As General Secretary Xi Jinping addressed the People’s Republic of China (PRC) during his new year speech, deeply, but perhaps not coincidentally, nested in his background on a book shelf were two books on Artificial Intelligence that caught viewer’s attention – ‘The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our World’ by Pedro Domingos and Brett King's ‘Augmented: Life in the Smart Lane’. Domingos, later in an interview to Quartz magazine, when asked how he felt about his book landing on the shelves of one of the most powerful men in the world, described it as “both exciting and scary”.
In July 2017, the State Council of PRC published the Next Generation Artificial Intelligence (AI) Development Plan – its official policy document for the development and implementation of AI. Taking a National Innovation System (NIS) approach, this seminar closely looks at the design of China’s AI policy. It discusses the focus tasks and key targets set by the techno-nationalist policy document, key stakeholders working in an “open and coordinated” innovation ecosystem, present R&D capabilities, strategies for technology transfer, approach to civil military technological diffusion in AI and co-development of associated industries to make AI as the “main force driving Chinese industrial upgradation”. The ensuing discussion aims at setting the stage of what India can learn from China’s NIS approach to development of General Purpose Technologies such as AI and how it can best respond to the rise of China as an AI superpower.
About the Speaker
Ravish Bhatia is a Yenching Scholar at Peking University and a Frédéric Bastiat Fellow at the Mercatus Centre of George Mason University. He researches and writes on technology policy and industrial economics. He is a commentator for the China Global Television Network (CCTV-English) and his writings have appeared in the Indian Express, Pandaily, Qrius and the Daily Pioneer. He also holds a degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering and is presently based out of Beijing.
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