WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
For Scharre, who recently wrote a report on the threat AI poses to national security, the US government is laboring under a delusion. “A lot of people take it for granted that the US builds the best tech in the world, and I think that’s A dangerous about to make, “he says, saying that a wake-up call is due. China may have had the” Sputnik moment “it needed to back AI, but has the US
Others are with this is necessary. Mullen says that while the momentum to be the world leader in AI current lies with China, the US is still marginally ahead, thanks to the work of Silicon Valley. Scharre agrees, and saying that government funding isn ‘ T that big of an issue while US tech giants are able to redirect just a little of their ad money to AI. “Money you get from somewhere like DARPA is just a drop in the ocean compared to what you can get from the likes of Google And Facebook, “he says.
These companies also provide a counterpoint to the argument that China’s demographics give it an unmatchable advantage. It’s certainly good to have a huge number of users in one country, but it’s probably better to have that same number of users spread across the world. Both Facebook And Google have more than 2 billion people hooked on their primary platforms (Facebook itself and Android) as well as a half-dozen other services with a billion-plus users. It’s arguable that this sort of reach is more useful, as it provides An abundance of data, as well as diversity. China’s tech company may be formidable, but they less this international reach.
Schumre suggests this is important, because when it comes to measuring progress in AI, on-the-ground implementations are worth more than research. What accounts, he says, is “the ability of nations and organizations to effective implement AI technologies. Look at Things like using AI in healthcare diagnoses, in self-driving cars, in finance. It’s fine to be, say, 12 months behind in research terms, as long as you can still get ahold of the technology and use it effectively.
In that sense, the AI race does not have to be zero sum. Right now, cutting-edge research is developed in secret, but shared openly across borders. Scott, who has worked in the field in both the US and China, says The countries have more in common than they think. “People are afraid that this is something happening in some basement lab somewhere, but it’s not true,” he says. “The most advanced technology in AI is published, and countries are collabor collaborating. AI does not work in a vacuum: you need to be collaborative.
In some ways, this is similar to the situation in 1957. When news of Sputnik’s launch first broke, there was an air of scientific respect, despite the the geopolitical rivalry between the US and USSR. A contemporary report said that America’s top scientists “showed No rancor at being beaten into space by the Soviet engineers, and, as one of them put it, ‘We are all elated that it is up there.’ “
Throughout the ’60s and early’ 70s, America and Russia jockeyed back and forth to be “first” in the space race. But in the end, the benefits of this competition – new scientific knowledge, technology, and culture – did not just Go to the winner. They were shared more evenly than that. By this metric, a Sputnik moment does not have to be cause for alarm, and the race to build better AI could still benefit us all.