Author: Francesco Cirillo - U.S. Team

The sudden emergence of applications related to artificial intelligence, which combine different fields of work, is at the centre of international agendas and governments. The issue of the possible risks of AI has focused the debate on the need to find common ground, especially between China and the United States, the two major global economic powers and key players in AI research and development, both in the public and private Big Tech sectors, both in the US and in China. 

In recent months, following the San Francisco Summit in November 2023, where a very important bilateral meeting between Joe Biden and Xi Jinping took place, China and the US have started to engage in a dialogue to create global governance on AI. For several experts, Sino-American cooperation is crucial to avoid a political-military race in the AI sector, as was also said by Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI. From Beijing's perspective, the issue remains a priority due to the delicate diplomatic relations between Washington and Beijing. Between December 2023 and January 2024, two Chinese academics wrote two papers attempting to define the new China-US relationship from Beijing's perspective. 

Da Wei, a professor at Tsinghua University, highlights four key concepts needed to analyse the new 'normal' in Sino-US relations after the San Francisco summit. The paper points out that relations will remain predominantly negative in the long term, but analyses the condition that neither power wants a direct confrontation on the economic level. From the point of view of Chinese academics, there seems to be the idea that both China and the US must find the need to coexist, especially to consolidate dialogue on issues of artificial intelligence. 

Here too, Chinese academics and experts reiterate the need for high-level dialogue to build global governance on AI

Even the world of independent academic research is moving to protect the impartiality of scientific research on AI.

On 5 March, a team of MIT experts published a letter"A Safe Harbor for AI Evaluation and Red Teaming," calling on tech companies involved in generative AI research to implement independent evaluation systems for AI-related risks. The letter, signed by several experts, refers to the confidentiality and corporate security issues that many Big Techs, most notably OpenAI, have within their R&D teams, preventing an unbiased assessment of the risks associated with the sudden development of AI, accelerated from December 2022.

Source: Tara Winstead - Pexels

Artificial Intelligence issues have entered the international debate because of their potential in various sectors, but also because of the competition/cooperation that both China and the United States will have to face in the coming years on issues related to the integration of AI systems in the economic, political and military spheres. 

International competition and the race to dominate AI could change the current status of global governance, but it would not change the game and the competition between the great powers, since technological innovation has always played a key role in the global hegemony of the superpower that would gain a strategic advantage over all the other great global powers.