White House will intervene to ensure the US leads in AI, 5G

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The US is planning an intervention that will see it play a role in ensuring the country leads in technologies such as AI and 5G.

In an email to The Hill, an official wrote:

“Within the coming weeks, we could expect to see action designed to preserve American [research and development] leadership in artificial intelligence, 5G, and the first deliverables from the National Quantum Initiative Act.”

The ‘National Quantum Initiative Act’ is a law passed by the previous Congress that was intended to keep pace with China in vital new technologies.

During a State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Donald Trump discussed investing in what he called “industries of the future”.

The Wall Street Journal reported President Trump is expected to issue executive orders to redirect government resources into boosting AI and 5G development.

China AI Race

According to a report published by US national security think tank Center for a New American Security (CNAS), Chinese officials see an AI ‘arms race’ as a threat to global peace.

Their fear is the integration of AI into military resources and communications may breach current international norms and lead to conflict-by-accident.

One such example is the use of drones. Without the risk of human casualties, militaries are more likely to deploy them into contested airspace while opponents are more likely to shoot them down.

Establishing international norms around the use of automated systems needs to be a priority to avoid potential disaster. A simple race to be the best could be dangerous. Firms such as Microsoft have even begun warning investors of potential issues during AI development that ‘may result in reputational harm’.

The US and China will need to set aside their differences and increase cooperation in such matters. Both have a lot to gain; the US has a lead in chip technology, whereas China has masses of data for training AI.

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