Chief Adviser to the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission Andrew Sheng on Wednesday called for the embracing of a world power paradigm shift while exploring the interplay of philosophy, technology, and cooperation in a changing world.
“Today, thanks to technology, both in its physical and digital forms, our mindsets have opened tremendously. This openness, largely attributed to the AI revolution and ChatGPT, presents not only incredible opportunities but also profound threats,” Andrew Sheng, Chief Adviser to the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, said at the BEYOND Expo 2023 tech conference, held in Macao from May 10 – 12.
Please find below the transcript of the opening day speech from Andrew Sheng, Chief Adviser to the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission. The following transcript has been edited for clarity:
I am honored to come to Macao and would like to thank Jason for joining this important session at BEYOND Expo. I am delighted that my esteemed fellow speakers, including my very good friend, the president of Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank, Jin Liqun, have spoken about finance and the role of AIIB.
The previous speaker discussed quantum physics, which unfortunately, is a bit beyond my expertise, but aligns with my thinking on the challenges we face today. Talking about what comes next – we really need to think about what is wrong with the system today and see it as a whole rather than in parts.
One of the reasons the system is imbalanced is because the different parts are imbalanced. If your paradigm, or the way you think about a problem is only in parts, you cannot fix the problem. What are the key parts of a system? As the previous speaker mentioned, a lot of it is quantum thinking, an area that Einstein pioneered in science and technology.
We already understand that there are four critical parts in a system. The first is meta or the way we think about everything. It is the paradigm, and that is what I would like to discuss. Next, we delve into macro or the big picture. In economics, it is called macroeconomics, while microeconomics includes details. This connection between macro and micro is meta, and includes institutions. Joe Tsai from Alibaba will talk about the platform and the institutions that link the macro policy and the micro. However, if we really look at any system, it is the worldview or the thinking that matters most.
For 500 years, the world has been dominated by the West. The West has had a paradigm that expanded out of a small part of the world to colonize the rest, but that paradigm is now shaken because we are seeing an imbalance at the human level, which includes social imbalances, social inequality, people aging rapidly, and regional differences. There are rich countries and poor countries; fast-growing economies, slow-growing economies, and some failing economies; and therefore, the human aspect is deeply imbalanced.
Similarly, climate warming is about planetary imbalance. There is planetary imbalance and human imbalance, but planetary imbalance is because humans are going too fast. So, what are the solutions? As all the speakers before me have said, technology is the solution to many of the challenges we face, and as President Xi Jinping said, technology will offer an important way out. What is technology? Technology is cumulative human knowledge.
That is why all leaders have emphasized that Macao holds a central position in the fastest-growing region in the world, which is East Asia. China and India today account for half of the global growth in 2022. Those of us in Central East Asia and Northeast Asia, which is prosperous, must not overlook Southeast Asia represented by ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). ASEAN is 700 million people, half the population of China and India, half the geographical size of China and one-third larger than India, and growing at 5% to 6% annually.
North Asia, Japan for example, might grow at 2%. China is growing at 4%, but 700 million people are growing at 5% to 6%, and over the course of this decade, will be growing at nearly 7%, and if my projections are right, nearly 8%. The reason is the influx of money into this region. The Greater Bay Area plays a crucial role as an important platform, and shapes how we think about its paradigm.
What other paradigms should we consider? The previous speaker discussed quantum physics. Quantum thinking is ancient Chinese and Indian thinking. It focuses on the whole. We are all a part of the system and cannot say you are bad, or I am good because we are together. This underscores the importance of technology working together as noted by earlier speakers. We must cooperate and how we cooperate depends not just on the paradigm, but also on the platform.
That is why BEYOND Expo is a wonderful platform because, through technology, not only are we are able to physically meet each other and enjoy each other’s company, great food and culture, but we are also able to do it digitally. Today, thanks to technology, both in its physical and digital forms, our mindsets have opened tremendously. This openness, largely attributed to the AI revolution and ChatGPT, presents not only incredible opportunities, but also profound threats. Those who can harness technology will enjoy better income and prospects for the future. But those who do not understand technology risk being left behind. This imbalance is the most pressing challenge we face currently. How can we ensure that education extends beyond the privileged few and empowers the masses to understand the new challenges of our world? How can we cooperate with each other in a systemic manner? And here, again, I would like to touch upon ancient Chinese thinking.
For example, if we think about human beings, according to Qian Xuesen, the father of Chinese modern science, we are huge, open, complex systems. If one man is an open and complex system, he is living with 8 billion others. It is a system within a system and reflects the concepts of Tao Te Ching and I Ching, where we recognize that we are living in a world that is constantly changing. Change is perpetual, yet we remain unchanged. The new thinking is understanding how to go from simple to complex and back to simple again. While trying to understand quantum physics, I suddenly discovered that it is really ancient Chinese and Asian philosophy.
With this philosophical thinking, we are better prepared to see that the world is imbalanced. Asia is growing and aging at the same time. How do we use our own wisdom and combine it with new technology to navigate this new world? We must think for ourselves because it is essential to do so when confronted with challenges. That is where we stand today.
I’m honored to participate in this discussion. I hope that in the panel discussion we can explore how the East, West, South, and North can all cooperate to create a more prosperous future for the people and the planet.
Thank you very much!