wu called for global cooperation, advocating for the sharing of AI knowledge and making AI technologies available to the public on open-source terms.
This message from the technology vice minister seems to address the challenges faced by China’s AI companies in the face of escalating geopolitical tensions. The recent actions taken by the Biden Administration to restrict China’s access to advanced AI processors further highlight the need for China to overcome supply chain obstacles and effectively train large language models.
Global AI Summit
The AI safety summit, taking place at Bletchley Park, brings together a lineup of politicians from around the world to discuss the governance and safety of AI. Notable attendees include Vera Jourova, the European Commission Vice President for Values and Transparency; Rajeev Chandrasekhar, India’s minister of state for Electronics and Information Technology; Omar Sultan al Olama, UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence; and Bosun Tijani, technology minister in Nigeria.
Controversy Surrounding China’s Participation
China’s participation in the summit has faced criticism, with former British Prime Minister Liz Truss urging the British government to revoke China’s invitation. Truss warned that AI could be used as a means of state control and national security for Beijing. China’s state-owned tabloid, Global Times, responded by emphasizing the need for comprehensive discussions on global AI governance and expressing China’s support for the UK’s initiative.
Internal Politics Shaping China’s AI Governance
Within China’s bureaucratic system, different ministries have competing priorities when it comes to AI governance. The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) and the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) play key roles in shaping AI governance. While the CAC historically focuses on internet content regulation, MOST leads the high-level direction of technological development and recently restructured to prioritize technological self-reliance from the West.
This interplay of internal politics is not unique to AI governance but is also observed in other areas, such as gaming, which is overseen by the CAC and the National Press and Publication Administration.
The global AI safety summit serves as a platform for policymakers to collaborate and address the safety concerns surrounding AI. It also reflects the growing importance of international cooperation in ensuring the responsible development and use of AI technologies.