US needs to abandon hypocrisy in AI cooperation with China
Published: May 15, 2024 09:44 PM
Photo: CFP

Photo: CFP

On Tuesday, China and the US held the first meeting of the intergovernmental dialogue on artificial intelligence (AI) in Geneva, Switzerland. According to information released on a WeChat account run by the Department of North American and Oceanian Affairs of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, during the meeting, both sides recognized that there are opportunities and risks in the development of AI technology. China supports strengthening the global governance of AI, advocates the role of the UN as the main channel, and stands ready to strengthen communication and coordination with the international community, including the US, to form a global framework and standards for AI governance with broad consensus.

The first meeting of the intergovernmental dialogue on AI was held based on the consensus reached at the meeting between the two presidents in San Francisco, aiming to reduce the risks of AI and improve global AI governance. Against the backdrop of increasingly fierce global technological competition, cooperation and dialogue between China and the US in the field of AI are particularly important. Since AI is a global topic that has a significant impact on the future development of humanity, dialogue between the two countries is not only meaningful in preventing potential conflicts in this field but also in promoting cooperation. 

In terms of global AI governance, China is willing to engage in dialogue with the US because there are many aspects in the field of AI where China and the US can and should cooperate. For example, as two major countries, China and the US have the obligation to jointly lead the international community in formulating global AI regulations to address the security and governance challenges brought by AI technology. Besides, undoubtedly, cooperation in the field of AI is mutually beneficial for both China and the US and their people.

However, hoping to suppress China while expecting China to "dance to the tune" of the US through dialogue is simply an unrealistic fantasy.

The US is attempting to block China's development in the AI field through technological blockade and political pressure in order to prevent China from catching up. It's reported recently that the US Department of Commerce is considering a new regulatory push to restrict the export of proprietary or closed-source AI models, like ChatGPT. 

At the meeting, the Chinese side clearly stated its position on US restrictions and suppression of China in the field of AI. The US has been implementing measures to hinder China's AI development, claiming that it is "undermining the national security of the US and its allies." However, this claim is baseless. Washington has apparently fallen into a distorted mentality where it perceives any areas where China excels or is expected to excel, such as 5G, AI, and quantum technology, as "threats." The so-called China threat is not only propaganda but also a reflection of a pathological mind-set.

Xin Qiang, deputy director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University, told the Global Times that currently, the US is the most advanced in the weaponization and militarization of AI technology, noting the claim that "China poses a military threat to the US in the field of AI" is simply unfounded. 

During the elections season, US President Joe Biden needs to prove to the domestic audience that he has the ability to stabilize China-US relations. The US cannot afford to stop dialogue with China. However, it seems the US side was not enthusiastic in seeking to achieve any substantive progress in the AI dialogue with China from the beginning. A US official stated before the meeting that the conference would not focus on "promoting any form of technical collaboration or cooperating on frontier research in any matter."

China has already shown sincerity and goodwill in the strategic dialogue with the US. It is willing to strengthen communication and stands ready to strengthen communication and coordination with the international community, including the US, to establish a global framework and standards for AI governance with broad consensus. We hope that the US will also show corresponding sincerity and refrain from engaging in hypocritical behavior such as blocking, restricting, and sanctioning while engaging in dialogue.