Chinese government officials and business leaders including executives from Google called for global cooperation to advance A.I. technology at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai, China, [Sept. 17th].
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He joined Jack Ma, the chairman of Alibaba Group, and executives from Google at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference to promote A.I. He called for foreign investment into China and promised to foster “an environment of free thinking” to bolster A.I. development.
His call for global cooperation on A.I. development contrasts with the Chinese government’s plan to dominate A.I. by 2030, in part through government support of Chinese companies. He did not elaborate about his plan for further cooperation; however, the softer approach comes as the United States and China face significant tension over tariffs and trade relations.
He told conference attendees:
We’re hoping that all countries, as members of the global village, will be inclusive and support each other so that we can respond to the double-edged sword effect of new technologies. AI represents a new era. Cross-national and cross-discipline cooperation is inevitable.
President Xi Jinping echoed He’s remarks at the conference. In a letter to the conference, President Xi said that China could share the benefits of A.I. research with other countries.
Several American companies attended the conference, in part to show of their commitment to working on A.I. in China. Microsoft Research Asia and Amazon Web services both announced new research labs in Shanghai, while Google’s Jay Yagnik presented the company’s A.I. programs in the country. Google is a key sponsor of the conference in China.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai was invited to the event but declined to attend. Google’s Beijing research office plans to work on a separate search platform that conforms to the Chinese censorship practices that comprise the “Chinese firewall.”