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An Asian girl with a robot.
Source: Andy Kelly.

Project (2021)

China's Artificial Intelligence Imaginaries and Policy Development

Artificial intelligence (AI) is considered a key technology in contemporary societies, and is expected to substantially enhance sectors as diverse as health, warfare, mobility, or communication. Consequently, political and economic stakeholders in many countries have allocated large amounts of resources to AI development. China, for instance, has enacted numerous policies and financial incentives to boost the development of its AI Sectors. Since 2015, the Chinese Communist Party has been promoting its vision of transforming China into a strong nation and a cyber superpower. As a step in realizing this vision, the development of artificial intelligence (AI) sectors has been mandated by the ruling party, who have vowed to make China a global hub of AI innovation. Meanwhile, the rapid integration of AI technologies into people’s everyday lives has prompted the country to introduce more regulatory policies to keep its fast-growing technology sectors in check. Against this background, this proposed research aims to systematically examine the parallel development of policy incentives for AI innovations and emerging regulatory policies on AI governance in China. This research uses the concept of AI imaginaries, which provides the theoretical language to discuss the discursive power of narratives carried by different policies. Employing this theoretical lens, this project seeks to interrogate how the potentials and risks associated with AI are imagined in these two policy arenas, and how they interplay and contest.