Home China US, China Talks On AI To Mitigate Risks, Not Change Washington’s Policy

US, China Talks On AI To Mitigate Risks, Not Change Washington’s Policy


The U.S. and China will engage in discussions on advanced artificial intelligence in Geneva on Tuesday, as confirmed by U.S. officials and the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Monday. It was emphasised that while the talks will focus on mitigating risks associated with the emerging technology, Washington’s policies will not be subject to negotiation.

President Joe Biden’s administration has sought to engage China on a range of issues to reduce miscommunication between the two rivals. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi broached the topic of AI in April in Beijing, where they agreed to hold their first formal bilateral talks on the subject.

The State Department has pressed China and Russia to match U.S. declarations that only humans, and never artificial intelligence, would make decisions on deploying nuclear weapons.

“This is the first meeting of its kind. So, we expect to have a discussion of the full range of risks, but wouldn’t prejudge any specifics at this point,” a senior administration official told reporters ahead of the meeting when asked if the U.S. would prioritise the nuclear weapons issue.

China’s rapid deployment of AI capabilities across civilian, military and national security sectors often undermined the security of the U.S. and its allies, the official said, adding the talks would allow Washington to directly communicate its concerns.

“To be very clear, talks with Beijing are not focused on promoting any form of technical collaboration or cooperating on frontier research in any matter. And our technology protection policies are not up for negotiation,” the official added.

Reuters has reported that the Biden administration plans to put guardrails on U.S.-developed proprietary AI models that power popular chatbots like ChatGPT to safeguard the technology from countries such as China and Russia.

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A second U.S. official briefing reporters said Washington and Beijing were competing to shape the rules on AI, but also hoped to explore whether some rules could be “embraced by all countries.”

“We certainly don’t see eye to eye … on many AI topics and applications, but we believe that communication on critical AI risks can make the world safer,” the second official said.

The talks will be led by Tarun Chhabra of the U.S. National Security Council and Seth Center, the State Department’s acting special envoy for critical and emerging technology, along with officials from China’s Foreign Ministry and the National Development and Reform Commission. Recommendations to address AI risks are planned by U.S. Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer in the coming weeks, which he says will be translated into specific legislation.

He has cited competition with China and its divergent goals for AI, including surveillance and facial recognition applications, as reasons for Washington’s need to take a lead in crafting laws around the rapidly advancing technology.

Chinese authorities have been emphasising the need for the country to develop its own “controllable” AI technology.

With Inputs from Reuters