Wang Weilian: We need laws restricting the advance of AI technology

By Nicki Johnson / / Updated: 17:02,06-January-2022

Wang Weilian has studied physics, anthropology, Chinese, and literature at Sun Yat-sen University. He is a member of the China Writers Association, the Guangdong Authors Association Presidium, and is the Guangdong Province Fiction Writing Committee Deputy Director. He is the author of The Wild Future, Inner Face, Illegal Inhabitation, The Sound of Salt Forming, Upside Down Life, and other works, some of which have been published in English, Korean, Japanese, Italian, Hungarian, and other languages. He was the first winner of the “Zijin People’s Literature Star”, has been awarded the October Literary Journal Literature Prize, the Flower City Literature Prize, the Mao Dun Literature Newcomer Award, the Chinese Science Fiction Literature Competition Gold Medal, and the Excellent Chinese Publication Prize.

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

I think that AI is having more and more of an impact on human life, especially in our daily lives, for example going out to eat, entertainment, all of this is being influenced by AI. In the past, people stuck to what they knew and made choices and decisions based on their own experiences, but now people are more and more often looking for suggestions from AI. Our lives are becoming more convenient, but at the same time, they are becoming more tightly bound up with AI.

2.Do you have concerns about the rapid development of technology?

Of course I’m concerned about the rapid development of AI. I’m worried that everything will be controlled by AI algorithms, meaning that everyone will be trapped in an algorithmic system. In that case, no matter what people do, their actions will become part of an algorithm and their lives will be interfered with. I think if that happens, it will cause a lot of human suffering. It’s like previous reports of takeout delivery workers being trapped by the delivery system’s algorithms. In the future, everyone might be trapped in some kind of system of algorithms.  

3.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?

As far as imagining science and technology, modern sci-fi literature has already  inspired real life achievements. Looking back, in several of Verne’s sci-fi novels, they had the technology required to travel to the moon or to dive deep under the sea, and today the scale of imagination in sci-fi literature is greater and greater, reaching the destruction of the universe and total transformation of the universe. These things may not be accomplished that quickly. Sci-fi novels often focus on the changes in society brought about by technology. If there’s one story that I wish could come true, it’s that we could achieve the technological level depicted in Star Trek.

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

People should learn some skills that allow them to be less reliant on AI. This will give us more confidence in humanity, and it may also be beneficial for the future development of human civilization.

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

Of course there should be. Actually AI also relies on data analysis, and big data includes quite a few human cultural prejudices, irrational choices, and other unconscious biases. These can all show up in current AI outcomes, so we absolutely have to have laws restricting the advance of AI.

6.Are you worried about AIs becoming artificial people?

Sometimes I worry that AI will surpass the level of human intelligence, and cause a catastrophe affecting all of humankind. But most of the time, I don’t think that AI will be able to turn into an intelligent system capable of surpassing us. That’s because I believe that humans evolved in the natural environment of the universe over so many years, but AI is built only on a human foundation, and has some distance from nature. I’m not sure if AI has the conditions required to develop into an independent life form.

Liu Xinting contributed to the story 



Having questions about living or working in Hainan? Leave it below. 

Our Privacy Statement & Cookie Policy

By continuing to browser our site and use the services you agree to our use of cookies, Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can change your cookie settings through your browser.

I agree