Who will be AI Superpower – US or China

Can AI enable, new levels of performance and autonomy for Nuclear weapon systems, can AI enabled nuclear weapons be used without proper authorization of a human operator, is United States vulnerable to China in matching the AI capabilities or for defending AI led cyber-attacks and information propaganda. Recently released Final Report of U.S. “National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence” sheds light on the stark realities and challenges facing the modern World and the ambition and might of China in overtaking US as World superpower.

The report recognises that China is the biggest adversary of United States and is determined to surpass Washington in AI capability.  AI will reorganize the world and its Influence and usage will grow, along with the acceleration in Innovation. Advances in AI capabilities will give first mover advantage to the adversary nation. Report highlights the imperative need for the United States, for maintaining innovation leadership in AI capability for defending free people and free societies

AI like electricity is a different kind of general-purpose technology with a very wide-reaching impact, influencing various aspect of human life and possible every field of science and will be part of every future technology.  AI is a dual-use technology, representing a competitive advantage in civilian as well as military field and will be an enormous source of power for the corporations and nations that harness them. China’s domestic use of AI is against the principal of individual liberty. It is used as tool of repression and surveillance both at home as well as abroad.  It has power to strengthen authoritarianism and fuel extremism and can even erode democracy if not used rightly.

Technologically, United States is most vulnerable since the second World War as the China is progressing fast to overtake Us as AI leader in the next decade, if the current trend continues. Cyber-attacks and disinformation campaigns are all AI-enabled and are the tip of the iceberg. AI will result in enhancing performance and autonomy for weapon systems and hence it becomes imperative for building a global rule book for establishing the policies that only human beings can authorize usage of nuclear weapons and seek commitments from Russia and China and developing international standards for the development, usage and testing of AI-enabled weapon systems.

Since 2017, China had an established goal for advancement in AI technology and becoming world leader in AI by 2030. Its program is centrally funded and including, resorting to espionage, talent recruitment, technology transfer, directed for extracting AI knowledge from abroad. Chinese Government is supporting Huawei, Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, iFlytek, and SenseTime for development of AI Tech and advancing state priorities, feeding military and security programs and for capturing economic dominance in overseas markets.  

However, US is not moving that fast and the problem is structural. In US the research is distributed and led by private sector. US companies leads the research, for developing world class technologically competitive products and for winning the global market share arising from the product applications. The real issue lies in the fact that even large tech firms cannot pool the sufficient resources for competing with the resources of China. This makes it imperative for private sector and the US Government to come together and work on the major critical technologies e.g AI, 5G, Biotech, Quantum Computing, Advanced manufacturing, robotics, semiconductor etc that are going to influence the human behaviour, shape global politics and redefine geopolitics

Bureau Galactik Views

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