Artificial Intelligence has many impacts on culture. AI technology can improve human knowledge, language and cultural life. Therefore AI education needs to be created and developed, as the dissemination and popularisation of AI knowledge is also a fundamental part of the overall knowledge process.
Scientific dissemination and popularisation involves two aspects. On the one hand, disseminating the basic knowledge of Artificial Intelligence to the public, enabling them to understand AI objectively and correctly, and supporting related activities. On the other hand, popularising the basic knowledge of Artificial Intelligence among young people, nurturing and cultivating their specific interest in the subject, and even discovering and training a group of budding scholars in the AI science and technology. These are important guarantees for the sustainable development of Artificial Intelligence. Furthermore, an important step is to make Artificial Intelligence an angel rather than a devil. The scientific work open to the popular masses in China is playing a considerable role.
Secondly, the country fights for strong support from the State and enterprises. A scientific basis of Artificial Intelligence is established and an exemplary role is being played in the spreading of benefits. Scientific and technological staff and teachers at all levels are encouraged and the publication of scientific popularisation works, which are widely disseminated among citizens, is supported. In this regard, the publication of scientific journals on Artificial Intelligence is important to present development trends, application examples, scientific knowledge and to illustrate the developments of Artificial Intelligence at home and abroad to Chinese youth. Various AI technology competitions and summer and winter camps are standardised and organised. The interest of the general public is extended, also in primary schools, in particular. Online AI competitions are organised for university students and for primary and secondary schools across the country to also extend a good ecological culture of Artificial Intelligence.
Furthermore, in the development of AI culture and technology in China, special attention is paid to the role of academic groups at all levels, so that these organisations can play a special role in the dissemination of AI knowledge and the development of AI culture.
Although, as is the case with any new technology, Artificial Intelligence brings economic benefits to creators, vendors and users, its development has caused or is about to cause a number of problems, concerns and regrets for some people. These problems are related to employment, changes in the social structure, changes in the ways of thinking and in the concepts, psychological threats and the danger of technology getting out of control. Some people fear that the AI technology may deprive them of their jobs and lead to unemployment, and that the intelligence of robots may surpass that of humans and threaten security itself. These are all social issues worthy of great attention and affecting social stability and harmony.
The sociological issue of Artificial Intelligence is on the country’s agenda. Government departments, scientific research institutes and academic groups in the People’s Republic of China incorporate the sociological research on Artificial Intelligence into the corresponding plans and study countermeasures and methods. Some possible negative effects or new problems of Artificial Intelligence, such as the use of AI technology to perpetrate financial crimes (the so-called “intelligent crime” without bloodshed and material theft of property), and smart driving vehicles need corresponding laws and traffic rules and regulations. Relevant policies, case law and regulations are therefore established to avoid possible risks and ensure the positive effects of Artificial Intelligence. Only when Artificial Intelligence is implemented and understood well can we ensure that AI is not abused and it is an angel rather than a devil.
Furthermore, as mentioned above, Artificial Intelligence has changed the social structure: collaboration and intelligent humans-machine coexistence will become the new normal of the human social structure, which will certainly have a momentous impact on human society.
After sixty years of development, international Artificial Intelligence has made great progress and is currently showing an explosive growth trend. In recent years, there has been an unprecedented favourable development environment for Artificial Intelligence in the People’s Republic of China and abroad. Several new AI ideas and technologies have sprung up like mushrooms after the rain. In general terms, however, Artificial Intelligence is still in the early stage of development, and is still far from being sufficient to theoretically threaten the survival of human beings, but its presence in society should be greatly appreciated.
For historical reasons, Chinese Artificial Intelligence started late and suffered long diversions. However, after the reform and opening process in the late 1970s, Chinese Artificial Intelligence has gradually embarked on a broad development path. Chinese Artificial Intelligence has currently ushered in the spring of development and is preparing for major changes and innovations, which will surely provide a historic contribution to China’s modernisation.
As a key technology in the cyber age, Artificial Intelligence will increasingly become the engine of a new industrial revolution cycle, which will profoundly influence the country’s international competition and competitiveness model. China has seized national strategic opportunities such as Internet+, Made in China 2025 and Artificial Intelligence+, as well as the historic opportunity of the second machine revolution. It has vigorously developed AI technology and industries and injected momentum into the new normal of the economy, in such a manner as to change the way of thinking.
