Tensions Between US And China Will Only Grow As Both Countries Enter An AI Arms Race, Experts Say

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  • The tech race between the U.S. and China is now centered on artificial intelligence, with major implications due to differences in their economies, governments, and ambitions, according to experts who spoke to the Daily Caller News Foundation.
  • Technological rivalry between the U.S. and China in artificial intelligence will contribute to friction for years into the future; the results will be influenced by the freedom of AI companies and government influence
  • “When the CCP likes what you’re doing and it’s not at all threatening to them, you have a fair bit of [sic] freedom to act. As soon as you start to create a base of power that is separate from the CCP, they pull it and restrict it.”

The next frontier of the tech race between the U.S. and China is artificial intelligence, and it has serious implications based on the two countries’ different economies, governments, and ambitions, experts told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

This technological competition will continue for the foreseeable future and cause tension between the U.S. and China, according to experts. It is not a foregone conclusion who will win and what the consequences will be, but it will largely depend on the freedom of the AI companies and government intervention.

China will remain in the race, but not lead the charge due to their Communist government, according to Ryan Yonk, Senior Research Faculty at the American Institute for Economic Research.  However, this may also work to their advantage, according to Joshua Steinman, former Senior Director of Cyber Security on the National Security Council.

“The U.S. traditionally has a dynamic culture when it comes to innovation and we’ve had a less precautionary approach to technological governance,” said Jennifer Huddleston, Technology Policy Research Fellow. Yonk says this is the U.S.’s biggest strength in this race and the most significant threat it faces is government intervention.

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 28: A protester disrupts the first hearing of the U.S. House Select Committee on Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party as L-R) Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, human rights activist Tong Yi, and Lt. Gen. H.R. McCaster (Ret.) testify, at the Cannon House Office Building on February 28, 2023 in Washington, DC. The committee is investigating economic, technological and security competition between the U.S. and China. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Alternatively, Steinman says government intervention is an asset in this race as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is aggressive and “promote[s] companies that are growing quickly inside China and block[s] foreign competitors. When those companies sell abroad, the CCP gives them financing to undercut competitors.”

Yonk is optimistic that the U.S. government will not excessively interfere in this AI revolution but states that will be a major obstacle for Chinese companies.

“When the CCP likes what you’re doing and it’s not at all threatening to them, you have a fair bit of [sic] freedom to act. As soon as you start to create a base of power that is separate from the CCP, they pull it and restrict it,” he said.

A recent example of China lagging behind the U.S. in AI occurred Thursday when Baidu revealed their Ernie bot in a failed and falsely advertised presentation that led to the stock plunging, according to CNBC. ChatGPT-4, OpenAI’s latest version of its popular and disruptive chatbot was unveiled Tuesday and revealed research showing it can excel at key academic exams. (RELATED: New Version Of ChatGPT Crushes LSAT, SAT, GRE And AP Exams)

Unlike the U.S., Europe’s AI development is dealing with substantial government regulation, which means America has an opportunity “to really be a global leader if we get the policy framework right,” Huddleston said. If there is regulation, it should be specific, so as not to hamper growth, she added.

In terms of Chinese ambitions with this new technology, Yonk says they will attempt to influence developing countries. Steinman cautioned it is more expansive than that, saying, “When sold to Germany, Nigeria, South Korea, or even in the United States, Huawei — or their white label alternatives — can likely enable both CCP espionage and deep technological control at the touch of a button.”

“The Chinese Communist Party almost certainly believes that AI dominance will not only preserve Maoist totalitarianism at home but enable them to promote Communist revolution abroad. It is one of their greatest national priorities,” Steinman told the DCNF.

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