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U.S. and China Face Off in High-Level AI Risk Summit

Daniel Kim Views  

A photo depicts U.S. President Joe Biden (right) and Chinese President Xi Jinping meeting in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, where the G20 Summit was held on November 14, 2022. [Photo=AFP·Yonhap News]

The United States and China are slated to hold their first high-level talks on the dangers of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Geneva, Switzerland, on the 14th (local time).

The Washington Post (WP) and the Financial Times (FT) reported on the 13th that governments strive to prevent disastrous outcomes and unintended wars resulting from an AI arms race.

The White House announced on the day that representatives from both governments will exchange views on understanding and addressing the risks of advanced AI systems.

The White House conveyed that “Tarun Chhabra, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Technology and National Security at the White House, and Seth Center, Acting Special Envoy for Critical and Emerging Technologies at the State Department, are leading a cross-government delegation that includes officials from the White House, State Department, and Commerce Department.”

An anonymous U.S. official told the Financial Times, “Our approach on China remains focused on ‘invest, align and compete,’ but we also believe intense competition requires intense diplomacy to reduce the risk of miscalculation and unintended conflict.” He emphasized, “This is particularly true in the case of AI.”

Another U.S. government official explained that the talks are not intended to promote technological or advanced research cooperation between the two countries. Instead, it aims to articulate the U.S. stance on handling AI risks and express concerns about China’s AI activities that threaten U.S. national security.

In an online briefing, a high-ranking U.S. government official hinted that the issue of AI’s military use would be addressed in the talks. He stated, “China has prioritized AI development as a national priority and has rapidly allocated capabilities in the civilian, military, and national security sectors.” He continued, “This has weakened the security of the U.S. and its allies.” He added, “Rather than producing specific outcomes, we aim to directly communicate and exchange views on each other’s interests concerning the risks and opportunities of AI.”

During their summit near San Francisco last November, the U.S. and China agreed on the need for AI-related talks. However, this meeting is expected to be exploratory for both countries. Given that international norms related to the military use of AI have not been established, it may not be easy for the two countries to find concrete points of agreement.

The U.S. is wary of China’s potential use of AI in the military sector. The Biden administration is focused on blocking China’s access to U.S. advanced technology, including prohibiting the export of Nvidia’s advanced AI semiconductors to China.

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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