- As China, Russia, and other authoritarian powers seek to achieve strategic advantage through AI, America’s broad network of alliances and security partnerships is a proven asset. Democratic nations must work together to uphold basic principles, set international rules of the road, and articulate a positive vision for the future of AI.
- Strengthening America’s alliances is critical at a time of growing competition between democratic nations and authoritarian regimes. A world in which China and Russia deploy AI to widen the net of surveillance and information controls is a world of fewer safeguards for privacy and the rule of law, diminished economic opportunities for U.S. companies, fragmented alliances, and greater operational restrictions on the U.S. military.
- Alliances come with potential inefficiencies and risks, but the real risk is letting this comparative advantage for America become a wasting asset. The recent U.S. decision to join the Global Partnership on AI, an international platform for collaboration on shared principles, is a step in the right direction. To promote democratic values and protect against a mounting authoritarian challenge, the United States needs a comprehensive strategic approach that deepens cooperation among allies on AI while managing legitimate economic competition.
- According to a CSET survey of more than a dozen U.S. allies and partners, 80 percent of officials said their country considers the United States to be a reliable partner on AI. CSET collected 34 metrics of allied AI capability and compatibility with U.S. interests and values.
The United States should pursue a three-pronged strategy to coordinate with allies and partners:
- Defend against the threats posed by digital authoritarianism: The Chinese government undertakes multiple, coordinated efforts to obtain sensitive technical information from U.S. and allied institutions and researchers. To address this threat, democratic nations should gather, analyze, and share more data on technology transfers, balance talent retention and research security, and coordinate investment screening procedures. Allies should apply targeted export controls to limit China’s access to semiconductor manufacturing equipment.
- Network to pool resources and accelerate technological progress: The United States and allies account for more than two-thirds of global R&D. To promote innovation, democratic nations should develop common standards for sharing non-sensitive datasets, invest in privacy-preserving machine learning, promote interoperability, increase coordination among foreign science funding organizations, and expand AI fellowships and exchange programs.
- Project influence in support of inclusive growth, human rights, and democratic values: The United States should lead a coordinated effort with allies and partners to set global norms and standards for AI. Emerging markets present opportunities to shape AI governance consistent with democratic values. The United States and its allies should establish a multilateral digital infrastructure network to build AI capacity in developing countries.
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