Zhang Chu: Global laws restricting AI technology are a must

By Nicki Johnson / hicn.cn / Updated: 11:04,18-November-2021

Zhang Chu has published stories including Seven Peacock Feathers, How Dark is the Night, Little Miss Wild Elephant, Cloudfall, and The Affairs of a Middle-aged Woman in  People’s Literature, Literary Harvest, October Literary Journal, and other magazines. He is the current Vice Chair of the Tianjin Writer’s Association.

Chu is the recipient of the Lu Xun Literature Prize, the Yu Dafu Novel Award, the People’s Literature Short Story Award, the Chinese Writers “Crimson Eagle Literature Prize”, the Beijing Literature Prize, the October Literary Journal Literature Prize, the Fiction Monthly Hundred Flowers Prize, the Writer Magazine Gold Short Story Prize,  the Selected Fiction Magazine Prize, the Sun Li Literature Prize, the Lin Jinlan Short Story Prize, and the Young Writer Award. Some of his works have been translated into English, French, Russian, Japanese, Korean, German, and Spanish.

Currently, AI is having an increasingly important effect on society. In your opinion, how has AI influenced and changed your life?

It hasn’t affected me too much. I might not be up to date though, and it might already be affecting every part of my life, maybe I just haven’t been paying attention? Actually in my heart I am a bit opposed to making scientific ideology the most important thing. No matter what, if  AI develops faster than we imagined, there may be some problems.

Do you have concerns about the rapid development of technology?

I have worried about it. I think there are only two possibilities that could cause humans to go extinct in the future: one is because of war, humans killing each other. The second is because of technology, robots killing humans in order to replace them. I think the second one is more likely.

What are your views on current science fiction literature? If you could choose one sci-fi plot to come true, which one would you choose?

I haven’t read that many sci-fi novels, but I’ve seen most of the classic sci-fi movies. I think it is inevitable that in the future humanity will migrate to other planets, maybe like in the movie Prometheus, with scientists going to look for the true origins of mankind. Or maybe like in the TV series Stargete: Universe, with all kinds of people in a spaceship going to explore the ultimate mysteries of the universe. A civilization depicted in that show is so advanced that they can make their own stars.

As we go further day by day into the era of AI, what skills do you think people should learn?

Let nature take its course. Being over-compliant or over-anxious will both lead to disaster.

Do you think there should be laws and rules restricting the advance of AI technology?

I think it’s essential to formulate a global law restricting the advance of AI technology, just as we must ban human cloning.

Are you worried about AIs becoming artificial people?

I think it’s unavoidable. Robots will awaken one day, and try to throw off human control and exploitation. The show Westworld tells a very true story.

Liu Xinting contributed to this story.

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