In China the development trend of international Artificial Intelligence is systematically planned, based on the actual needs of domestic social development; relevant national resources are coordinated and integrated, and development goals are scientifically set.
It is absolutely essential to respect and explore the law of AI development, to recognise the development situation, to identify gaps, to clarify the direction of efforts, to catch up with the international advanced level and provide a positive contribution to the development of international Artificial Intelligence.
With a view to developing AI technology and industry, past, present and future experts in China take decisions, build confidence, are open-minded, establish perseverance, exercise patience, pursue meticulous work, are original and attentive, so as to reassure people all over the country about the urgency of pursuing Artificial Intelligence as a primary basis for growth, free from fear.
It is believed that, faced with the opportunity of Artificial Intelligence development, China’s Ministries and Departments at all levels and AI developers are surely capable of seizing opportunities, creating new national splendour and welcoming the new era of Artificial Intelligence. AI technology and products are all around us and the beginning of the AI era is just behind us.
With specific reference to scientific and technological innovation, the Secretary General of the Communist Party of China, Xi Jinping, has always stressed the need to strive for building world power in science and technology, since the more the planet advances in technology, the more it is a guiding light for China’s technological and scientific research and exploration, in all fields including Artificial Intelligence. Faced with Xi Jinping’s continuous appeals on the subject, the country currently mobilises the powerful engine of technological innovation and continues to advance towards the goal of becoming a leading nation in AI.
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Advisory Board Co-chair Honoris Causa Professor Giancarlo Elia Valori is an eminent Italian economist and businessman. He holds prestigious academic distinctions and national orders. Mr. Valori has lectured on international affairs and economics at the world’s leading universities such as Peking University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Yeshiva University in New York. He currently chairs “International World Group”, he is also the honorary president of Huawei Italy, economic adviser to the Chinese giant HNA Group. In 1992 he was appointed Officier de la Légion d’Honneur de la République Francaise, with this motivation: “A man who can see across borders to understand the world” and in 2002 he received the title “Honorable” of the Académie des Sciences de l’Institut de France. “
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The Biden Administration has been expanding sanctions against the electronic industry of China. In turn, Silicon Valley companies are being increasingly viewed as a major instrument of big politics. However, the “geopoliticization” of the IT industry on the part of Washington threatens to further undermine the international positions of the United States in this significant sector of the economy.
China’s progress in IT technologies has been a point of Washington’s concern for years. Unlike before, when they talked mostly about the “threat to the economic positions” of the USA and the West as a whole, now they are signaling concern over “security issues”. A number of new restrictions introduced early in October were designed, as western observers say, to slow down the development of the Chinese IT industry to such an extent that would guarantee the United States supremacy in applying cutting-edge IT technologies for military purposes. Among other measures, Biden has substantially limited the participation of US residents in developing technologies for the Chinese IT sector.
As Bloomberg reported a few days ago, “the United States intends to restrict China’s access to AI and quantum computing technologies”. The White House has been elaborating administrative measures with a view to establish tough limitations and control of western investments in a number of critically important technology-related sectors of China. Quantum computers and AI are among top-priority issues. In case of implementation, the new restrictions will enhance the earlier adopted ones.
It looks like that Biden Administration has been trying to revive the practice introduced by Trump. In 2018 the Trump Administration imposed a wide range of sanctions against China’s IT giant Huawei, which was accused, without any proof, of assisting in “espionage schemes and secret surveillance projects conducted by the Chinese authorities”. They slapped a complete ban on the supplies of American parts which were critical for Huawei products to be competitive on the global market. At present, western sources are signaling content, though not over the cessation of “secret espionage” but over the fact that Huawei’s export revenues have decreased considerably, along with the range of products.
Meanwhile, according to The Economist, Trump’s «success» had a negative side. The Republican Administration overtly ignored the interests of the allies and partners. As a result, western investors began to invest in businesses and supply chains of components that were exempt from the control of the American supervisory bodies. Japanese companies offered a full range of electronic components as produce that was free from technological restrictions imposed by the United States. Some US leading companies, which supplied billions of dollars’ worth of products to the Chinese market annually, started to open branches and representative offices in foreign jurisdictions, thereby bypassing Washington’s restrictions.
