In his latest book, "Four Battlegrounds: Power in the Age of Artificial Intelligence," Scharre explores how the international battle for the most powerful AI technology is changing global power dynamics. That battle, he says, is a global competition to seek the best and most efficient data, computing hardware, human talent, and institutions adopting AI technology — which will determine the next global superpower.
In your new book, you argue there's a battle for global power going on in the form of a revolution brought about by artificial intelligence. What are the stakes of that battle?
So we saw during the Industrial Revolution that nations rose and fell on the global stage based on how rapidly they industrialized. Now, technology is this key enabler of political, economic, and military power. And I think that AI technologies are extremely powerful tools for a country's or society's ability to shape global progress and the international environment.
I do not want to live in a world where the Chinese Communist Party has that level of influence over global affairs. I find that concerning given their egregious human rights abuses at home, their bullying of their neighbors and abroad, their threatening of Taiwan and other countries in the region with military aggression, their militarization of the South China Sea. And I think it's part of the risk is not just about economic and military power and political power, but the spread of China's model of governance, their techno-authoritarianism, through adoption of their AI systems.
Other countries are increasingly emulating China's laws and norms for how to use technology for surveillance and repression at home — some of the social software that sits on top of the hardware of this surveillance technology itself. And of course, this fits into a broader trend we've seen of democratic backsliding in a number of countries and so I do think that we shouldn't take democracy for granted at home or abroad. And it's really important that democracies push back against these authoritarian trends.
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