China warns about risks of artificial intelligence, calls for strengthened national security measures

China warns about risks of artificial intelligence, calls for strengthened national security measures

BEIJING (AP) China’s ruling Communist Party has warned of the risks posed by advances in artificial intelligence, calling for strengthened national security measures.

The statement released after a meeting chaired by party leader and President Xi Jinping on Tuesday underscores the tension between the government’s determination to win global leadership in cutting-edge technology and concerns about the possible social and political harms of such technologies.

It also followed a warning from scientists and tech industry leaders in the United States, including high-level executives from Microsoft and Google, on the dangers artificial intelligence poses to humanity.

The Beijing meeting discussed the need for dedicated efforts to safeguard political security and improve the governance of Internet data security and artificial intelligence, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

During the meeting, it was underlined that the complexity and severity of the national security problems faced by our country have increased significantly. The national security front must build strategic self-confidence, have enough confidence to secure victory, and be keenly aware of its own strengths and advantages, Xinhua said.

We must be prepared for worst-case and extreme scenarios and be prepared to withstand the major test of high winds, rough waters and even dangerous storms, he said.

Xi, who is China’s head of state, commander of the military and chairman of the party’s National Security Commission, called on the meeting to remain acutely aware of the complicated and difficult circumstances facing national security.

China needs a new development model with a new security architecture, Xi told Xinhua.

China already devotes substantial resources to suppressing any perceived political threat to party dominance, with spending on police and security personnel exceeding those devoted to the military.

While he relentlessly censors in-person protests and online criticism, citizens have continued to express dissatisfaction with policies, most recently the draconian lockdown measures enacted to combat the spread of COVID-19.

China has cracked down on its tech sector in a bid to reassert party control, but like other countries it is scrambling to find ways to regulate rapidly developing AI technology.

The party’s latest meeting reinforced the need to assess potential risks, take precautions, safeguard people’s interests and national security, and ensure the safety, reliability and ability to control AI, the newspaper reported on Tuesday official Beijing Youth Daily.

Concerns about AI systems outsmarting humans and spiraling out of control have intensified with the rise of a new generation of highly capable AI chatbots like ChatGPT.

Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, maker of ChatGPT, and Geoffrey Hinton, a computer scientist known as the godfather of artificial intelligence, were among hundreds of prominent figures who signed the statement Tuesday that was posted on the website of the Center for AI Safety.

Mitigating AI’s extinction risk should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war, the statement said.

More than 1,000 researchers and technologists, including Elon Musk, are currently visiting Chinahe had signed a much longer letter earlier this year calling for a six-month break on AI development.

The missive claims that artificial intelligence poses profound risks to society and humanity, and some involved in the subject have proposed a United Nations treaty to regulate the technology.

China warned as early as 2018 of the need to regulate AI, but has nonetheless funded a vast expansion in the field as part of efforts to conquer the high ground for cutting-edge technologies.

The party’s lack of privacy protections and tight control over the legal system have also led to near-widespread use of facial, voice and even gait recognition technology to identify and arrest those seen as threatening, particularly political dissidents and religious minorities, especially Muslims.

Members of Uyghurs and other primarily Muslim ethnic groups have been singled out for mass electronic monitoring, and more than 1 million people have been detained in prison-like political re-education camps that China calls de-radicalization and vocational training centers.

The risks of artificial intelligence are primarily seen in its ability to control robotic and autonomous weapons, financial instruments and computers that govern power grids, health centers, transportation networks and other key infrastructure.

China’s unbridled enthusiasm for new technologies and willingness to tinker with imported or stolen research and stifle investigations into major events such as the COVID-19 outbreak heighten concerns about the use of artificial intelligence.

China’s light-hearted attitude towards technological risk, the government’s reckless ambition and Beijing’s mishandling of the crisis are all on a collision course with the growing dangers of artificial intelligence, technology and national security scholars Bill Drexel and Hannah Kelley wrote in an article published this week in Foreign Affairs magazine.

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