🧵 China has been rolling out lots of new AI governance measures that will reshape 🇨🇳 AI & make waves around the 🌏.

It’s easy to lose the governance forest for policy trees, so I broke down 3 key initiatives, showing how they'll compete & converge. (1/x)
China’s widespread abuse of AI surveillance tech leads many to dismiss any governance moves there. But that risks being a huge strategic oversight.

Anyone who wants to compete against, cooperate with, or simply understand Chinese AI must examine these moves closely. (2/x)
In 2021, we saw 3 approaches to AI governance emerge. They come from different parts of the Chinese bureaucracy, and have different levels of maturity.

These approaches will compete for endorsement from top leaders, but they also will complement each other. My breakdown (3/x)
The first approach comes from the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC). The CAC has released 2 key docs.
Rules for Recommendation Algos: digichina.stanford.edu/work/translati…
3-year roadmap for algorithm regulation:

Translations @DigiChn @ChinaLawTransl8 👏👏 (4/x)
CAC’s approach = most mature, influential & in-tune w/ regulatory zeitgeist. It focuses on dissemination of info and some user rights.

It also floats new requirements for algorithmic explainability, a topic 🇪🇺&🇺🇸 also grappling with.
A+ analysis: digichina.stanford.edu/work/experts-e… (5/x)
CAC is a powerful interagency body. It’s draft of the recommendation algorithm regs came from just CAC, but the final version was co-signed by MPS, SAMR and, notably MIIT.

That brings us to China’s second approach… (6/x)
China’s 2nd approach to AI governance comes from CAICT (+JD), an influential think tank under the powerful Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

CAICT’s work centers on Trustworthy (可信) AI, a more technical approach to ensuring AI performs as intended. (7/x)
CAICT’s framework for building trustworthy AI is quite similar to frameworks developed in the west. I wrote on this here: macropolo.org/beijing-approa…

The big caveat is that protections against “discriminatory” AI will not be applied to political control over ethnic minorities. (8/x)
CAICT’s Trustworthy AI framework hasn’t been turned into regulations, but it has been turned into action.

CAICT working w/ partners to test+certify systems as 可信AI. One of the first batches was (ironically) for trustworthy facial recog systems: sohu.com/a/501708742_10… (9/x)
Again, China’s trustworthy AI bid = very early stage, but I think it could end up being very impactful at home & abroad.

Testing and certification of AI system robustness, controllability, etc. is a key task as AI weaves into more aspects of life+economy+military. (10/x)
The 3rd approach to Chinese AI governance comes from the Ministry of Science & Technology (MOST), focusing on embedding ethics committees in AI cos & labs.

MOST is lobbying Chinese tech co’s to establish these, and released its own AI ethics norms: cset.georgetown.edu/publication/et… (11/x)
MOST's approach echoes US private-sector, like Facebook’s Oversight Board or Deepmind’s ethics board.

There is a role for these, and lots of Chinese tech folks are trying to make it real. But it also seems out of step w/ China’s heavy-handed bureaucratic zeitgeist. (12/x)
Ok, so we’ve got these three approaches:
1. CAC’s algorithm rules
2. CAICT’s trustworthy AI framework
3. MOST’s ethics committees in companies and labs

How do they relate to one another? (13/x)
If it’s a contest for supremacy, CAC has the clear upper hand. It comes from the strongest body, is the most mature, and most aligned with China’s approach to tech regulation.

But it’s not just competition. These three approaches will also complement or enable each other. (14/x)
In order to make CAC’s requirements for algorithmic explainability actionable, China will likely need the tools & certifications developed by CAICT’s trustworthy AI moves.

And many thorny AI questions will first surface inside MOST’s AI ethics committees at co’s & labs. (15/x)
We saw some convergence in the 3-year algorithm regulation plan, led by CAC & cosigned by MIIT+MOST.