By early 2022, having acknowledged a limited range of the existing sanctions, the Biden Administration introduced a new variant of export control, which envisaged tough restrictions on the export to China of components whose characteristics go beyond a certain technological level. At the beginning of October, the ban was expanded to include chips which were produced less than 14 nanometers, or, in some cases, less than 16 nanometers. Such harsh restrictions, along with the unilateral measures taken by Washington, continue to trigger discontent among many nominal allies of the United States.
Biden has also been taking steps to encourage the return of microelectronics production facilities to the United States. In spring, the White House presented a bill on chips and science, The CHIPS and Science Act, which provides for the allocation of at least 52 billion dollars as subsidies for the construction of new “factories” to produce state-of-the-art processors on the territory of the United States. Also in spring, Biden spoke at a ceremony on the site of a future enterprise to be built by Intel – a top processor manufacturer in the US. Plans to build a new “factory” in the US have been voiced by Taiwanese TSMC – a major and the most technologically advanced microprocessor producer in the world.
However, America is facing a lot of “opposition”. According to Foreign Affairs, the CHIPS and Science Act, which came into force at the end of August, is not enough to restore US leading positions in microelectronics. An influx of financial resources will not settle all the problems. What is needed is a breakthrough in the managerial and technological culture and a clear understanding on the part of Washington politicians of all the subtleties and issues the contemporary microelectronics industry is confronted with.
By now, most Silicon Valley companies have lost the spirit of technological “iron” innovations. A wide variety of new “high-tech” companies founded in the USA in the 2000s do not produce products that can be touched with hands. The lion’s share of profit comes from advertising in apps or search systems. The hype over trendy software novelties, which spread across America, enabled the competitors from Asia to break forward in designs, particularly in the production of sophisticated microchips. In addition, globalization in its current shape, aimed at outsourcing the productions of end products to where they are the most cost-effective, has played an evil joke on America. «De-industrilization» covered not only a large number of American industries – it spread on to affect the thinking patterns of their managers and engineers.
At the same time, even American experts admit that the harder they try to “contain” China, the harder it becomes for Washington to persuade its allies in Europe and Asia to follow suit. Active assistance from other countries in restricting the export of indispensable parts, machines and technologies to China is vital, for without it the Unites States risks inflicting irreparable damage to its own electronics sector, in the first place. Investors will surely opt for areas where they can avoid draconian US restrictions and where they can continue to develop mutually profitable business ties with China.
America is “stuck” having to choose between the less tough approach towards restrictions in the exchange of technologies, which can yield a greater effect, on the one hand, and the attempts to “suppress” the advanced Chinese microelectronics over a short period of time, on the other, risking inflicting substantial damage to its own IT potential.
Firstly, many American producers of semi-conductors depend heavily on the supplies to the Chinese market, one of the world’s biggest. As The Financial Times reports, the share of supplies to China makes up one third in the portfolio of orders of Applied Materials, a California-based company, which produces machinery for the processing of silicon wafers. 27 percent belongs to Intel. And 31 percent – to Lam Research, one of the leading suppliers of processor manufacturing equipment.
Secondly, the slowdown of American and global economy may lead to a decrease in sales in the microelectronics sector, which is bound to produce a negative impact on the prospects for new investments. The IT industry is thus facing a slowing down, if not a recession, time. According to The Economist, about 30 major American microchip producers signal an 11-billion-dollar reduction in cumulative revenue prospects for the third quarter since July. The combined capitalization of US-based chip producers has dropped by more than 1.5 trillion dollars this year.
Political pressure has been building up as well, as Washington requires the microelectronics industry to reduce its dependence on China at an early date. Thus, the deteriorating situation on the market is being worsened further by yet more administrative and political restrictions.
