China’s Approach to Artificial Intelligence: A Conversation with Gregory C. Allen

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In this episode of the ChinaPower Podcast, we are joined by Mr. Gregory C. Allen to discuss artificial intelligence (AI), China’s thinking on AI technology, and U.S.-China competition in this realm. Mr. Allen explains that over the last decade, the approach to AI technology has greatly shifted with a new emphasis on machine learning. He describes the steps of the AI value chain and how different stages are more computationally intensive than others. He assesses that China has responded to U.S. export controls on certain advanced computing chips to China through several measures, including foreign technology acquisition and restriction evasion. However, Mr. Allen points out that chip making equipment is central to AI technology, and China does not yet possess this capability. Lastly, he reveals that the Chinese military views AI capabilities as foundational to China’s economic and military power. 

Gregory C. Allen is the director of the Wadhwani Center for AI and Advanced Technologies and a senior fellow in the Strategic Technologies Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Prior to joining CSIS, he was the director of strategy and policy at the Department of Defense (DOD) Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, where he oversaw development and implementation of the DOD’s AI Strategy, drove policy and human capital reforms to accelerate the DOD’s adoption of AI, developed mechanisms for AI governance and ethics, and led frequent diplomatic engagements with governments and militaries in Europe and the Indo-Pacific regions, including China.

Bonny Lin
Director, China Power Project and Senior Fellow, Asian Security