Tech rivalry between China and the US and the need for global AI safety


The possible catastrophic threats posed by AI are international in scope, making the issue of global AI safety urgent.

Policymakers are facing a severe issue as the globe tries to keep up with the fast development of artificial intelligence (AI): AI may pose catastrophic hazards that extend beyond national boundaries. While the precise form and likelihood of these threats are yet unknown, experts stress the need of taking preventative steps to avoid AI catastrophes.

Artificial intelligence has the ability to cause catastrophic catastrophes with far-reaching repercussions. Rogue AI systems that are beyond of human control are one such threat, along with the malicious use of AI to manufacture deadly viruses and the creation of financial crises using AI. Many people tend to brush off the possibility of a catastrophic AI as improbable because of how unpredictable it is. However, as the COVID-19 pandemic shows, waiting for proof before taking action may prove to be too late.

People, as we have seen in the past, have a hard time understanding the gravity of far-off threats. Before the deadly effects of the coronavirus pandemic were realized, hardly one listened to Bill Gates’ warning about the dangers of a rapidly spreading virus. We must avoid making the same error again while tackling the risks associated with AI.

Daron Acemoglu and Todd Lensman, two academics at MIT, advocate for a more measured approach to implementing disruptive technology. New technology should be used gradually in order to give society time to evaluate potential risks. When it becomes clear that catastrophic events are very improbable, society will be able to speed up the adoption process. However, the present policies of major powers run counter to this strategy.

The United States and China are presently engaged in a fierce competition for AI supremacy. Both countries are keen to develop their AI capabilities, but there is not enough attention being paid to AI security throughout this race.

In the United States, innovative AI businesses are building robust base models that might endanger the public. Despite making large expenditures in AI research and development, many businesses have provided little funding to guarantee AI security. To address this, President Joe Biden recently issued an executive order mandating that creators of cutting-edge AI models disclose the findings of their safety tests and other crucial information to the government. The United States has taken steps to slow China’s advancements in artificial intelligence, including restricting exports and prohibiting investment from the United States in China’s AI industry. While these measures may impede China’s progress, they inspire Chinese businesses to pursue technical independence, which may make it more difficult to analyze the risks associated with AI.

The continuous tech competition has also impacted Beijing’s attitude to AI regulation. Although China has implemented stringent restrictions for generative AI services, most of them are restricted to public services and center on regulating content and data. As part of its aim to catch up to the United States in the race for technological leadership, China has kept regulations light on commercial services. Competition amongst the world’s main AI powers has the potential to set off a “race to the bottom” in terms of AI governance.

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