TIANJIN, May 20 (Xinhua) -- Including technological innovation and safe development, issues stemming from the rapidly growing generative artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have captured global attention and aroused widespread discussion.
At the ongoing seventh World Intelligence Congress held in north China's Tianjin Municipality from May 18 to 21, experts, scholars and entrepreneurs are sharing their insights on these issues and brainstorming on how to strengthen international cooperation to tackle the potential challenges posed by such fast-developing technologies.
Speaking to Xinhua, John Edwards, Britain's HM Trade Commissioner for China, said that countries around the world need to work together and talk to each other to address the challenges and risks stemming from this new technology.
"Now, global AI development is ushering in a new era of rapid progress. The groundbreaking advancements in large-scale pre-trained models represent a historic milestone in the field of artificial intelligence," said Wang Zhigang, China's minister of science and technology.
Liu Liehong, chairman of China United Network Communications Group Co., Ltd., remarked that generative AI has demonstrated extensive potential for application and significant integration capabilities, resulting in notable improvements in efficiency and direct economic benefits.
"As a fundamental technology and inherent capability of the digital era, generative AI is becoming a pivotal factor in reshaping global resource allocation, restructuring the global economic landscape and transforming the dynamics of global competition," Liu added.
For China, AI technology is a crucial tool for optimizing and upgrading industries, boosting productivity and enhancing the welfare of its people, while strategic plans and deployments have been formulated at the national level, with 18 national pilot zones established for next-generation AI innovation and development in cities like Beijing and Tianjin.
According to data released at the event, China had secured the top position globally in terms of the number of patent applications filed for AI technologies by 2022, with the scale of the core AI industry surpassing 500 billion yuan (about 71.07 billion U.S. dollars), while more than 4,200 major enterprises operated, comprising approximately 16 percent of the global total.
The minister also acknowledged that the advancement of AI technology encounters technical challenges, including biases in underlying algorithms, limited availability of high-quality data and the necessity to enhance model efficiency, as well as social concerns encompassing personal privacy, public safety, education and employment. "It is crucial for countries worldwide to unite and cooperate, fostering the continuous and sound development of AI."
In recent years, China has gradually strengthened its regulatory guidance on the development of AI and issued relevant guidelines and principles.
China proactively tackles the potential risks and challenges associated with AI and advances ethical governance of AI, with a commitment to developing responsible artificial intelligence, Wang stated at the event.
Echoing many social concerns about employment slashed by AI technology, Robin Li, chairman and CEO of China's internet giant Baidu, said he is not worried about the development of generative AI leading to reductions in human job opportunities and living standards.
Taking coachmen and typists as examples, he noted that the introduction of new technologies will not only take away traditional professions but also bring emerging professions.
"For humanity, the most significant form of unsustainability is not the uncertainty caused by innovation. Instead, it lies in the diverse and unpredictable risks resulting from stagnation, the absence of invention, creation and progress," Li said.
On Friday, the 2023 Global Generative AI Industry Report was released at the event, suggesting that generative AI presents both challenges and opportunities for employment.
"On one hand, generative AI will facilitate the automation and intelligent upgrading of certain job positions, potentially rendering them obsolete. On the other hand, generative AI will also create new professions, such as 'Prompt Engineers' who use natural language as prompts to interact with AI systems and generate information or creative works. Additionally, the field of AI is expected to create a substantial number of new professions," wrote the report.
Wan Gang, chairman of the China Association for Science and Technology, said at the event that AI systems are intricate, covering diverse fields and posing research difficulties.
"Exploring and developing AI technology is a collaborative undertaking that transcends national boundaries and academic fields. The international community must uphold the principles of openness and collaboration, working together to establish a shared, cooperative and mutually beneficial path forward," said Wan.