Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma are set to debate the concept of artificial intelligence at the World AI Conference in Shanghai, China, this week. Experts point out that the appearance could be bad timing for Musk, as the United States imposes on China while at the same time, the communist nation strives to control the future of artificial intelligence.
Bloomberg reports that Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma will be debating at the World AI Conference in Shanghai, China. Musk’s attendance at the event was reportedly finalized quite early on according to event organizer Zhang Hongtao and added that Musk would share more on the development of Tesla’s Shanghai investment with delegates at the conference.
Musk tweeted this month that he’s visiting Shanghai in order to finalize the Chinese location of The Boring Company, his tunnel building side project. Musk’s beleaguered car company, Tesla, also has plans to launch a Chinese manufacturing plant meaning that it will be important that Musk makes a positive impression on Chinese communist authorities. Getting close to a powerful Chinese businessman such as Jack Ma could be extremely beneficial for Musk and his Chinese operations.
Meanwhile, trade relations between the United States and China have become strained as President Trump has placed tariffs on imported Chinese goods and has encouraged U.S. companies to bring their manufacturing operations back home. Musk’s move to become friendly with China may have a negative effect on his U.S. businesses, making it a risky move for the businessman, but the fact that Tesla relies on China for approximately 11 percent of its revenue likely has had an impact on Musk’s decisions.
Mark Tanner, the founder of the Shanghai-based research and marketing firm China Skinny commented on the AI conference and Musk’s appearance there stating: “It’s a bit political when Trump’s big concern is that China has the aspiration to be the leader in AI, and the ramifications that has in military, tech and industrial leadership. One interesting area to watch will be the values that China may incorporate into AI algorithms, which could be quite different to those in the West.”