February 09, 2018

Tech entanglement—China, the United States, and artificial intelligence

By Elsa B. Kania

In Washington and Beijing’s complex bilateral relationship, artificial intelligence has emerged as a new domain of both cooperation and competition. Even as China and the United States increasingly compete in artificial intelligence on the national level, the two countries’ business and technology sectors are deeply entangled, competing and collaborating by turn.

Although this degree of engagement can be mutually beneficial, US enterprises must also remain cognizant of the agenda and priorities of the Chinese Communist Party, which do not always accord with core US interests and values. In certain instances, ties between US tech firms and Chinese entities, some with military connections, have sparked concerns in the United States—notably, within the Pentagon—that such engagement could result in the transfer of dual-use technologies, advance China’s military modernization, or aid in Beijing’s construction of an ever more pervasive and sophisticated surveillance state, potentially enabling and exacerbating human rights abuses. If unaware or indifferent, US enterprises risk being exploited by the Party—or becoming complicit in Beijing’s AI-enabled efforts to advance the state’s surveillance capabilities and military modernization efforts.

Read the full article at The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

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