The Chinese Approach to Artificial Intelligence: An Analysis of Policy and Regulation

In July 2017, China’s State Council released the country’s strategy for developing artificial intelligence (AI), entitled ‘New Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan’ (新一代人工智能发展规划). This document outlined China’s ambition to become the world leader in AI by 2030, both in terms of technological capabilities and ethical standards. China has made notable strides forward in achieving this goal, with the number of influential research papers that are emerging from the country rapidly increasing. Similarly, China is at the forefront of implementing certain AI technologies, such as smart cities and facial recognition.

Previous research efforts in this area has attempted to assess the plausibility of China’s AI strategy based on technical capabilities. This project distinguishes itself by exploring the socio-political factors behind China’s newfound focus on AI. Encompassed within this is a cross-sectoral analysis of the international competition China faces, the country’s transitioning economy and ongoing social reform. Another central aim of the project is to consider the policy debates that are shaping China’s AI trajectory. Specifically, it seeks to understand how technological development intersects with a desire to codify ethical standards, and the unique Chinese AI ethics that are resultant.