The Gradient
The Gradient: Perspectives on AI
Matt Sheehan: China's AI Strategy and Governance

Matt Sheehan: China's AI Strategy and Governance

On China's AI ambitions, strategy, and governance.
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In episode 47 of The Gradient Podcast, Daniel Bashir speaks to Matt Sheehan.

Matt is a fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he researches global technology with a focus on China. His writing and research explores China’s AI ecosystem, the future of China’s technology policy, and technology’s role in China’s political economy. Matt has also written for Foreign Affairs andThe Huffington Post, among other venues.

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  • (00:00) Intro

  • (02:28) Matt’s path to analyzing China’s AI governance

  • (06:50) Matt’s experience understanding daily life in China and developing a bottom-up perspective

  • (09:40) The development of government constraints in technology/AI in the US and China

  • (12:40) Matt’s take on China’s priorities and motivations

  • (17:00) How recent history influences China’s technology ambitions

    • (17:30) Matt gives an overview of the Century of Humiliation

  • (22:07) Adversarial perceptions, Xi Jinping’s brashness and its effect on discourse about International Relations, how this intersects with AI

  • (24:40) Self-reliance and semiconductors. Was the recent chip ban the right move?

  • (36:15) Matt’s question: could foundation models be trained on trailing edge chips if necessary? Limitations

  • (38:30) Silicon Valley and China, The Transpacific Experiment and stories

  • (46:17) 躺平 and how trends among youth in China interact with tech development, parallel trends in the US, work culture

  • (51:05) China’s recent AI governance initiatives

  • (56:25) Squaring China’s AI ethics stance with its use of AI

  • (59:53) The US can learn from both Chinese and European regulators

  • (1:02:03) How technologists should think about geopolitics and national tensions

  • (1:05:43) Outro


The Gradient
The Gradient: Perspectives on AI
Deeply researched, technical interviews with experts thinking about AI and technology.