China has pledged billions of dollars to boost the development of artificial intelligence in the country's first technology research drive of its kind, highlighting Beijing's commitment to expanding the horizons of the nascent field. During an annual meeting of parliament, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told legislators Sunday that the nation would invest in new technologies and their associated markets. The Association of the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence's annual meeting, which took place last month, was rescheduled when the original dates in January conflicted with the Chinese New Year, displaying the vast clout of Chinese input on the international conference. In response to tensions between Beijing and Washington over territorial disputes in the South China Sea, China has reportedly begun developing "semiautonomous" weapons capable of making their own tactical decisions against predesignated targets.
According to the report, most computer scientists believe the possible threats posed by AI to be "at best uninformed" and those fears "do not align with the most rapidly advancing current research directions of AI as a field." It instead says these existential fears stem from a very particular--and small--part of the field of research called Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), which is defined as an AI that can successfully perform any intellectual task that a human can. The report argues we are unlikely to see the reality of an AGI come from the current artificial intelligence research and the concept "has high visibility, disproportionate to its size or present level of success." Musk launched a nonprofit AI research company called OpenAI in 2015 and pledged $1 billion to it, with the intention of developing best practices and helping prevent potentially damaging applications of the technology.