Tech,  Wealth

Breaking the Ice: China and the US Foster AI Cooperation Amidst Advancements

TSMC founder Chang Chung-mou once said: “Globalization is dead.”

As trade barriers between different countries continue to deepen, this “cold air” of anti-globalization has also been transmitted to the most cutting-edge technology industry-AI.

But recently, the ice between China and the United States in the field of AI is gradually melting.

On April 26, when U.S. Secretary of State Blinken visited China, the China-U.S. meeting reached a five-point consensus, including: further promoting Sino-U.S. cooperation in artificial intelligence and announcing that the first meeting of the Sino-U.S. Intergovernmental Dialogue on Artificial Intelligence would be held.

Subsequently, Elon Musk, the “old friend of the Chinese people”, unexpectedly visited Beijing last Sunday. There are rumors that he is expected to launch a more advanced FSD (assisted driving system) in China – one of the largest application scenarios of AI. one.

This move comes at a time when Musk is facing many difficulties such as declining sales and layoff crisis.

Coincidentally, when Apple’s performance was sluggish, Cook also came to China for help and sought cooperation with Baidu in the field of generative AI technology for large-scale end-side models.

According to the “2024 Artificial Intelligence Index Report” published by Stanford HAI, China and the United States dominate the world’s top two in advanced large models, and China is far ahead in terms of the number of artificial intelligence patents.

The cooperation between the two superpowers that continue to lead AI technology will affect the future development of science and technology. The increasingly serious security risks in the AI ​​field also require technology companies and governments to come together to cooperate on AI security.

Musk can’t do AI without China

In the first quarter, affected by factors such as declining sales and layoffs, Tesla’s stock price has fallen by nearly 30%. Tesla CEO Musk has also lost his position as the world’s richest man. At this time, Musk was in urgent need of a turning point.

So Musk came to China again. Analysts at Wedbush Securities said that this move will help further strengthen the footprint of its electric vehicles in the Chinese market, which is a “watershed moment” for Tesla.

It is worth mentioning that Cook, who had previously missed out on the AI ​​wave, also “came to China for help” and negotiated with Baidu on device-side generative AI.

This is because China’s advantages in supply chain, user data and huge market are crucial to these large multinational AI companies.

This indicates that China is increasingly becoming a battleground for major AI manufacturers.

From the perspective of the supply chain, China’s Shanghai Gigafactory is Tesla’s global export center. In addition to the Chinese market, the cars produced by the factory are sold to overseas regions such as Asia-Pacific and Europe. In 2023, the cumulative delivery volume of Tesla’s Shanghai Gigafactory reached 947,000 vehicles, accounting for more than half of its global production capacity.

At the market level, faced with increasingly fierce competition from local Chinese brands, Chinese consumers have become less enthusiastic about Tesla. Tesla’s market share dropped to around 6.7% in the quarter ending in December, and in the first quarter of 2023, it was 10.5%.

Data is an important barrier that AI technologies such as autonomous driving need to break through.

After all, there are 1.7 million Tesla users in China, and this data will help Tesla improve its AI algorithms and further strengthen its electric vehicle layout in the Chinese market.

A week before Musk’s visit to China, during a conference call to discuss Tesla’s bleak financial results, Musk made it clear that self-driving technology and artificial intelligence are crucial to Tesla’s future and said, “We should be considered an artificial intelligence company. Robotics Inc.” Tesla will launch FSD services in “any market where it can obtain regulatory approval,” which “we believe includes China.”

When running cross-border AI technologies such as FSD or iPhone client-side AI in China, a major obstacle is the issue of data security.

Fortunately, Musk has ushered in various favorable domestic policies.

During his less than 24-hour visit, two Tesla models were included in the list of models whose vehicle data security meets national security standards. According to the “Notice on the Testing of Four Safety Requirements for Automotive Data Processing (First Batch)”, all models produced by Tesla’s Shanghai Gigafactory meet compliance requirements. Various places (such as government agencies, airports, highways, etc.) have gradually lifted restrictions on the movement and parking of Tesla and other smart cars.