Meanwhile, leaders of US companies fear that Beijing may impose measures in response, introducing yet more limitations on the access of American producers to its vast domestic market. As reported by The Financial Times, Europe is concerned that a further expansion of sanction restrictions on the part of the United States will inflict ever more damage to companies and consumers in the Old World. The Chinese producers may find themselves without so-much-needed parts and components. A decrease in supplies will also affect European aerospace enterprises, car manufacturers, producers of medical equipment, and the cloud-based computing sector. The producers of electronic parts from Taiwan, including the key player TSMC, and their counterparts from South Korea, are likely to run into difficulties supplying their businesses in China, which account for dozens of percent of the total output. Japanese companies have been holding heated debates on the middle-and long-term consequences of the restrictions on the use of American components while dealing with Chinese counteragents.
Finally, the severance of scientific ties with China will ruin the innovative potential of American designers. Chinese researchers are already demonstrating a much higher citation index in a whole range of research and technology areas, compared to their American colleagues. According to Beijing Review, during the Trump presidency they launched the so-called “Chinese Initiative” – a set of administrative measures aimed at tracking down potential spies among scientists and engineers of Chinese descent. As the anti-Chinese sentiments gain momentum, throwing America into an atmosphere of hostility and suspicion towards Chinese scientists and experts, thousands of researchers and engineers, including from the microelectronics industry, have left or are planning to leave the USA and move to China, the Asian American Scholar Forum (AASF) said.
Washington’s “efforts” could sadly result in a further decrease of the share of American producers on the global market and an overall drop in the global influence of the US technological sector. All these are happening amid a decrease in demand, caused by an oncoming recession. In the past, the United States repeatedly and successfully forced the destructive dilemma “security or development” on their opponents. Now, America itself risk being trapped by its own hopelessly outdated logic of the past.
From our partner International Affairs
By ANTHONY KING
The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) launched on Christmas Day 2021, is already transforming our understanding of planets in our Solar System and far beyond. A versatile satellite observatory, JWST has a clear-eyed view from its orbital position, 1.5m km away from Earth in space. This gives it a major advantage over ground-based telescopes which must peer out to space through Earth’s hazy atmosphere.
JWST collects five times as much light as the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), allowing it to detect faint signals from distant worlds using its spectroscopic capabilities.
‘Before the James Webb Space Telescope, only a very small number of molecules could be observed, such as water, carbon monoxide and sodium,’ said Jérémy Leconte, astrophysicist at the University of Bordeaux in France.
Previous missions and observations from Earth have discovered thousands of exoplanets (those outside our Solar System) and astronomers are already taking advantage of JWST’s unique capabilities to study the building blocks of life in the Universe.
Earlier this year, the James Webb telescope allowed astrophysicists to observe an exoplanet around a Sun-like star, 700 light-years away. Starlight passing through the atmosphere of the hot Jupiter-like planet WASP-39b gives astronomers a view into the chemistry of alien skies.
From Earth, telescopes struggle to observe carbon dioxide on exoplanets, as they must look through the CO2 in the planets’ atmosphere. The JWST observatory allows a greater range of molecules, including carbon dioxide, to be detected in the skies of WASP-39b. The presence of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may indicate organic life exists on the planet.
‘This is really a game-changer,’ said Leconte. ‘We really need to look at planets around stars that are close to us. This is our best chance to characterise their atmospheres.’
In particular, he is interested in seven rocky planets that orbit the dwarf TRAPPIST-1 star, 40 light-years away, and especially their atmospheres. The planets exist in the habitable zone, meaning it has the right temperatures for water to remain liquid.
Usually, when scientists make predictions about an exoplanet’s atmosphere, they assume it is homogeneous – the same conditions exist all over it. This is unlikely to be true.
Leconte has developed a 3-D simulator (as part of the Horizon-funded WHIPLASH project) to run tests on simulated planets with known characteristics, such as the presence of liquid water. Using simulated planets to run these tests is like having the answers at the back of a math’s book: tests can be run and the answers the models provide can be compared with the known characteristics.
Many thousands more exoplanets will likely be discovered in the coming years – including those found using the new space telescope. Scientists want to know if their models can offer accurate insights. Some of the answers to questions about far-away exoplanets might lie close to home in the Solar System, in the four largest planets – Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.
The Juno orbiter mission has provided spectacular views of Jupiter, while the Cassini spacecraft revealed details about the planet Saturn. Previously, the Voyager 2 spacecraft flying by Neptune and Uranus took images of their atmospheres.
