All about AI, eh?: Researching Chinese tech in Canada


This week on ChinaEconTalk, Jordan speaks with Dongwoo Kim, a postgraduate research fellow at the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada who specializes in AI. Dongwoo discusses his research on the progress of AI development in Japan, Korea, and China, including the challenges faced by Chinese AI researchers overseas, and the need for greater tech literacy in general.

What to listen for on this week’s ChinaEconTalk:

4:49: Misconceptions abound when it comes to AI, as do references to “Skynet” from the Terminator movies. “Strictly speaking, that’s not what we’re talking about,” Dongwoo says. “People have such a misunderstanding about this, and also the way in which we’re using AI now, it’s kind of subtle, right? It’s used by Google, it’s used by Facebook. If you don’t have the tech literacy, you’re not always going to be aware of it. So I think there’s a potential that if we don’t educate people about what AI really is and why this matters, we might get to a situation where people don’t really have a clear conception of what this AI thing is when it will be affecting so many aspects of their lives.”

32:36: On Chinese AI researchers in Canada: “[Problems are] not as overt as in the U.S. I think, if anything, the concerns that have materialized are if there’s funding within a Canadian postsecondary institution that is tied to an American partner, that may compromise their ability to continue working on that research project for a researcher of Chinese ethnicity. But there has been no concrete move to do that in Canada.”

This podcast was edited and produced by Jason MacRonald.