Microsoft’s President Brad Smith Meets with Chinese Minister to Discuss AI Cooperation

         

Microsoft’s President Brad Smith meets with China’s Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao to discuss AI cooperation and trade relations, showcasing China’s willingness to collaborate with American businesses amidst ongoing tensions with the U.S.

Introduction

Microsoft’s President Brad Smith met with China’s Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao on Wednesday to discuss topics including artificial intelligence and trade relations, underscoring China’s attempt to show its favorability towards American businesses amid continued tensions with the U.S.

Promoting Cooperation and Collaboration

The meeting between Brad Smith and Wang Wentao reflects the efforts of both China and the U.S. to cooperate in areas with potential and improve the environment for foreign businesses. This comes after the recent meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, signaling a desire for collaboration between the two nations.

China’s Commitment to Foreign Enterprises

During the meeting, Wang expressed China’s commitment to providing better services for foreign companies and emphasized the hope for Microsoft to play a constructive role in cooperation on artificial intelligence between China and the U.S. This aligns with China’s focus on developing its own AI capabilities, with technology giants like Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent investing in AI models and products.

Technological Contention Between U.S. and China

The U.S. and China have experienced tensions in the technology sector, with Washington seeking to restrict China’s access to key technologies. This includes recent export curbs targeting chips from companies like Nvidia, used in AI model training. The need to address the risks of advanced AI systems and improve AI safety has been affirmed by the leaders of both nations during government talks.

Recent Engagements with U.S. Tech Firms

Engagements between U.S. technology firms and the Chinese government have been rare due to escalating tensions. However, notable visits by CEOs such as Tim Cook of Apple and Elon Musk of Tesla this year to China hint at a shift. These visits coincide with relaxed Covid-19 travel restrictions and Beijing’s efforts to attract foreign businesses.

Microsoft’s Commitment to Economic Cooperation

Smith expressed Microsoft’s willingness to actively participate in China’s digital transformation and reiterated its commitment to promoting economic and trade cooperation between China and the U.S. This stance aligns with Microsoft’s significant investments in artificial intelligence, such as the reported multibillion dollar investment in ChatGPT developer OpenAI.

Response from Microsoft

When approached for comment about the meeting, Microsoft was not immediately available for response. The company’s engagement with China’s Ministry of Commerce signifies its interest in fostering collaboration, potentially opening doors for further partnership in the realm of artificial intelligence and trade.

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