Here be Dragons: Lessons from China's AI Strategy

1 minute read

In 2017 Vladimir Putin boldly declared that “whoever leads in artificial intelligence will rule the world.” While perhaps overstated, there AI industries nonetheless hold a clear importance to global leadership in the 21st century. AI serves both as an economic growth engine and as a tool of politics with many claiming that AI leadership will be crucial to realpolitik. Many countries, including Canada, have proclaimed their ambitions to become global leaders in AI but one of the most credible claims is that made by China, which has the stated policy of being the global leader in AI by 2030. Significantly, these statements by China are followed by tangible action and a deep-seated commitment to furthering the country’s leadership in AI.

China’s AI ambitions have resulted in substantial economic investments on the part of the central government, but perhaps most interestingly, have been followed by policy changes and legal reviews designed to make China a more competitive jurisdiction for those private entities seeking to grow and advance the AI industry. These policy adjustments are very much in line with Chinese values, which are themselves not necessarily in keeping with existing global norms and nor what might be considered palpable more broadly. Yet with China rapidly approaching a state of global significance in the AI sector, Chinese policies towards AI will be increasingly important for rule-makers and rule-takers alike.

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Mark Robbins

Mark Robbins

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