The United States of America has finally joined the G7 countries in the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (AI). The alliance was initiated by France and Canada nearly two years ago, to promote human rights, diversity, inclusion, innovation along with economic development while developing AI technology.
The US administration earlier had declined to join the alliance due to fears that attempts towards creating regulations would hurt innovation at US tech firms even though, the coalition had made it clear that these deliberations cannot regulate firms since they’re not legally binding. When the US chose not to join the alliance, the group couldn’t make significant progress.
However, things have changed since then. China’s growing technological capabilities has the US sitting up and noticing. “Chinese technology companies are attempting to shape international standards on facial recognition and surveillance at the United Nations,” said Michael Kratsios, the White House’s chief technology officer while speaking with The Associated Press on Thursday. He further explained that the move towards the alliance was important to lay down democratic principles as a countermeasure since China has a proven history of “twisting technology” in ways that threaten civil liberties.
The partnership was launched virtually between the countries on Thursday, after a meeting between the G7 national technology ministers. According to Kratsios, the first act as an alliance will be to be responsible while using AI to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, unlike China who has been accused of using AI to discipline critics who criticised the country’s of response to COVID-19.
While it is a step towards building more just and equal AIs, experts doubt the US’s motivation to join the alliance was completely altruistic. They say that China’s aim to become a world leader in AI is also a strong motivation for the US as it fights to hold its place as an industry leader.