World·Nothing is Foreign

China and the global AI race

The explosive growth of AI technologies around the world makes regulating the industry a massive global challenge.

Governments around the world are trying to regulate the explosive growth in AI technologies

A mechanical robot head, shaped like a human skull, sits next to a sign that says TESTING AREA in a computer lab. A man sits behind at a table. He is out of focus.
This photo taken on May 10, 2023 shows a robot being assembled at Hanson Robotics, a robotics and artificial intelligence company which creates human-like robots, in Hong Kong. (Peter Parks/AFP via Getty Images)

Whether it's ChatGPT, image generators like Dall-E or celebrity deepfakes, artificial intelligence technology has grown exponentially in the last few months. That has spurred a global race to be on the leading edge of those developments. While some of the best known AI chatbots and programs are coming out of the U.S. a parallel world of products has been popping up in China.

Some experts say it's all happening too fast and that regulation needs to catch up but few governments have actually proposed in-depth rules on the issue. Currently, China and the European Union are at the forefront of creating a regulatory framework for AI technologies. 

This week, we're digging into why there is growing alarm about the global AI race, China's role in it, and what can be learned by attempts at regulating the technology so far.


  • Rishi Iyengar, Global technology reporter, Foreign Policy.
  • Zeyi Yang, China reporter, MIT Technology Review.

Nothing is Foreign, a podcast from CBC News and CBC Podcasts, is a weekly trip to where the story is unfolding. It's hosted by Tamara Khandaker.