The development of AI brings about uncertainty and new challenges in employment, laws, ethics, privacy and international relations. This is resulting in significant impacts on government management, economic security, social stability, and global governance.
The State Council of China has issued the Next Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan (the plan) on 20th July. The plan is development-driven by setting up several goals through three stages up to 2030. In general by 2030, China’s AI theories, technologies, and applications should achieve world leading levels. The objective is to make China the world’s primary AI innovation center, achieving visible results in intelligent economy and intelligent society, laying an important foundation for becoming a leading innovation nation and an economic power. In detail, the goals consist of three aspects including technology, industry and policy:
●China’s AI theory and technology will be proven relatively advanced in the world. China will achieve major breakthroughs in brain-inspired intelligence, autonomous intelligence, hybrid intelligence, swarm intelligence, and other areas; having an important contribution in the domain of international AI research and the most advanced AI technologies.
●AI industry competitiveness will reach the world-leading level. AI should be broadly rolling out to industrial production, people’s daily lives, governance of the society, national defense construction, and in all aspects of applications. A perfect industrial ecosystem and high-level industrial clusters containing core technologies, important systems, supportive platforms, and the intelligent applications will be established. The core industry of AI will exceed 1 trillion RMB, and the related industries of AI will exceed 10 trillion RMB.
●China will have established a number of world-leading AI talent centers for technology innovation and training, and will have created and implemented more comprehensive system of AI laws and regulations, ethical norms and policy.
The plan has analyzed the advantages and weakness of China to develop AI, and has prioritized the technologies and tasks for developing technology and applications. Beyond this, China has recognized that society and technology should be taken into account together to ensure that AI could be healthily and rapidly developed in safe, secure, reliable and controllable systems. According to the plan, socio-economic impact research of AI is listed as one of the state key scientific research programs that will be released soon afterwards. The plan is equipped with six supporting actions to ensure the achievement of the goals, including rules, open and inclusive international environment and make sure the society is well prepared for the next generation of AI. The issues of employment will be taken into account for the short-term, and the issues of ethics will be taken into account for the long-term.
(1) Make the framework of laws, regulations and ethics
● Conduct research on legal issues related to the application of AI such as identifying civil liability and criminal liability, privacy and property protection, information security. Establish traceability and accountability. Clarify the legal entity of AI, as well as its related rights, obligations and responsibilities.
● Accelerate progress by studying AI laws and create relevant regulations on safety and security, especially focus on the subdivided areas with great potential for a wide application such as automatic driving and service robots. The regulations are the basis for rapid application of new technology.
● Conduct the research on behavior science and ethics issues of AI, make a decision-making framework with multi-level ethical and moral choices, and make a theoretical framework of human-machine collaboration.
● Establish moral norms and a code of conduct for R&D designers of AI products, strengthen the assessment of the potential hazards and benefits of AI, and make a solution-oriented framework for emergent and complex scenarios of AI.
● Pro-actively participate in global governance of AI, strengthen research on shared international issues including robotics alienation and safety and security regulations, deepen the international cooperation in laws & regulations, international rules and other aspects of AI, and work through global challenges together.
(2) Create incentive policies to accelerate the development of artificial intelligence
● Implement tax incentives for small and medium enterprises and start-up enterprises. For example, there are tax incentives for high-tech enterprises, R&D costs deduction for AI enterprises.
● Revise the policies of open data and data protection and put it into practice. Launch pilot projects to open public data, and the public and private sectors to fully mine the commercial value of public data, and promote the innovation of AI applications.
● Conduct policy analysis on the areas such as education, medical care, insurance and social assistance, make those policies adaptive to the rapid development of AI and could effectively deal with the social issues brought by AI.
(3) Build up AI technology standards and intellectual property system.
● Strengthen the research on the framework of AI standards.
● Keep the principles of safety and security, availability, interoperability, and traceability. Gradually establish and revise the technical standards including general technology, interconnectivity, industry applications, cyber security, and privacy protection.
● Rapidly promote industry associations and alliances to develop relative standards for its specific industry such as autonomous driving or service robots.
● Encourage AI enterprises to participate in and/or lead the development of international standards. Advise enterprises to take the approach of promoting the technical standards first, then the AI products and services in overseas market.
● Strengthen the protection of intellectual property in the field of AI, improve the mechanism of technology innovation, patent protection and interactive support of standardization to turn the result of innovation into intellectual property rights.
