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World must unite to regulate AI – China’s Xi

The Chinese leader told an internet conference on Wednesday that he opposes an “arms race in cyberspace”

China’s president Xi Jinping has told an internet governance summit that the global community should come together to help manage the potential risks posed by technological innovations like artificial intelligence (AI).

Beijing is ready to “promote the safe development of AI,” Xi said in pre-recorded comments delivered on Wednesday as part of the opening ceremony of the 2023 World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, in Zhejiang province. Last month, the Chinese government announced its Global AI Governance Initiative, a proposal which calls for the safe and open development of AI technology.

Xi added that cooperation and not confrontation is necessary in order to build a shared cyberspace community, the Xinhua news agency said, and that technology can be developed to act as a benefit for more countries. He also expressed his opposition to what he called “cyberspace hegemony.”

“There’s a need to respect international rules, oppose seeking hegemony, bloc confrontation and [an] arms race in cyberspace,” the Chinese leader said.

Li Shulei, who leads the Chinese Communist Party’s publicity department, underscored Xi’s comments on Wednesday, saying that Beijing would work with other countries in order to “improve the safety, reliability, controllability and fairness of artificial intelligence.”

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Several countries, China and the United States included, have sought to impose rules on the unfettered development of AI amid concerns about the potential impact that it may have. US President Joe Biden signed legislation in October intended to promote the responsible development of AI innovation, and to minimize possible concerns which have been brought to light in recent months.

Critics of AI technology have warned of its potential impacts, ranging from the spread of misinformation online to the vast job losses in employment sectors that could theoretically be managed by artificial intelligence.

At the same conference a year ago, Xi called for an online infrastructure to be developed that is fairer and more equitable to its users, the South China Morning Post said on Wednesday.

China has been criticized for what some see as an authoritarian control over its citizens’ internet use. Many overseas news and social media sites are blocked from public consumption in the country – though these restrictions are temporarily lifted in the Wuzhen area for the duration of the conference, according to the Associated Press.


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