Chinese Lawmakers and Political Advisors Discuss Future of AI

In a significant move towards advancing technological innovation, China is setting the stage for a transformative leap in the artificial intelligence (AI) industry. This strategic focus aims to modernize the nation’s industrial system and foster the development of new qualitative productive forces.

The AI industry, recognized as both emerging and pivotal for the future, has garnered substantial attention during the recent “two sessions.” These annual meetings involving the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) have highlighted key concerns in AI development, such as computing power, storage capabilities, and security issues related to AI technologies.

Fostering Computing Power

Luo Yunfeng, an NPC deputy and the mayor of Hefei — the capital of Anhui Province known for its technological innovation — stressed the importance of bolstering computing power to rejuvenate industries and hasten the establishment of computing power centers. Hefei stands at the forefront of creating a dynamic AI ecosystem, hosting over 2,400 AI-related enterprises that span various sectors including hardware, data processing, and industrial applications. This has firmly positioned the city as a leader in cultivating China’s AI industry.

“We are keenly observing the country’s policy directions on AI development and hope for enhanced support in crucial areas like computing power distribution and the building of data annotation bases,” Luo remarked.

Advancing Data Storage

Applications of AI technology have permeated several fields, illustrating the need for extensive data support. Feng Dan, a delegate to the NPC and dean at Huazhong University of Science and Technology’s School of Computer Science and Technology, emphasized the importance of efficient memory and storage systems as the backbone of the digital economy and national security.

“For AI to be functional across varied sectors, a harmonized development between computing power and data storage is essential,” noted Feng. She highlighted the current challenges in AI development, including insufficient data storage and the disparity between storage capabilities and computing power, urging for policy adjustments to address these issues.

Securing the Future of AI

As AI technology continues to evolve, questions regarding its regulation and ethical implications arise. Min Weidong, an NPC deputy, has called for a stronger governance framework to address accountability in incidents involving AI, such as drone accidents or autonomous vehicle mishaps.

Furthermore, international collaboration and standardization are deemed crucial for establishing ethical norms and governance frameworks that resonate globally. Zhou Hongyi, a CPPCC National Committee member and chairman of Qihoo 360, a leading Chinese Internet security firm, emphasized the balancing act between AI advancements and digital security. He proposed the development of public-service digital security infrastructure at various levels to safeguard the nation’s digital realm.

As China embarks on this ambitious journey to lead in AI innovation, the discussions and policies emerging from the “two sessions” underscore the nation’s proactive approach to navigating the complexities of the AI landscape. This strategic emphasis on computing power, data storage, and security not only aims to revolutionize industrial practices but also seeks to establish China as a global powerhouse in the AI domain.

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