Tech minister: AI development pace "too aggressive"
Updated 17:18, 11-Mar-2019
Xia Cheng

China is investing billions of yuan in Artificial Intelligence (AI). “China's AI development is ahead of moral and legal progression in this country and in the world,” the country's tech minister said Monday, adding that the pace of development might be too aggressive.

Officials from the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology met with the press Monday to explain what their policies mean for a variety of sectors. The officials touched on a number of issues that could redirect China's innovation drive in AI and basic sciences.

Wang Zhigang, Chinese Minister of Science and Technology, described new technology as “a double-edged sword that could bring both benefit and risks,” and asked tech professionals to “have strong senses of responsibility and morality.”

“Technology is a double-edged sword that could bring both benefit and risks. That's why when turning new technologies into material applications, there will be uncertain consequences,” Wang said.

VCG Photo

VCG Photo

China is the world's 17th most inventive country, according to the Global Innovation Index in 2018. China wants to be in the top 15 on that list by 2020. But just that two-place advancement will require an across-the-board progression in China's research ethics, academic practices, and better development for young scientists.

The minister mentioned that China's investment into basic science research lags far behind other economies, such as the United States.

“The five percent investment into basic science research is mainly offered by the central government budget. Local governments and the private sector are rarely involved. That's unlike the U.S. where the federal and local governments and corporations are all investing in basic sciences,” he addressed.

Meanwhile, Wang called for more talents to “focus on basic sciences, not tech applications and product design.”

“It's good news that there are hi-tech companies investing in talent. Those people focus on basic sciences, not tech applications and product design,” the minister stressed.