Chinese researchers have made significant strides in the field of artificial general intelligence (AGI), publishing a staggering 850 papers between 2018 and 2022, according to a recent report by the Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET). The report emphasizes the need for open-source monitoring programs to track and address China’s growing AGI capabilities, which pose a challenge to global norms. With a focus on various AGI precursor technologies and the exploration of brain-computer interfaces (BCIs), China’s commitment to AGI development is clear. This article delves into the key findings of the CSET report and the implications of China’s AGI advancements.
The report raises concerns regarding the difficulty of comprehending China’s AGI achievements due to limited access to scientific research
China’s AGI Research Dominance:
CSET’s examination of scientific papers highlights China’s commitment to AGI research. Among the analyzed papers, 500 focused on routine AI applications, while a significant number were dedicated to AGI precursor technologies. This body of research underscores China’s genuine efforts to advance artificial general intelligence, demanding global attention and serious consideration.
Beijing as an AGI Hub:
The “New Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan” introduced by China in 2017 established ambitious goals for AGI development, aiming to secure China’s first-mover advantage in the AI field. The CSET report identifies Beijing as the primary hub for AGI research, with several universities playing a significant role in contributing to China’s AGI efforts. However, the report acknowledges the possibility of breakthroughs occurring elsewhere in China, particularly in Wuhan, where testing and deployment activities might take place.
Cognitive Sharing through BCIs:
The CSET report suggests that China is exploring multiple paths to AGI, including an intriguing approach involving cognitive sharing through brain-computer interfaces (BCIs). BCIs represent the convergence of biological and technological systems, potentially revolutionizing AGI development. Although the report doesn’t delve into this area extensively, it emphasizes the significance of BCIs in China’s AGI research landscape.
Restricting access to academic journals and concealing scientific advancements can lead to false assumptions and hinder global understanding.
Challenges of Understanding China’s AGI Achievements:
The report raises concerns regarding the difficulty of comprehending China’s AGI achievements due to limited access to scientific research. While some overseas researchers contribute to China’s AGI research, the majority of it is conducted within Chinese institutions. Restricting access to academic journals and concealing scientific advancements can lead to false assumptions and hinder global understanding. The authors draw parallels with historical events like the “missile gap” in the 1960s, emphasizing the potential risks associated with inadequate information sharing.
As China emerges as a leader in AGI research, the CSET report emphasizes the need for international collaboration and transparent monitoring programs to better understand China’s achievements and intentions.
While cautioning against unrestricted races for AGI dominance, the report urges policymakers to recognize the strategic importance of AGI and advocates for trust-based agreements that can be effectively verified.
By addressing the ethical, legal, and social implications of AGI development collectively, the global community can navigate the complex landscape of AGI advancements, promoting responsible and beneficial outcomes for all.