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Chinese Communist Party warns of artificial intelligence risks, calls for more national security measures

China’s ruling Communist Party has warned of the dangers of advances in artificial intelligence while pushing for more national security measures.

The statement, released following a meeting convened by the party leader and President Xi Jinping on Tuesday, highlights the contradiction between the government’s drive to take global leadership in cutting-edge technology and cost concerns. social and political potential of these innovations.

It also follows a warning from academics and IT industry executives in the United States, including senior Microsoft and Google executives, about the dangers artificial intelligence poses to humanity.

The Beijing forum stressed the importance of “dedicated efforts to safeguard political security and improve governance of internet data security and artificial intelligence,” according to the official. Xinhua News Agency.

“It was emphasized during the meeting that the complexity and severity of the national security challenges facing our country have increased significantly. The national security front should develop strategic self-confidence, have enough confidence to secure victory, and be fully aware of its own strengths and advantages,” Xinhua said.

“We must be prepared for worst case scenarios and extreme scenarios, and be prepared to withstand the major test of high winds, choppy waters and even dangerous storms,” he said.

Xi, who is China’s head of state, army commander and chairman of the party’s National Security Commission, called the meeting to “stay very aware of the complicated and difficult circumstances facing national security.” .

China needs a “new development model with a new security architecture”, Xi Jinping reported.

China is already devoting vast resources to removing any perceived political threat to party dominance, with spending on police and security personnel exceeding that on the military.

While he relentlessly censors in-person protests and online criticism, citizens have continued to voice their displeasure with policies, most recently the draconian lockdown measures passed to combat the spread of COVID-19 .

China has cracked down on its tech sector in an effort to reassert party control, but like other countries, it is scrambling to find ways to regulate rapidly developing AI technology.

The latest party meeting reinforced the need “to assess potential risks, take precautions, protect people’s interests and national security, and ensure the safety, reliability and ability to control AI “, reported the official newspaper Beijing Youth Daily on Tuesday.

Concerns about artificial intelligence systems outwitting humans and spiraling out of control have intensified with the rise of a new generation of high-performance AI chatbots such as ChatGPT.

Sam Altman, CEO of ChatGPT-maker OpenAI, and Geoffrey Hinton, a computer scientist known as the godfather of artificial intelligence, were among hundreds of prominent figures who signed the statement posted on the Center for AI Safety website on Tuesday.

“Mitigation of the risk of AI extinction should be a global priority alongside other society-wide risks such as pandemics and nuclear war,” the statement said.

More than 1,000 researchers and technologists, including Elon Musk, who is currently visiting 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 people involved in the subject have proposed a United Nations treaty to regulate the technology.

China warned as early as 2018 of the need to regulate AI, but has nonetheless funded a vast expansion in the field as part of efforts to take a lead in cutting-edge technologies.

A lack of privacy protections and tight party control over the justice system have also resulted in near-total use of facial, voice and even walking recognition technology to identify and detain people deemed to be threatening, especially political dissidents and religious minorities, especially Muslims. .

Members of Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic groups have been targeted for mass electronic surveillance and more than a million people have been held in prison-like political re-education camps that China calls de-radicalization centers and vocational training.

The risks of AI are primarily seen in its ability to control autonomous robotic weapons, financial tools, and computers governing power grids, health centers, transportation networks, and other key infrastructure.

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

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

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