China's plan for artificial intelligence (AI) development, issued by the State Council Thursday, is a major step for carrying out the innovation-driven development strategy and making the country a global leader in science and technology, said Wang Zhigang, vice minister of science and technology.
Since the concept of AI was first proposed in 1956, it has been evolving rapidly with the development of the internet, big data, super computers and neuroscience, ushering in "the new generation of AI," said Wang.
"The new generation of AI" features deep learning, integration of multiple disciplines, human-machine collaboration and automatic operation, and is making various social and economic sectors smarter, said Wang.
As a trigger for a new round of industrial reform, AI has been used by many countries to enhance international competitiveness and national security.
However, China's move to propel AI development is not aimed at challenging the international status of certain countries, said Li Meng, another vice minister of science and technology.
"The plan is based on our judgement and vision for the current and future development of Chinese science and technology, and it meets the demands of social and economic development," said Li.
The plan stated that the AI industry will serve as a new major economic growth engine and help improve people's lives by 2020, and the plan sets the target of China becoming a major center for AI innovation and leading the world in AI technology and applications by 2030.
Wang stressed the importance of creating an open and coordinated system for AI innovation, which includes building innovation bases and a high-caliber talent pool, and promoting collaboration among AI entities.
He also emphasized the synergy among AI research, production and industrial development, noting that research and production should reinforce each other.
The emergence of AI has presented a double-edged sword for many people, and debates about its risks remain fierce.
"Just like other new technology, AI may bring about problems such as unemployment, disrupting social ethics and even challenging the principles of international relations," said Wang.
In response to unemployment worries, Wang said the plan offers guidance for making adjustments to personnel training that will be more aligned with the job market.
The stipulation of safety management regulations will be accelerated to address problems in automatic driving, service robots and other technology.
Safety supervision and assessment will be strengthened to cope with misbehaviors such as data misuse, infringement of privacy and moral transgression, in order to promote self-discipline in the AI industry and companies, Wang said.