The initiative for China’s AI development is in the hands of China

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The release of the text-to-video model Sora by the American company OpenAI has shaken the global artificial intelligence (AI) industry, causing many people in China to worry about the gap between China’s AI research and the US. China and the US are the absolute “top players” in the field of AI. However, most major breakthroughs in AI technology for now come from American companies. Faced with the technological gap between China and the US, Chinese people do not need to be overly worried as we strive to catch up with the US and accelerate the development of a path suitable for China’s AI industry.

The recent reveal of Sora undoubtedly attracted high attention from the entire world. Sora demonstrated the amazing video imitation production ability of the text-to-video model. Even more shocking is the speed of progress of generative AI models. From the appearance of ChatGPT to now, it has been less than a year and three months, and it has almost been a leap in iteration.

Why do technologically innovative products like ChatGPT and Sora happen in the US instead of China? Is China being put into a passive position in the development of AI? Chinese public is increasingly concerned. 

China’s generative AI models are obviously falling behind those of the US. The emergence of Sora is seen as adding new pressure on Chinese companies. We must acknowledge this gap, but it should not lead to a loss of confidence. Instead, it should inspire determination and courage to catch up.

It is important to remember that technological development is never a one-step process. Although Sora is not developed in China, it is worth noting that China’s AI development is on the right track and gaining momentum. Tang Lan, director of the Center for Cyberspace Security and Governance Studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times that in the field of AI, there is a saying that “the strong get stronger and the weak get weaker.” The rapid advancement of large American AI models serves as a reminder for China to hasten its search for a path suitable for AI development and accelerate the creation of new productivity boosters, Tang said.

China still has advantages in developing AI. Scholars from China and the US unanimously believe that the US is in a leading position in software and hardware development, but in terms of AI applications and data collection, China has a greater advantage. Application scenarios, population size, and industrial cluster effects are also China’s advantages. Many of China’s technological advancements have become internationally leading through the application capabilities formed by the huge market and then feedback and accumulation of technology under specific applications.

At the same time, China has undeniable policy advantages and industrial policy capabilities for developing AI. Shen Yi, director of the Research Institution for Global Cyberspace Governance at Fudan University, said that China’s institutional advantages can ensure that AI is used in the real economy, enabling AI capabilities to not only generate texts and visual works but also empower industrial and manufacturing production to become intelligent, accelerating the formation of new productivity boosters.

Due to the continuous development of China’s AI industry, American politicians have hyped the threat of China under the guise of “national security” and imposed sanctions on China’s development in the field of AI chips. Some Chinese entrepreneurs are worried that American sanctions may hinder the pace of China’s AI development. Tang believes that the development of AI is a common issue for all mankind, noting that it’s wrong for the US to adopt an isolated and politically motivated approach against China’s development, but it should abandon its prejudice, view competition in AI from the perspective of the future development of humanity, and work together with other countries to explore and research the future development of AI.

Currently, AI is in a stage of rapid development, and the research breakthroughs in the US should be seen as an encouragement for us to strive to catch up with the US. We do not need to worry excessively, but we should continuously adjust and optimize specific policies, encourage and accelerate the landing and application of AI technology in China based on our country’s population and market advantages. To cooperate with other countries to strengthen AI governance and continuously improve the security, reliability, controllability, and fairness of AI technology, is the right thing for us to do.



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