As for the cross-border data transmission problems that FSD may face, Musk seems to have found a solution. Industry insiders told Huxiu that this plan may be similar to Apple’s cloud-based Guizhou plan.

Tesla’s domestic vehicle data is stored in a data center in China, which was built in 2021.

The recently passed cross-border data flow regulations also provide an answer to this question.

Previously, at the 2024 annual meeting of the China Development Forum, Director of the National Development and Reform Commission Zheng Shajie said that market access for digital products and other products would be expanded and vigorously promote the development, openness, circulation and use of data.

The Cyberspace Administration of China announced the “Regulations on Promoting and Regulating Cross-Border Data Flows”, which provides specific quantitative compliance standards for cross-border data flows. This regulation aims to promote the orderly and free flow of data in accordance with the law, stimulate the value of data elements, and expand high-level opening up to the outside world.

This regulation will undoubtedly give Tesla FSD and Apple end-side AI a reassurance, and also set an example for major AI manufacturers that hope to strengthen cooperation with China.

In addition, the interaction between governments also indicates that Sino-US AI cooperation and exchanges may usher in a critical node.

On April 26, Blinken said at a Beijing press conference: “I am pleased to announce that earlier today, we agreed to hold the first U.S.-China artificial intelligence talks in the next few weeks. We will focus on the risks and safety of advanced artificial intelligence issues and how best to manage them.”

When meeting with Musk, Prime Minister Li Qiang said: “China’s ultra-large-scale market will always be open to foreign-funded enterprises. China will keep its word.” He said that China will provide foreign-invested enterprises with a better business environment, allowing all countries to Enterprises can invest in China with peace of mind.

On the way to the end of his visit to China, Blinken went to a vinyl record store and bought Dou Wei’s album “Black Dream”.

One of the lyrics goes like this: “Waiting for the beautiful spring, enduring the cold winter.”

This series of news seems to indicate that spring is coming.

Avoiding an AI “nuclear disaster”

In addition to the prosperous and developing field of AI applications, major countries also urgently need to reach a consensus on security issues in the field of AI.

In fact, the United States and China discussed AI security issues in November last year and agreed to establish a dialogue mechanism on this issue.

Last November, at the AI ​​Security Summit convened by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, 28 countries, including China, and leading AI companies made broad commitments to work together to address the existential risks that AI may bring.

In March, an international dialogue on AI security was held in Beijing. This dialogue was initiated by Zhiyuan Research Institute. Top international experts in the field of AI drew the security “red line” in the field of AI.

The participating experts conducted in-depth discussions during the two-day dialogue, jointly drafted and signed the “Beijing International Consensus on AI Security”, proposed artificial intelligence risk red lines and security governance routes, and called for “global collaboration in artificial intelligence security research and governance” Action is the key to avoiding uncontrolled, cutting-edge AI developments that pose existential risks to all of humanity.”

Signatories who attended the meeting and made the statement include: Zhang Yaqin, Dean of the Institute of Intelligent Industry of Tsinghua University, world-renowned computer scientists Yao Qizhi, Ms. Fu Ying, the father of neural networks, Geoffrey Hinton and Joshua Bengio. Yoshua Bengio) and Stuart Russell, professor of computer science at the University of California, Berkeley.

The “Beijing International Consensus on AI Safety” shows: “At the height of the Cold War in the past, cooperation between the international scientific community and governments helped avoid thermonuclear disasters. In the face of unprecedented technology, mankind needs to cooperate again to avoid the possible consequences it may bring. Disaster occurs.”

The consensus emphasized the need to continue to uphold and strengthen security cooperation between the international scientific community and governments. “The combination of collaborative technical research and prudent international regulatory mechanisms can mitigate most of the risks posed by artificial intelligence and realize many of its potential values.”

It also calls on “AI developers and government funders to invest at least one-third of their AI R&D budgets in security.”

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