This section acts as a personal living document highlighting policy documents and relevant developments to AI policy across the globe. It is by no means comprehensive and will be updated regularly. If you use this resource please cite it.
Send me a message if you spot any pressing updates and errors, or if you'd like to contribute otherwise. Quoted text is generally directly from the linked resources.
Government Reports and Initiatives
New Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan (新一代人工智能发展规划):
Belt and Road Initiative, New Silk Road:
Non-Governmental Reports and Initiatives
AI Alliance of Silicon Valley (US-China):
Sinovation Eurasia Whitepaper: AI in China:
• China has a highly favourable regulatory environment with unparalleled government support
• China had plans for becoming a world leader in adopting High Speed rails and Mass entrepreneurship and they succeeded in both. We can expect similar happening with AI
• Nov 2017: the new generation AI Development Plan Implementation kick off meeting announces an AI strategic Advisory Commission, AI Development Planning Office
• “The National Plan’s explicit recognition of the need for regulatory, legal, and ethical principles for AI development and use represents an uncommonly foresighted approach. Of course, the government’s approach to AI regulation, ethics, and economic adjustment will reject Beijing’s broader model of governance and ideology. Given its preference for a state-centric approach to international issues, for example, it is possible China will launch an initiative via the UN to establish an automation/AI-related “code of conduct,” or basic regulatory approach, followed by a special committee on the topic and eventually an over- sight body operating within a UN framework. Such an initiative would put China at the forefront of developing a global approach to these issues. Beijing has attempted a similar approach on cybersecurity issues, which it argues have a global impact and require a global regulatory response.”
• A technology park dedicated to developing artificial intelligence will be built in Beijing in five years, authorities said. The park will be situated in suburban Mentougou district in western Beijing, covering 54.87 hectares, Beijing News reported, citing a plan released by Mentougou authorities Tuesday. With an estimated investment of 13.8 billion yuan (about 2.1 billion U.S. dollars), the park is expected to attract about 400 enterprises, with an estimated annual output value of about 50 billion yuan (about 7.7 billion U.S. Dollars).
• The park will focus on developing areas such as super high-speed big data, cloud computing, biometric identification and deep learning. Its technological infrastructure includes a fifth generation mobile network, a super computer and cloud services.
• The developer of the park, a company of Zhongguancun Development Group, will seek partnership with Chinese and overseas universities, research institutes and large companies to establish various research centers in the park, including a national-level artificial intelligence lab.
CAIIA, China Artificial Intelligence Industry Alliance:
• It focuses on creating AI value through adjusting nimbly to technological acceleration that AI breakthroughs will bring about.
• Led by the China Center for Information Industry Development, tech giants like Intel China, iFlytek Co Ltd, JD.com, SAP China and Ecovacs Robotics Co teamed up to form the non-profit organization, called China Artificial Intelligence Industry Innovation Alliance, or CAIIIA for short.
• The alliance, backed by several state ministries and commissions including NDRC and the Ministry of Science and Technology, will be led by top-tier institutes such as the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology.(http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/business/2017-10/13/content_33216440.htm)
• The newly formed alliance set goals to incubate 50 AI-enabled products and 40 firms, launch 20 pilot projects, and set up a general technology platform in the next three years.
• At the launching ceremony, CAIIIA reached agreements with government officials to construct four industry bases in Tongzhou in Beijing, Songjiang in Shanghai, Qingshan in Wuhan, and Xixian New Area in Shaanxi province.
• Focusses on industry wide standardisation and certification
• According to reports, the China AIIC is co-directed by the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, and the Office of the Central Network Security and Informatization Leading Group. More than 200 of the national agencies including Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu Relevant business organizations initiated the formation.
China's Engineering National Laboratory of Deep-Learning (Baidu):
• During the 2015 annual CPPCC meeting, Robin made the “China brain” proposal. This is a plan to build the world’s largest deep learning platform under support of the Chinese government.
