East-West Collaboration for Beneficial AI

Outline 

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to be one of the greatest achievements of our human species, with global impacts and benefits. 
  • We need the wisdom of all to ensure that AI is beneficial for all. 
  • China's science will be central to the development of AI - its philosophy should be just as central in the global conversation about the impacts and benefits of AI. 
  • Cambridge is the birthplace of contemporary Western philosophy, the home of Alan Turing, and now the leading technology hub in Europe. 
  • This project will build a bridge between Cambridge and leading thinkers in China, to foster a rich East-West dialogue about the impacts of AI.

China's AI future

China is experiencing an AI revolution. The country is now embarking on an unprecedented programme to lead the development of AI technology, and apply it in all areas of the economy and society. This effort is led by burgeoning and innovative technology companies such as Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent, and draws on the rich intellectual resources of China's leading universities and research institutions. It is backed by a strong commitment from the central government, which recently laid out a sweeping vision of transforming China into an advanced society, with AI being a major driver of innovation and growth.

Global impacts, global responsibilities

AI is likely to be one of the most transformative technologies in human history, with profound impacts at all levels of society and all corners of the world. The challenges of ensuring that it is safe and beneficial are challenges for  humanity as a whole. Ambitions to lead the development of AI need to be matched by ambitions to ensure that it is developed responsibly, and applied for global benefit. 

China's missing voice

Among Western philosophers, social scientists, and AI researchers there has been much recent discussion about the challenges of ensuring that AI is safe and beneficial. At present, however,  the distinctive philosophical and cultural voices of China, and the voices of China's AI leaders, are largely missing from these important  conversations. East and West need to find ways to talk together about the future of AI. 

The Cambridge gateway

Cambridge is uniquely well-placed to build a bridge to the philosophers and AI technologists of China. Bertrand Russell and Ludwig Wittgenstein made Cambridge the birthplace of modern Western philosophy. Charles Babbage and Alan Turing made it the birthplace of modern computing. Today it is the home of the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence, a world-leading research institute for the impacts of AI. Around Cambridge lies Europe's most important hub for digital and other technology, home of companies such as ARM, Intellegens, Blinkx, Amazon Research, Microsoft Research, and Google DeepMind. Cambridge is the perfect Western gateway to the scholars and technologists of China, for global collaboration for beneficial AI. 

Towards a Cambridge-China Collaboration for AI dialogue

The Leverhulme Centre of the Future of Intelligence aims to establish collaborations between Cambridge and China on the opportunities and challenges of AI. Built on philosophical foundations, the collaboration will support an ambitious, multidisciplinary  programme of bi-lateral activities. It will make a major contribution to cross-cultural cooperation for beneficial AI, on the threshold of the AI revolution. 

ProjectsYang Liu