That doc saw the inclusion of refs to trustworthy AI and AI that were ethics absent from original recommendation algorithm draft by CAC alone. cac.gov.cn/2021-09/29/c_1… (16/x)
These AI gov moves will have impacts internationally. Info control measures are being watched by the usual suspects.
China also running world’s biggest experiments on things like algo explainability. How companies deal w/ it is impt data for policy + technology around 🌏. (17/x)
To reiterate, these AI governance don’t touch on the elephant in room: widespread & awful abuse of surveillance tech for oppression of ethnic minorities. That is a huge, huge gap.

But they will impact stuff ranging from safety to int’l stability. Gotta pay attention. (18/x)
Ok, that’s what I got so far. Excited to dig into all of this further, and if you’re working / thinking on similar topics please feel free to get in touch.

Lastly, if you enjoyed this thread do me a favor and click or share the link: carnegieendowment.org/2022/01/04/chi… (19/19)

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More from @mattsheehan88

19 Nov 20
THREAD: This yr I got a lot of people asking “How does Silicon Valley see China? How has that changed?”

People are usually looking for a 1-dimensional answer (partner➡️rival!) but SV-🇨🇳 ties are way more tangled up than that.

So I made a chart! (1/x) macropolo.org/how-silicon-va…
Impt qualifier: this chart is built off my *subjective assessment* of these trends.

That assessment is built on >400 interviews, off-record convos, & projects done w/ Silicon Valley investors, entrepreneurs, researchers, etc.

But it's still *subjective* so take it as such.
I break down the decade into 3 phases:

2010-2013: Retrenchment.
US tech co's blocked, waiting for Chinese internet controls to fail.

2014-2017: Re-engagement.
China's tech scene flourishing, SV wants back in.

2017-2020: Things Get Weird (and dark)
Read 8 tweets
26 Oct 20
THREAD: Today our @macropolochina team dropped a new report forecasting Chinese politics, economics, technology & energy 2020-2025.

I took on the task of predicting what will go down in Chinese tech over the next 5 years.

Here’s what I came up with: macropolo.org/analysis/china…
First, a limitation: I didn’t try to cover every tech sector+issue. (Quantum, surveillance, fintech, social credit, etc.) Imagine predicting everything in US tech 2015-2020...

So if I didn’t cover your area, you should write that piece. Send it to me, I’ll read it! (thread 2/x)
I focused on one major trend that I think will deeply shape Chinese tech in 2025, and one potential obstacle.

Trend: A shift from the consumer internet to the industrial internet via New Infrastructure.

Obstacle: Limited Chinese access to advanced semiconductors.

(thread 3/x)
Read 23 tweets
28 Apr 20
Key dimension of US-China tech competition is currently playing out in countries across the developing world.

So I analyzed data on the most downloaded apps in six key countries for 2015 & 2019. Here’s what I found:

thread 1/
US apps remained dominant in 2019 for most markets, often w/ 60-75% market share among the most downloaded apps.

The one big exception here is India, which we'll dig into below... 2/
But comparing 2015 and 2019, Chinese apps gained significant market share in Indonesia, India, Egypt, Nigeria and Brazil.

Mexico was the only market where Chinese share shrank. 3/
Read 10 tweets
21 Jan 20
🎙️New episode of Heartland Mainland: the Iowa China Podcast!🎙️

For the past yr, @JianingHollyHe & I have been talking w/ Rick Kimberley: Iowa farmer ➡️ ag celebrity in China ➡️ collateral damage in the trade war.
Here's what we learned. /thread
@JianingHollyHe We spoke w/ a soybean industry rep who told us they first set up a Beijing office in 1982, betting that Reform + Opening would mean greater demand for animal feed & soybeans.

That big bet on Chinese markets didn't start paying off for 2 decades, until China entered WTO in 2001.
@JianingHollyHe Iowa soybean exports took off, peaking at over $3.5 billion in 2012. That same year Xi Jinping paid a visit to an Iowa farm owned by Rick Kimberley.

Rick is the 5th generation in his family to farm this piece of land, and he was a bit overwhelmed by the fallout from the visit...
Read 9 tweets

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