• China’s National Development and Reform Commission, a government agency tasked with planning economic and social strategies, will fund search giant Baidu’s development of a national deep-learning research lab, according to a post on Baidu’s Chinese WeChat account.
Tencent Research Institute:
Ali Research: Alibaba's Think-Tank:
Chinese Association for Artificial Intelligence:
• The Chinese Association for Artificial Intelligence (CAAI) is the only state-level science and technology organization in the field of artificial intelligence under the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
8. China Artificial Intelligence Conference
• The China Artificial Intelligence Conference (CCAI), initiated by China Society of Artificial Intelligence, has been successfully held for two sessions and is the highest level and largest artificial intelligence conference in China. Adhering to the purposes of the previous two sessions, the 3rd China AIC (CCAI 2017) hosted by Artificial Intelligence Society, Alibaba Group & Ant Financial Services, CSDN and CAS Institute of Automation will be held on July 22-23 Hangzhou.
Military-Civil Integration National Defence Advanced Technology Laboratory, Tsinghua University:
[please contact if you have a useful link]
Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences:
Accessible mainstream literature
China's Military-Civil Fusion:
• This focus on civil-military integration in AI is consistent with a national strategy directed by the Military-Civil Fusion Development Commission (中央军民融合发展委员会), which was established in early 2017 under the leadership of Xi Jinping. The concept of “military-civil fusion,” which is actualized through an expansive policy agenda, has been integral to China’s efforts to advance its defense industrial base. Even as China tries to build the indigenous capacity for “innovation-driven” military and civilian development, technology transfer has continued to be and may remain an aspect of this effort.
• Against the backdrop of current U.S. debates on CFIUS and recurrent concerns over Chinese investments in sensitive start-ups, this approach may prove controversial and could provoke further friction. For instance, this spring, Baidu acquired xPerception, which specializes in computer vision. In mid-2016, Neurala, a Boston-based start-up that makes AI software, based on technology initially developed for use by the U.S. Air Force and NASA, received Chinese investment from Haiyin Capital, which raised concerns about potential Chinese access to the associated technologies, given the clear military applications.
• China’s new AI development plan should also serve as a timely reminder for the U.S. of the critical importance of building national capacity and competitiveness in this vital emerging technology. To date, the U.S. has yet to create a national strategy and policy framework that might ensure continued U.S. innovation in AI, despite the release of a National Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Strategic Plan in the fall of 2016
• Recently, Baidu, the Chinese equivalent of Google, invited the military to take part in the China Brain Project. It involves running so-called deep learning algorithms over the search engine data collected about its users.
• Beyond this, a kind of social control is also planned. According to recent reports, every Chinese citizen will receive a so-called ”Citizen Score”, which will determine under what conditions they may get loans, jobs, or travel visa to other countries. This kind of individual monitoring would include people’s Internet surfing and the behavior of their social contacts (see ”Spotlight on China”).
• For now, technically, participating in China's Citizen Scores is voluntary. But by 2020 it will be mandatory. The behaviour of every single citizen and legal person (which includes every company or other entity)in China will be rated and ranked, whether they like it or not.
• The first is with China Rapid Finance, a partner of the social-network behemoth Tencent and developer of the messaging app WeChat with more than 850 million active users. The other, Sesame Credit, is run by the Ant Financial Services Group (AFSG), an affiliate company of Alibaba. Ant Financial sells insurance products and provides loans to small- to medium-sized businesses. However, the real star of Ant is AliPay, its payments arm that people use not only to buy things online, but also for restaurants, taxis, school fees, cinema tickets and even to transfer money to each other.
• The party is using both coercion and cooperation to integrate the scheme into people’s lives and have it bring benefits to them. “To me, that’s what makes it Orwellian,” says Hoffman of IISS. The social credit system provides incentives for people to not want to be on a blacklist. “It’s a preemptive way of shaping the way people think and shaping the way people act,” she says. And to the extent that people believe they can benefit socially and economically from the Communist Party staying in power, the system is working.
