NEWSBYTE The Chinese government is working on a number of artificial intelligence technologies to help its foreign policy efforts, says a local report.
According to an article published in the South China Morning Post, several prototypes of AI-powered diplomatic systems are under development. The report says that one such system, in its early stages, has been built by the Chinese Academy of Sciences and is already in use by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Ministry confirmed the plan to use AI, adding that it would explore “the use of emerging technology for work enhancement and improvement”.
The report explains that China’s ‘Belt and Road Initiative’, a development strategy between China and several Eurasian countries, has placed diplomatic burdens on staff. Researchers said that AI would be used as a “strategic decision-support system” to help ease this burden, with humans taking the final decisions.
The system itself draws data from various sources from local gossip to images taken by spy satellites. A diplomat can make decisions to achieve specific foreign policy goals, with the system providing a range of options and recommendations, suggests the report.
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Feng Shuai, senior fellow with the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, told the newspaper that artificial intelligence in policy-making would be “immune to passion, honour, fear, or other subjective factors” and “would not even consider the moral factors that conflict with strategic goals”.
But researchers warned that AI comes with its own set of problems, such as incomplete data and lack of clearly defined goals. Human operators may even tamper with some parameters to get the desired results, he said, while bias in training data and algorithm design are known problems in the field.
Feng added that the technology would find more applications and “widen the gap in strategic game capabilities between countries”.
He added that countries lacking the assistance of AI will be at an “absolute disadvantage in many aspects, such as risk judgment, strategy selection, decision- making and execution efficiency, and decision-making reliability”.
Rene Millman: Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers IoT, mobile technology, cloud, and infrastructure. In the past, he has also worked as an analyst for both Gartner and IDC. He has made numerous television appearances discussing the technology trends and companies that shape our lives