China warns of artificial intelligence risks, calls for beefed-up national security measures – DNyuz

China warns of artificial intelligence risks, calls for beefed-up national security measures

BEIJING — China’s ruling Communist Party has warned of the risks posed by advances in artificial intelligence while calling for heightened national security measures.

On Tuesday, a meeting led by President Xi Jinping and party leader Xi Jinping urged the “dedicated effort to safeguard political safety and improve the security of internet data and Artificial Intelligence,” according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

Xi, who is China’s head of state, commander of the military and chair of the party’s National Security Commission, called at the meeting for “staying keenly aware of the complicated and challenging circumstances facing national security.”

China needs a “new pattern of development with a new security architecture,” Xinhua reported Xi as saying.

The Beijing statements followed Tuesday’s warning by tech leaders in the U.S. including senior executives from Microsoft and Google about the dangers artificial intelligence presents to humanity.

“Mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war,” the statement said.

China already dedicates vast resources to suppressing any perceived political threats to the party’s dominance, with spending on the police and security personnel exceeding that devoted to the military.

While it relentlessly censors in-person protests and online criticism, citizens have continued to express dissatisfaction with policies, most recently the draconian lockdown measures enacted to combat the spread of COVID-19.

China is cracking down in its tech industry to reinsert the party’s control. But like many other countries, it has to scramble to find ways of regulating this developing technology.

The most recent meeting of the party reaffirmed the necessity to assess the risks and take measures to protect the interests and security of the nation, as well as to ensure safety and reliability.

Worries about artificial intelligence systems outsmarting humans and slipping out of control have intensified with the rise of a new generation of highly capable AI chatbots such as ChatGPT.

Sam Altman of ChatGPT maker OpenAI and Geoffrey Hinton – a computer science known as “the godfather of AI” – were two of the many prominent figures to sign the Center for AI Safety statement posted Tuesday.

More than 1,000 researchers and technologists, including Elon Musk, who is currently on a visit to China, had signed a much longer letter earlier this year calling for a six-month pause on AI development.

The missive said AI poses “profound risks to society and humanity,” and some involved in the topic have proposed a United Nations treaty to regulate the technology.

China warned as far back as 2018 of the need to regulate AI, but has nonetheless funded a vast expansion in the field as part of efforts to seize the high ground on cutting-edge technologies.

A lack of privacy protections and strict party control over the legal system have also resulted in near-blanket usage of facial, voice and even walking-gait recognition technology to identify and detain those seen as threatening, such as political dissenters and religious minorities, especially Muslims.

Members of the Uyghur and other mainly Muslim ethnic groups have been singled out for mass electronic monitoring and more than 1 million people have been detained in prison-like political re-education camps that China calls deradicalization and job training centers.

AI poses a number of risks, including the ability to manipulate robotic weapons, computers that control power grids and transportation networks, and financial instruments.

China’s unbridled enthusiasm for new technology and willingness to tinker with imported or stolen research and to stifle inquiries into major events such as the COVID-19 outbreak heighten concerns over its use of AI.

“China’s blithe attitude toward technological risk, the government’s reckless ambition, and Beijing’s crisis mismanagement are all on a collision course with the escalating dangers of AI,” technology and national security scholars Bill Drexel and Hannah Kelley wrote in an article published this week in the journal Foreign Affairs.

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