China's AI involvement needed for better global collaboration: experts

Source:Global Times Published: 2018/10/7 11:13:39

More artificial intelligence (AI) companies are focusing on fundamental technologies such as cognitive computing and deep machine learning, and some are also urging respect for the moral and ethical questions raised by the application of AI.

The AI sector has been booming in China thanks to major breakthroughs made in deep machine learning, but this is not the same as neural networks, Zhou Zhihua, director of the AI institute at Nanjing University, said at a recent industry conference held in Beijing.

"We face issues with the use of neural networks, including modifying the parameters frequently to adapt to tasks, and algorithm models are often complex," he said.

The State Council, China's cabinet, issued a plan for new-generation AI technology in July 2017, pledging to make the sector a major new growth driver that would improve people's lives by 2020 and make the country a global center and leader of AI innovation by 2030.

However, China still lags behind some developed countries when it comes to AI fundamental theory, algorithms and talent.

As of the end of 2017, China had 18,232 AI specialists, accounting for 8.9 percent of the world's total, while the US - China's major rival in the AI sector - had 13.9 percent, according to a report by Tsinghua University in July.

Still, Chinese experts in the domain have achieved advances in research that are likely to propel the development of machine-learning algorithms.

Zhou proposed a so-called Deep Forest, which is about building deep learning models based on non-differentiable modules.

Computing intelligence, perceptual intelligence and cognitive intelligence are three current stages of AI development, Hu Guoping, president of iFlytek's Research Institute, told the conference. While computing intelligence has made machines much smarter than human beings, machines still lag behind humans in terms of cognitive intelligence, with the emphasis on knowledge, understanding and reasoning.

"Human intelligence is multi-layered and humans' brain functions can be immensely complex, which could be further explored," he said.

Experts have also discussed ethical questions raised by the application of AI, urging that people are not oppressed by machines.

China is the world leader in AI technology, which means that Chinese researchers can figure out how to make AI more powerful as well as do the research needed to make sure AI is safe and beneficial, Max Tegmark, an MIT professor who wrote Life 3.0, told the conference.

The wisdom to live with AI is imperative, and Chinese wisdom can help propel global conversation on AI , as countries have to work in a collaborative way, Tegmark noted.

He has publicly pledged not to develop lethal autonomous weapons with the help of AI. Tegmark, who is also the president of the Future of Life Institute, announced the pledge on July 18 in Stockholm, Sweden during the annual International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence, which drew more than 5,000 of the world's leading AI researchers, according to the institute's website.



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