In a recent address, President Vladimir Putin of Russia has underscored the critical importance of preventing the West from establishing a monopoly in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). Speaking at an AI conference in Moscow alongside Sberbank CEO German Gref, Putin expressed concern over the potential dominance of Western online systems and generative models that disregard or dismiss Russian language and culture.
Despite Russia's aspirations to become an AI power, the country has faced setbacks, including the impact of the war in Ukraine, which led to the departure of many talented specialists, and Western sanctions that have impeded high-tech imports.
While acknowledging the ethical and social challenges posed by new technologies, Putin emphasized that attempting to ban AI was impractical. He argued that banning it would only result in its development elsewhere, causing Russia to fall behind in the rapidly advancing field.
Putin highlighted the need to address ethical questions within the context of "traditional" Russian culture. He raised concerns about some Western algorithms essentially ignoring the existence of Russia, emphasizing the unacceptability and danger of the monopoly and domination of such systems.
Acknowledging the global prominence of China and the United States in AI research, Putin stressed the need for Russia to enhance its efforts and ambitions in the AI domain. The war in Ukraine and associated efforts have led to an outflow of educated Russians, and Western sanctions have hampered international cooperation with AI powerhouses in the West.
Looking ahead, Putin announced a forthcoming presidential decree that would approve a new version of the national strategy for the development of artificial intelligence. This strategy aims to make significant changes, including expanding fundamental and applied research in the field of generative artificial intelligence and large language models.
Putin outlined several key aspects of the upcoming strategy, including providing Russian researchers with better access to supercomputers, improving top-level scientific education on AI, legislative reforms, increased international cooperation, and a substantial boost in investment for AI development. He commended Sberbank and Yandex for their contributions to generative AI and language models, emphasizing the need for further development and application in various sectors of the economy.
This comprehensive strategy underscores Russia's commitment to positioning itself as a formidable player in the global AI landscape, addressing challenges and charting a course for substantial advancements in the field.