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Top U.S., Chinese officials begin AI talks in Geneva – Hartford Courant

Top U.S., Chinese officials begin AI talks in Geneva – Hartford Courant

 


By JAMEY KEATEN (Associated Press)

GENEVA (AP) — Top envoys from the United States and China met behind closed doors Tuesday in Geneva to discuss ways to ensure emerging artificial intelligence technologies do not become existential risks.

The talks, which Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping agreed to launch in 2023, are destined open a bilateral dialogue between the world's two largest economies – and increasingly geopolitical rivals – on a rapidly evolving technology that is already impacting trade, lifestyles, culture, politics, security national and defense and much more.

US technology experts say the meeting – led on the US side by senior White House and State Department officials – could offer insight into Beijing's thinking on AI, against a backdrop of China's approach generally discreet with regard to technology.

Co-founder Jason Glassberg of Casaba Security in Redmond, Wash., an expert on new and emerging threats posed by AI, handicapped the meeting by presenting it as a get-to-know-you opportunity that will likely yield few concrete results, but which will bring both parties to discussion. .

“What is most important right now is that both sides realize that they each have a lot to lose if AI becomes a weapon or if it is misused,” Glassberg said in an email. “All parties involved are at equal risk. Right now, one of the biggest risks is deepfakes, especially when used in disinformation campaigns.

“This poses as much of a risk to the PRC as it does to the U.S. government,” he added, referring to the People’s Republic of China.

“It is vitally important that the United States and China begin frank discussions about how to improve AI safety,” said Paul Scharre, an AI expert at the Center for New American think tank Security. “The stakes are high and the consequences of AI-related accidents could be serious. “

He noted that the United States has committed in 2022 to always keep a human informed about the use of nuclear weapons. But the Chinese army did not do the same.

“Ensuring strict human control over nuclear weapons seems like a low bar for reaching agreement on military AI,” said Scharre, author of “Four Battlegrounds: Power in the Age of Artificial Intelligence.” “As the world's leading economic, military and technological powers, an agreement between the United States and China on how to manage AI risks could help set the stage for other countries to follow suit. not.”

It was not immediately clear why the meeting was taking place in Geneva, even though the internationally-minded Swiss city bills itself as a hub of U.N. and international diplomacy and institutions.

The Geneva-based International Telecommunications Union – a UN agency currently headed by American Doreen Bodgan-Martin and previously led by China's Houlin Zhao – is expected to hold its annual “AI for Good” conference in the city later this month.

The meeting is the first as part of an intergovernmental dialogue on AI agreed during a multi-faceted encounter between Xi and Biden in San Francisco six months ago.

The U.S. government has sought to put guardrails around the technology while encouraging its growth, seeking a possible boon to economic production and employment.

Western experts have suggested that the Chinese government, meanwhile, has been partly silent on AI applications due to its actual or potential applications for military and surveillance activities under the ruling Communist Party.

U.S. officials suggested they would outline ways to mitigate potential risks from the technology by making voluntary commitments with major companies in the sector and requiring safety testing of AI products.

AP Technology writer Frank Bajak in Boston contributed.

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