Hardware development: Chips:
• China established the world’s fastest supercomputer, the Sunway TaihuLight. Reflecting a desire to become a center of innovation, the processors in this computer are of native Chinese design—substituting for the Intel Xeon processors which powered the preceding supercomputer, the (also Chinese) Tianhe 2, but which fell under the april 2015 US export ban.
• On the Chinese government's to-do list by 2030 is developing high-end AI chips. US government has been vigilant in protecting high-end chip technology, blocking the sale of chips producing companies (Lattice Semiconductor) and blocking the sale of chips ( Nvidia and Advanced Micro Chips) to China. China responded by unveiling SunwayTaihuLight, which broke the record as world's fastest supercomputer and contained no US intellectual property.
• In an office at Tsinghua University in Beijing, a computer chip is crunching data from a nearby camera, looking for faces stored in a database. Seconds later, the same chip, called Thinker, is handling voice commands in Chinese. Thinker is designed to support neural networks.
• But what’s special is how little energy it uses—just eight AA batteries are enough to power it for a year.
• Thinker can dynamically tailor its computing and memory requirements to meet the needs of the software being run. This is important since many real-world AI applications—recognizing objects in images or understanding human speech—require a combination of different kinds of neural networks with different numbers of layers.
• In December 2017, a paper describing Thinker’s design was published in the IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits, a top journal in computer hardware design. For the Chinese research community, it was a crowning achievement.
Google opening AI Lab in China:
Privacy changes in China / Lawsuits:
The Jiangsu Consumer Council filed a lawsuit against New York-listed Baidu for illegally gaining consumers’ personal data. A court in Nanjing, the capital city of Jiangsu province, accepted the lawsuit on January 2, according to a statementpublished on the council’s website.
Tencent’s widely used WeChat also clarified earlier this week that the content of conversations on the social app are stored only on the user’s mobile phone, computer or other terminal devices, adding that it does not use any of the content for big data analysis, after Chinese automotive industry tycoon Li Shufu reportedly slammed the company for invading user privacy.
Ant Financial, an affiliate of the e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, apologized to users on Thursday after prompting an outcry by automatically enrolling in its social credit program those who wanted to see the breakdown. The program, called Sesame Credit, tracks personal relationships and behavior patterns to help determine lending decisions.
Baidu founder Robin Li has triggered an online uproar after suggesting Chinese people are happy to give up their data privacy for online convenience or efficiency under many circumstances.
China has already started plans to develop artificial intelligence at huge costs. Other long-term programs include those for creating a "digital China," or Internet-oriented country, by using big data, and for becoming a country strong on space technology. These projects are linked to the "Made in China 2025" campaign for upgrading the country's manufacturing technology by 2025.
On the front of foreign policy, Chinese leaders place priority on the "One Belt, One Road" initiative, designed to create a massive economic zone along historic Silk Road routes.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has shifted toward a positive stance about the One Belt, One Road project, showing his readiness to cooperate.
• “Another service that could soon be found on WeChat is WeSure, a medical insurance underwritten by Tencent and insurer Taikang. The service began its pilot in November 2017 for 1% of WeChat users, a meager 9.63 million. In a push for healthy living, WeChat’s step count function can be linked to WeSure. Users who clock over 8,000 steps in a day will receive a hongbao from WeSure that can be deposited in their WeChat wallets.
• Tencent isn’t the only internet company making in-roads into the medical industry. Rival Alibaba has been offering guahao and medical bill payment on Alipay. Its medical arm Ali Heath tried—and retired—a TMall pilot program to sell and deliver over-the-counter drugs. Ali Health’s AI diagnostic system DoctorYou was launched before Tencent’s AIMIS but has yet to see as wide an adoption. Other companies are also working on AI diagnostic imaging, such as iFlytek.”
Sensetime is now the most valuable AI start-up in the world:
Deciphering China's AI dream (J. Ding):