AI Could Create A Defense Dark Horse ๐ŸŽ

A lot of focus is placed on the US-China AI space race (guilty), but the nature of AI could make for a surprise victor. Or at least a leveling of the playing field. ๐Ÿšœ

There is a risk that the United States, like many leading powers in the past, could take an excessively cautious approach to the adoption of AI capabilities because it currently feels secure in its conventional military superiority.

I noticed an interesting note in the piece that arms regulations are, by and large, aren’t placed on useful defense technologies that are easily spread. Like tanks and jets (“easily spread” is relative in this case). Compared to nukes, which are heavily regulated but hard to manufacture anyway. ๐Ÿญ

AI is not subject to the same manufacturing difficulties and provides far more useful. It is also difficult to draw a clear line between commercial and military uses. All of this creates a scenario that will be tough to regulate with nearly all governments incentivized to take a shot. Interesting times ahead. ๐Ÿ”ฎ

Src: Foreign Policy

China vs. the US: Round ? ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ

In the continuing narrative that is the space race between the US and China in the realm of AI, we get an entry on what the US can learn from Chine. ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณ

It boils down to the two countries excelling at the usual, the US creates visionary ideas and China puts them into production. China has a massive treasure trove of data, true survival of the fittest business environment, and highly involved (controlling) government. ๐Ÿ”ฌ

China is also further along the tech adoption curve, just look at WhatsApp. It’s hard for tourists in some areas because locals rely so heavily on digital payment platforms. China’s approach has its drawbacks, but it’s hard to say the country isn’t more all-in on AI than any other. ๐Ÿ’ฐ

Ultimately, if the US is actually competing with China it needs to take an AI-first approach with buy in from all levels. And it needs to productionize ideas, not just produce them. โš™๏ธ

Src: New York Times

Lazy Faire ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณ

At the US government’s current rate of uninvolvement in the AI sector, China will overtake it in its quest for AI overlord status by the end of the year. At least when it comes to spending, the rest might not be far behind though. ๐Ÿ’ฐ

One of the recommendations from a subcommittee is to expedite the approval of the OPEN Government Data Set. You know, giving citizens the right to data they actually own as taxpayers. ๐Ÿ™„

My hunch is that the way Trump deals with something he doesn’t understand (and might admit to himself he doesn’t understand) is to ignore it, thus the administration’s lack of a plan. ๐Ÿ˜–

Src: The Next Web

The Tangled Web We Weave ๐ŸŒ

AI and nationalism are strange bedfellows. On the one hand, most research at this point has been collaborative and open. Indeed, a lot of advances are open source and practically everything gets a paper written explaining the process. On the other hand, the implications for military use and national advancement are very real. ๐Ÿ›

The US and China are the two main players in this slowly unfolding drama. The big tech companies of each are building research centers in the other and are likely attracting the bulk of the world’s talent. But they are beginning to diverge in a major way, China’s AI industry is heavily backed by the government and follows a policy of dual-use: commercial and military. The US government is basically staying out of it (probably because most of the decision makers don’t understand it) and employees are calling for their companies to stay out of military contracts and applications. ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ

No one benefits if an isolationist approach is taken, but nothing good will happen if the realities of what could result from partnerships and investments are ignored. China seems to want all joint ventures to skew towards benefitting them. Could we be headed towards a Cold War? โ›„๏ธ

Could AI spark a new wave of spying? Industrial espionage, asset development and exploitation, academic pillaging, funding stipulations, code breaking? ๐Ÿ•ต๏ธโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ•ต๏ธโ€โ™‚๏ธ

The post on ASPI does a great job breaking down the situation and outlining what’s going on in China. Plus they recommend some approaches to potential solutions. Ultimately it feels like this is going to become a traditional battle between two countries that manifests in entirely new ways due to the technology involved. ๐Ÿ—บ

Src: ASPI

Sput-who? ๐Ÿ›ฐ

The Center for a New American Security thinks the US needs a plan when it comes to AI, and I can’t say I disagree. We certainly wouldn’t be the first to do so. ๐ŸŒŽ๐ŸŒ๐ŸŒ

The United States may very well be in a new space race, but unlike China, the United States has not yet experienced a true โ€œSputnik momentโ€ from the perspective of the broader public and policymakers.