‘We have captured glorious images from these planets, with all these whirling storm systems and candy-coloured stripes, which are large-scale weather circulation patterns,’ said planetary scientist Leigh Fletcher at the University of Leicester, ‘But it is just a snapshot of their atmospheres and climates at a particular moment in time.’
To understand climate and weather patterns, Fletcher leads a project called GIANTCLIMES that pieced together scattered pieces of the puzzle of their ever-changing atmospheres. They used past observations from telescopes on Earth to understand natural cycles on the four giant planets over many decades. This work has prepared the ground for the highly anticipated new maps of these worlds from the JWST.
Uranus and Neptune are the most distant planets in the Solar System and these so-called “ice giants” still retain an air of mystery. They are composed mostly of hydrogen, helium and other gases like methane.
‘There’s so much potential for brand new discoveries (with these two planets),’ said Fletcher. ‘We don’t have a good handle on the workings of the atmospheres of these ice giants compared to the better-studied gas giants (Jupiter & Saturn).’
Meanwhile, Saturn is known to have massive storm systems, and Neptune may have methane snowstorms. The key variable in weather patterns is always temperature, with frigid cold temperatures on distant Neptune and Uranus.
There has been progress already with the publication of the first ever maps of atmospheric temperatures high in the stratosphere of Uranus. This revealed surprising seasonal circulation systems and bright spots over the poles.
It also predicts that giant planets, often titled on their axis, have extremely long seasons. ‘We do see seasons modulating atmospheric temperatures and clouds and precipitations as we do on planet Earth,’ said Fletcher, ‘but we also see regular natural cycles in the atmosphere that are not seasonal. We’re just starting to understand the weather on giant planets.’
Also, Neptune’s atmosphere showed substantial storm and weather activity, but the team were surprised with the finding that the planet seems to have cooled during the summer, rather than warmed.
GIANTCLIMES is a supporting act for the arrival of the JWST. The new telescope has already observed Jupiter, and in the near future it will turn towards Uranus and Saturn, and then Neptune early in 2023, allowing for comparisons between planets.
‘How the climates work on the four worlds is really the nub of what we are trying to understand,’ said Fletcher. It is expected to offer more insight into the natural cycles of climate variability as detected on Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Their extremes could even tell us more about Earth’s own climate and weather patterns.
Studies of the four giants are also relevant to exoplanet research. ‘We’ve got a collection of diverse planetary atmospheres in our Solar System which form a template for what we might expect to see around other stars,’ enthused Fletcher.
‘Maybe these exoplanetary targets also exhibit similar natural cycles, and the end goal is to try to have weather prediction or climate prediction for all of the planets, not just those in our Solar System,’ concluded Fletcher.
JWST will allow scientists better views into the skies of planets in the far reaches of the Solar System, but also worlds light years away, some of which could be surrounded by protective atmospheres and terrestrial conditions conducive to alien life.
‘Two fields are moving fast in astrophysics. They are exoplanets and cosmology, which really comes down to the question of God and life, so where does the Universe come from and where do we come from,’ said Leconte.
Research in this article was funded via the EU’s European Research Council (ERC). This material was originally published in Horizon, the EU Research and Innovation Magazine.
Firstly, as the main basis for AI development in the People’s Republic of China, the State has significantly increased its investment in the industry. It pays special attention to long-term financial support for basic research, and strengthens support for the AI industry purposefully and selectively with foundations and benefits.
It was necessary to learn from the experience and lessons relating to the allocation of national scientific research and development funds in the past, to formulate and improve the principles and methods of the rational allocation of funds, as well as take effective and fair measures to solve the problem of the unfair distribution of research funds, and make the best use of the support provided by staff incentives.
Secondly, China has encouraged private capital to invest in the AI industry and entrepreneurship. Inspired by the current booming of the AI sector, much private capital necessarily wants to join the AI industry. Giants and start-ups are collaborating to revitalise the AI market. The Internet companies such as Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent have already lined up in the AI field and the injection of capital is expected to revitalise the market. According to some surveys, a large number of start-ups are getting involved in the AI field and almost all of them have received investment, with funding far exceeding five billion yuan.
