The nation that emerges as the leader in technology, particularly in AI, in the coming two decades, will be in the commanding position for the global distribution of technology, economic benefits and influence, and thus — values. If Western values are to win globally we must approach AI cautiously but not at the expense of losing the AI race. AI regulation could tilt the race in our adversary’s direction, a risk that is not being adequately considered in the debate around regulation.
The race is on. This techno-economic war has been precipitously accelerated by COVID, the war in Ukraine, and the unveiling of the power of AI in the last two years. COVID highlighted the need for supply chain and resource independence. China holds hostage resources ranging from steel and rare earths, EV batteries and our manufacturing supply chain dependency. Meanwhile, the war in Ukraine revealed the danger of energy dependence on other despots. The ascendance of President Xi as the autocrat defining China’s directions for life, and his aggressive foreign policy vision, has changed the race for which value system dominates the planet and why the Western values coalition must win.
While this techno-economic war has many theaters, it is chiefly AI that will decide the winner because of its multiplicative power on labor and expertise. For the winner, it will accelerate GDP growth and allow for a very low cost of sharing its benefits globally. Today, we are experiencing a Cambrian Explosion in AI. It is likely to be a decades-long cycle of innovation and an economic turbocharger for global GDP — from minerals and resource discovery, faster scientific discovery, near free content and entertainment, cheaper labor through robotics, more efficient utilization of transportation through self-driving, better healthcare and education, and much more. Imagine exporting near free AI doctors, entertainers and educators globally! It is exactly why the AI winner will have the option to project global economic benefits and influence.