Frontier Technologies and Society

The program brings together Chinese philosophers, scientists in artificial intelligence, robotics and life sciences, legal scholars as well as science fiction writers and artists to explore ways frontier technologies impact and reshape how we view humanity, the nature of life and examine their impact on human society and our relationships with machines and other beings.

This program also aims to support East-West collaboration and dialogues on philosophical considerations and ethical implications on challenges and opportunities arising from the development of frontier technologies. It is hoped that this program will stimulate philosophical and foundational thinking drawing on both Western and non-Western intellectual resources around the impact of frontier technologies on humanity and the human society. Finally, we expect the program to bring new ideas and fresh thinking to policymaking and technology applications.

The program has a strong China angle with projects involving primarily Chinese scholars. In stage one of this program, we engaged Chinese philosophers in the traditions of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism in discussion with artificial intelligence scientists. China Center has been widely credited as the founder and shaper of this “ideas market” in China. Stage one effort will culminate in an edited book to be published by Citic Publishing House (CITIC) shortly. In stage two, we hope to focus on issues of global interests such as privacy by placing the exploration of “privacy” in concrete cultural, social and technical contexts so as to bring depth and specificity to the current global debate. In stage two of this program, we will also have more detailed project framing and discussion in the area of philosophy and biotech.

Achievements in 2019:

Events / Workshop:

• Forum on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence from a Global Perspective, as part of Chinese Association of Artificial Intelligence annual conference, Nanjing, May 26
• Workshop on AI and governance – global perspectives, an international workshop organized by Royal Society and Academies of Sciences, Washington D.C. May 22-24 (SONG Bing attended as a speaker)
• Workshops at Nuffield Foundation and Cambridge University, London, Cambridge, July 10-14 (SONG Bing, LIU Zhe and ZENG Yi attended as speakers/panelists)
• Panel on AI, Ethics, Safety and Governance, as part of Beijing Academy of Artificial Intelligence annual conference, Beijing, October 31
• AI and governance – Policy and Actions organized by Minderoo Foundation, Perth, Australia, October 24-26 (SONG Bing attended as a speaker)
• Workshop on Precision Medicine: Ethical, Legal and Social Implications, Beijing, November 5
• Workshop on Gene Editing and Art, Beijing, November 11-14

Book Publication:

The book AI Meets Chinese Philosophers will be published in Chinese by December 31, 2019 by CITIC. The book consists of writings by some of China’s foremost philosophers of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Daoism on impact of AI on humanity and society.