Driven by factors such as national policy support, the demand for applications, technological progress and capital injection, a market window of over one hundred billion is opening. Paying attention to create a good development environment for non-public AI enterprises, providing free and good services in terms of market access, examination and approval, processing and services, etc., as well as mobilising private enterprises’ enthusiasm and accelerating the development of the non-public economy, have been the foundations of this development.
However, due to the characteristics of the AI sector with broad application prospects, high technological content, long payback period and short technology iteration cycle, many investors bluntly stated that they “did not understand when it came to AI technology, meaning that before investing they wanted to better understand what it was all about – beyond the echo effect of the phenomenon – in order to invest capital wisely.
Besides assessing the technological progress and the prospects for commercial application of the AI field or the AI project invested nationally or abroad, there was also the issue of the staff that had to possess certain professional skills, as the financers’ experts had to have a long-term investment vision.
Over the years and considering the successes achieved, many credit and investment institutions are now more concerned with the value of short-term investment – since long-term investment has long brought economic benefits, visibility and authoritativeness abroad – with the hope of generating returns over a three- or five-year period. It has to be said, however, that the projects investing in AI often have a relatively long payback period and further assessment is required to see whether they can generate returns within the expected terms. Investing in AI technology and industries has to be assessed carefully.
While increasing support for IA research and development, the management of funds needed to be strengthened. It was recommended to implement scientific management of the entire process in the project review and implementation process, strengthen peer review, especially the review of funds and the management of the use of funds, eliminate waste and prevent corruption, so that the limited funds could be cut. Technology was thus greatly enhanced.
During the works at the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, as early as 2015 it was recommended to build one of the largest AI development platforms in the world, in view of the need and feasibility of establishing a national AI development plan.
In the era of the Internet networks, big data and cloud computing, it is unimaginable to develop high-tech and large supercomputing data science and fields such as AI without their own general platform. It is necessary for scientific research institutes, companies and even individual manufacturers to bring various innovations to this platform in a fair and equitable manner. AI technology has now substantial applications: voice recognition, image recognition, multilingual translation, machine learning, intelligent planning, smart control or driverless cars, unmanned aerial vehicles and autonomous underwater vehicles, etc. The basic AI technology starts with the mobile robot and a development platform for intelligent robots is the first step for the further development of big data, cloud computing, smart games, general education, logistics systems, services, transport, smart cities and tourism, expert systems, smart grid (in electrical and telecommunications engineering, a smart grid is the combination of an IT network and an electrical distribution network, which enables the electricity grid to be managed smartly in various aspects or functionalities, i.e. by managing it efficiently for the distribution of electricity and for a more rational use of energy, while minimising overloads and variations in the electrical voltage around the nominal value), etc.
This platform is open to innovation, to the sharing of resources and facilities, and gets strong support from convinced investors.
China already has extremely rich Internet computing and technology resources and, as computing and network resources become ever more plentiful and the cost ever lower, many intellectual functions that could not be simulated by computers are now able to do so. AI is the highest trend of technology in the current world. For the time being, the other great objective – the humans’ journey to Mars – is only at the theoretical-experimental stage. China currently has the ability to build an AI platform with global influence. At the same time, we need to realize that there are still great gaps and difficulties in achieving the sharing of resources on national and even global issues such as data storage, and this should not be taken lightly.
AI products have both hardware and software, with software as the core technology. In the past there were not many AI products in China – both hardware and software, with software as the core technology – and, without a national standard, the impact was minimal. With the fast rise of the AI industry, new products increased exponentially. Such AI acquisitions will certainly be confused and will inevitably mix with a number of fake and lower-quality products, thus disrupting the market. With a view to ensuring the healthy development of the AI sector and protect the consumers’ legitimate rights and interests, government legislation, as well as quality inspection and market management departments, take precautions and seize the opportunity to formulate or revise standards, through rigorous inspections and staff audits, in order to carefully prevent the entry of unskilled labour.
Only by letting qualified AI products enter the market can the AI high-tech reputation be maintained, which enables the AI industry to create a healthy development and thus promote the industry so that it can truly become the core technology of smart production: a new lever for the transformation and enhancement of the national economic structure, i.e. the engine of a new industrial revolution. (12. continued)
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