AI Policy and China: Realities of State-Led Development

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When China's government announced its ambitions for the country’s theoretical, technological, and applied artificial intelligence development to reach a “worldleading level” by 2030, governments and markets worldwide took notice. So did DigiChina. The New Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan (AIDP), drafed by experts across China’s bureaucracy and issued by the State Council in July 2017, was one of this nascent project's first major translations. Our team of four translators then split up to provide three different views of its significance—as a legacy of central planning, “not a moonshot”; as a bureaucratic maneuver by its authors, but one with an “uncommonly foresighted approach” to AI governance challenges; and as a detailed plan that could portend “surpassing the United States.” Since 2017, Chinese officials, businesspeople, and researchers have mobilized remarkable efforts, even if the AIDP’s authors might acknowledge their specific dozen-year targets were educated guesses. digichina-ai-report-20191029.pdf


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