ChinAI Newsletter #1: Welcome!

Welcome to the ChinAI Newsletter!

These are Jeff Ding's weekly translations of writings on AI policy and strategy from Chinese thinkers. I'll also include general links to all things at the intersection of China and AI. Please share the subscription link if you think this stuff is cool.

I'm a grad student at the University of Oxford where I lead the Future of Humanity Institute - Governance of AI Program's research on China AI happenings.

Artificial Intelligence: The Tencent Book

A couple of weeks ago, while conducting research for my report on China's AI dream (which I'm sharing in this inaugural newsletter as well), I happened upon an article about a book launch/legal seminar, held in Beijing in November of 2017 for a book on AI strategy. I checked to see if there was any English-language coverage of this book out there and couldn't find anything, thus raising the proverbial question, "If the 5th largest company in the world and a Chinese government think tank jointly publish a 500-page book outlining their thinking on AI policy, and no one in the English-speaking world is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"

So I decided to translate some of the chapters, and I'm up to 8 out of 33 chapters now. For the passages in each chapter I found most interesting, I've highlighted and commented on them in the respective Google docs. I would recommend reading Chapters 25, 13, 18, 19, 31 (ranked from extremely interesting to slightly less extremely interesting). One note: please don't share these translations widely yet; I'm in touch with one of the coauthors but I'm a little concerned about copyright issues, so take these as "very meticulous notes on the chapter."


Deciphering China's AI Dream Report (Embargoed version)

As I mentioned above, I draw on these translations for my report examining all the pieces of China's AI development, which we're planning on publishing to the FHI site tomorrow. The report derives consistent and new features of China's development of AI in comparison to its efforts in other science and technology domains, benchmarks China's AI potential in comparison to the U.S., and points out that China aims to, and has a good shot at, "setting the pace" in AI governance, especially with respect to technical standardization.

The hope is that this report can serve as a foundational document for further policy discussion and research on the topic.


China's White Paper on AI Standardization

I shared a translated portion of China's White Paper on AI Standardization in my last weekly email, but this week I translated about half of the 98-page white paper (I didn't translate the first half because it's mostly background and also sleep is a thing). 

My takeaways: a) this white paper took some serious intellectual/political capital to put together - list of contributors is expansive, very impressive coverage of topics/systemic perspective on how AI fits into the economy and society; b) China is really pushing to take an active leadership role in setting international standards for AI for a variety of reasons: global economic competitiveness, gaining "discourse power," among others. I comment on a few of these throughout the document.