AGI Development: The Heart of Future AI, Zhu Songchun’s Vision

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Zhu Songchun, a key figure in AGI research, emphasizes the importance of human “hearts” in AI and the centrality of talent in global technological competition.

In an era where artificial intelligence (AI) will permeate every aspect of our society, the pursuit of artificial general intelligence (AGI) has become a global race, with China positioned as the leader. AGI, a type of artificial intelligence designed to understand, learn and apply knowledge to a wide range of tasks, is the next leap in the evolution of intelligent systems.

During the second session of the 14th Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), Zhu Songchun, CPPCC member and director of the Beijing Institute of General Artificial Intelligence, emphasized that the key to mastering AGI lies not only in algorithms and computing power, but also in cultivating a “heart” for the machines. This metaphorical “heart” represents the development of AI that can interact in a more human, empathetic way, transforming the way machines serve society.

The unveiling of “Tongtong,” the world’s first AGI personified as a little girl, in late January in Beijing was a testament to the progress being made. Zhu envisions AGIs like Tongtong eventually becoming an integral part of our daily lives, tackling challenges like elderly care by providing services that go beyond simple functionality to offer compassionate companionship.

Zhu’s focus on talent as a critical factor in winning the global technology competition is reflected in his efforts to nurture a new generation of AI professionals. In the past three years, he initiated experimental AGI classes at Peking University and Tsinghua University, gathering the nation’s brightest young minds. Supported by the Ministry of Education, the Tong Plan—a collaborative doctoral training program at AGI—has expanded to include eight universities, fostering a strategic national strength in the field.

As China continues to invest heavily in AI research and development, Zhu’s confidence in a unique technological path suited to the country’s conditions is unwavering. He believes in the safe and beneficial growth of AGI, with the potential to make significant contributions to humanity.

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The international community is closely monitoring how China progresses in its AGI initiatives. As the ethical considerations and governance of AI are hotly debated, the development of AGI systems like Tongtong raises important questions about the future relationship between humans and machines.

The integration of AI into various sectors, including finance, healthcare and transportation, is already underway, with blockchain technology often playing a supporting role in enabling AI operations. As AGI advances, its convergence with blockchain can potentially lead to more robust, transparent and secure AI applications.

This evolving landscape highlights the need for a multidisciplinary approach to AI development where technology, ethics and politics intersect. With figures like Zhu Songchun leading the conversation, the world may be on the cusp of an AI revolution that touches as much the “heart” as the “mind” of the technology we create.

As we continue to observe and report on these developments, it is becoming clear that AGI represents not only a technological advance, but also a paradigm shift in our interaction with machines. The journey to create AI with “heart” will certainly be complex and challenging, but it is a journey that could redefine the nature of innovation and collaboration in the digital age.

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