● Build up a public patent pool of AI to promote the use and spread of new AI technologies.
(4) Build up safety & security regulation and assessment system
● Strengthen the research and assessment of the impact of AI on national security and secrecy, improve the defense system set with skilled people, technology, resources and management, and build up the AI security monitoring and warning mechanism.
● Strengthen the foresight, analysis and follow-up of the development of AI technology, take a problem-oriented approach, and accurately understand the developing trends of technology and industry.
● Enhance risk awareness, paying attention to risk assessment, prevention and control, and strengthen the prospective prevention and restraint guidance.
● Revise and make transparent AI regulation with two approaches: accountability by design and application in supervision. This is to ensure that the whole process from algorithm design to product development and application will be regulated.
● Promote the self-discipline in the AI industry and related enterprises, and improve penalty measures for abuse of data, violations of privacy, contrary to immoral behavior.
● Strengthen the cybersecurity R&D efforts of AI, and strengthen the security protection of AI products and systems network.
● Concentrate on the issues of AI design, product and system, including complexity, risk, uncertainty, interpretability, potential economic impact, build up dynamic AI R&D assessment mechanism, systematic measurement approach and criteria, cross cutting platform for AI test, and promote safety and security certification and assess the key performances of AI products and systems.
(5) Employment: strength the training for labor force
● Accelerate the understanding of the structural changes to employment and the labor market demand of skills and new jobs brought by AI.
● Build up the lifelong learning and training systems to meet the needs of intelligent economy and intelligent society,
● Encourage institutions including universities, vocational schools, private training institutes, enterprises and organizations to conduct AI skills training, significantly increase the professional skills of in-service staffs, to meet the requirement of high-quality jobs as the development of AI.
● Reinforce the training and guidance for reemployment workers, to ensure that workers who are engaged in simple and repetitive work and those who lost jobs because of AI are successfully retrained for new jobs.
(6) Awareness: broadly organize activities of AI science education
● Organize all kinds of AI events to educate public, encourage S&T workers join in the events, significantly improve people’s overall understanding and application of AI.
● Put the National Smart Education Program in practice. AI related courses will be added into the curriculum of primary and secondary schools, in which coding and programming education will be gradually popularized. Encourage all kinds of social sectors to develop and promote programming softwares and games combined education and entertainment together.
● Construct and improve the infrastructure of AI public education, make good use of all kinds of AI innovation centers to provide public education, encourage AI enterprises and institutions to build up open source platforms, with which the R&D resources, production facilities or exhibition hall can open for the public.
● Launch AI competitions, encourage a variety of AI creative events, encourage scientists to participate in those events.
Alongside the above six actions, three points need emphasis :
● The implementation of AI projects will follow the rules of the market. The government will be in charge of major projects, while others will be taken over by enterprises. Private capital (such as venture capital, private equity) may also be brought in.
● The shortage of talent is a top priority issue for the development of AI. China aims to attract and develop talent.
● Domestic and international resources will be integrated together for the development of AI. The following actions will be supported: the cooperation with the world’s top universities and research institutions, the globalization of domestic AI enterprises, entering into China for foreign AI enterprises or research institutes for setting up R&D centers. Based on the strategy of “One Belt One Road”, international science and technology cooperation centers and joint research centers are encouraged to be set up along the countries of “One Belt One Road” for the promotion and application of AI technology. Meanwhile, China will promote the establishment/engagement of AI international organizations to develop AI-related international standards. China will support the relevant industry associations or alliances to build up global platforms and provide global services for AI enterprises.
In order to effectively implement the plan, the Leading Group for the National Science and Technology System Reform and Innovation System Construction (Founded in 2012, Led by Liu Yandong) is responsible for reviewing important tasks, policies, issues, and agenda, promoting them to make laws and regulations, guiding, coordinating and supervising related departments to implementation the plan. The Ministry of Science and Technology is responsible for promoting the implementation of projects and strengthening the coordination with other planned tasks. A new office called the AI Plan Promotion Office was set up under the Ministry of Science and Technology for pushing the plan into action. An AI Strategy Advisory Committee was established to research forward-looking and strategic issues related to AI, and provide assessment and advice for important decision-making. At the same time, all kinds of think-tanks are encouraged to conduct the research on the important issues of AI.