Src: MIT Tech Review

Where in the World is AI Policy? ๐Ÿ—บ

A nice summary of many country’s AI policies and a look at where the US stands. Spoiler alert: it’s a gray area. ๐ŸŒŽ

While I fear what could happen if corporations are left to run amok, since their goals rarely align with those of most people, I don’t get a warm fuzzy feeling from government either. This is due to the general lack of technical understanding by many (most?) in government. ๐Ÿค”

Exhibit A: the Facebook Congressional hearing โš–๏ธ

Exhibit B: some members of government bragging about never sending an email ๐Ÿ“ง

Buckle up, I have a feeling we’re in for a bumpy ride. ๐Ÿšง

Src: The Gradient

Space Race Entry: South Korea ๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ท

South Korea is officially in the AI Space Race. In fairness, this recent announcement is actually a major expansion of a previous plan, so they aren’t a brand new entry. ๐ŸŽŸ๏ธ

How Much? ๐Ÿ’ฐ: โ‚ฉ2.2 trillion (US$2 billion)

By When? ๐Ÿ“…: 2022

What’re the goals? ๐Ÿฅ…:

  • Be a Top 4 country
  • Close the gap with China
  • 6 new AI research institutes
  • Develop 1,370 AI talents including 350 key researchers
  • Grant 4,500 scholarships
  • Generate 600 talents via boot camp style initiative to kick start progress
  • New drug development and medical services

What’re the focus areas? ๐Ÿ”ฌ:

  • Human Resources
  • Technology
  • Infrastructure

Getting Chipy ๐Ÿช: They also ear marked โ‚ฉ1 trillion (US$1 billion) for semiconductor and chip development. Everyone wants a piece of the chip pie.

Src: Synced

The New Space Race: Supercomputer Derby ๐ŸŽ

The ranking of the top 500 most powerful computers in the world was recently released. The US took the top spot thanks to the new Summit supercomputer. But China takes the win in the quantity competition, claiming 206 spots on the list. The US hit a new low of only 124 spots. ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณ ๐Ÿ“ˆ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ“‰

The other countries rounding out the top 6 by quantity are the usual suspects:

  • Japan ๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต
  • Germany ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช
  • United Kingdom ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง
  • France ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท

The interesting thing is that the US leads the world in total performance accounting for 38.2% of the global aggregate. China is #2. ๐Ÿ’ช

I wonder how this competition will mirror the AI arms race? Will quantity or performance win? Will it democratize the playing field by making sheer compute strength less important? Or will it make it more important? ๐Ÿค”

Src: Top500

The AI Space Race ๐Ÿ›ฐ

I’m very interested in how the AI boom will unfold on the international stage. It has all the makings of the next space race or arms race and more countries throw their hat in the ring every day. ๐Ÿš€

This post from Ian Hogarth is a great overview of what is “at stake”. I use quotes for that because it seems more ominous than I think it should. But there are certainly some potentially ominous outcomes depending on who wins the race. Or who losses… ๐Ÿฅ‡๐Ÿฅˆ๐Ÿฅ‰

The big 3 sectors ready to be shake up:

  1. Economy ๐Ÿ’ต
  2. Military ๐Ÿ”ซ
  3. Science & Technology ๐Ÿ”ฌ

What is required for countries to compete?

  1. Compute ๐Ÿ–ฅ
  2. Talent ๐Ÿง 
  3. Related tech ๐Ÿ’ฝ
  4. Stable/supportive politics โš–๏ธ

It’s also interesting to think about how AI and its impacts will vary by country due to each country’s unique mix of experience, culture, and economy. For example, Chinese AI will be (and is) very different from US AI. ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณ ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ

I also wonder if we are heading towards a post-nation future that resembles some capitalist fever dream of multinational companies ruling everything? ๐Ÿค”

Or maybe it creates one global government, Illuminati style. ๐Ÿ‘

Src:Ian Hogarth