Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk expressed his confidence in China's capabilities in artificial intelligence (AI) technologies during his video appearance at the World AI Conference (WAIC).
Although he did not address the impact of US semiconductor export restrictions on China's AI development, his positive remarks regarding China's potential in various sectors, including AI, were seen as a show of support. The US government has been considering additional restrictions on China's access to US semiconductors and cloud computing services, potentially hampering China's AI progress.
Musk, the founder of Tesla and SpaceX, has maintained a favorable relationship with the Chinese government. During his visit to China in May, he met with senior Chinese officials, including foreign minister Qin Gang, and his opposition to economic decoupling between the US and China was well-received by Beijing. While Musk did not directly mention the export restrictions in his WAIC speech, his endorsement of China's capabilities in AI came at a time when these restrictions pose a significant challenge to China's AI development.
In his eight-minute video speech, Musk discussed robots and autonomous driving, emphasizing the need for caution and ensuring that AI advancements benefit humanity. He mentioned Tesla's humanoid robot, Optimus, which is designed to assist humans in tasks they prefer not to do rather than replacing them. Musk also expressed concerns about the development of artificial general intelligence, which surpasses human intelligence in all areas. He stressed the importance of regulatory oversight in this field.
Regarding autonomous driving, Musk stated that Tesla is likely to achieve "full self-driving in what you call [level] 4 or 5 later this year," implying that drivers can be hands-free on the steering wheel. While he acknowledged his past prediction mistakes, he expressed confidence in the progress toward achieving this goal.
Notably, Tesla has faced lawsuits in the US over allegations of misleading consumers about the level of its "full self-driving" capability. In contrast, Chinese electric vehicle manufacturers, such as Xpeng and Nio, claim to have already reached levels 3.5 to 4 in autonomous driving.
Elon Musk's video speech was a highlight of the WAIC opening ceremony, making him the highest-profile foreign speaker. Following his remarks, other executives from prominent Chinese tech companies, including SenseTime and Huawei, also presented at the conference. It is worth noting that both SenseTime and Huawei are under US trade sanctions.
While Musk's positive sentiments toward China's AI capabilities were welcomed by the Chinese audience, the impact of US export restrictions on China's AI development remains a significant concern. The future trajectory of US-China relations in the AI sector and the potential consequences of these restrictions are key aspects to monitor in the coming months.
By fLEXI tEAM