Putin says Russia will develop new AI technology to counter the Western monopoly, which he fears could lead to a 'digital abolition' of Russian culture

Russian President Vladimir Putin wearing a suit
Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiled Russia's new plan to take on the West in developing AI. Vladimir Smirnov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP
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  • Putin talked about Russia's AI ambitions at a conference in Moscow on Friday.

  • He announced plans for a new national strategy for AI development to counter the West.

  • Putin said existing AI from the West is "biased" against Russia.

Russia is staking its claim in the AI arms race.

At the Artificial Intelligence Journey conference in Moscow on Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced plans for a new national strategy for AI development to counter Western influence over the powerful technology.

"Our domestic models of artificial intelligence must reflect the entire wealth and diversity of world culture, the heritage, knowledge, and wisdom of all civilizations," Putin said.

Putin, who outlined the goals of the new strategy in broad terms, said that Russia will intensify its research into generative AI and large language models.

To achieve that, the country would scale up its supercomputing power and improve top-level AI education. Russia would also work to change laws and boost international cooperation to achieve its goals, Putin said.

Putin lamented that existing generative AI models work in "selective" or "biased" ways — potentially ignoring Russian culture — because they're often trained to solve tasks using English-only data sets, or data sets that are "convenient" or "favorable" to the developers of these models.

As a result, an algorithm can "tell the machine that Russia, our culture, science, music, literature simply does not exist," he said, leading to "a kind of abolition in the digital space."

English-speaking countries right now dominate AI research. The United States and the United Kingdom claim the top spots in a ranking of the highest number of significant machine learning systems, according to Stanford's Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI).

The United States has 16 significant systems. The United Kingdom has eight. Russia has just one, by HAI's account. Similarly, close to 300 authors of these systems come from the United States. Another 140 are from the United Kingdom. Only three come from Russia.

Concerns about the potential dangers AI could pose to humanity have divided even the most dedicated AI researchers, and some have publicly said the technology in the wrong hands would be problematic.

Geoffrey Hinton, the British-Canadian AI researcher named a "godfather of AI," for instance, has said he's worried about "bad actors" like Putin using the AI tools he's creating.

Putin, however, says that the Western monopoly over AI is "unacceptable, dangerous and inadmissible."

Read the original article on Business Insider