CareCredit Women's Health May 2024 Banner

US-China AI Meeting May Hold Key to Unlocking Global Business Potential

The upcoming high-level talks between the U.S. and China on artificial intelligence (AI) could have far-reaching implications for the future of global commerce, experts say.

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has announced that the two countries will conduct their first high-level talks on AI, emphasizing its growing importance. The discussions are poised to cover crucial aspects of AI technology and regulation, and the outcomes may influence regulatory frameworks, technology trade policies, and cooperation in technological advancements. 

“The U.S. and China are looking to establish a baseline to avoid AI becoming either accidentally mismanaged or deliberately weaponized in a way that will be hard to control and that can cause devastation to markets, industries, and security mechanisms,” geopolitical analyst Irina Tsukerman told PYMNTS.

“A common understanding in this area is not necessarily easily achievable given the divergent geopolitical goalposts, but it can offset some of the pressure, provide an opening towards minimal commitment on issues such as protecting minors, or pushing for broader international access, which can be used to offset diplomatic clashes as a form of positive cooperation.”

AI Diplomacy

The U.S. has tightened restrictions on Beijing’s access to advanced technology and is nearing a ban on the social media app TikTok unless its Chinese parent company ByteDance sells it. 

Blinken stated at a press conference that TikTok was not discussed. China’s foreign ministry confirmed the upcoming AI discussions, outlining a broader five-point agreement between Washington and Beijing, which includes efforts to stabilize bilateral relations, enhance cultural exchanges, and continue consultations on international and regional issues.

Tsukerman said that the significance of the announcement is at least as much about what is not included — the TikTok forced sale law — as about what is included, which is the risks and safety concerns surrounding AI.

“The U.S. drafted the resolution on international cooperation on AI ethics, adopted by the General Assembly, and remains a leader in R&D in the area, whereas China has taken the lead in investment into AI and sees it as a top business, technological development, and national security priority,” Tsukerman added.

The U.S. is working to limit China’s influence in Middle Eastern tech industries, Tsukerman noted. The U.S. has formed an AI research partnership with Abu Dhabi and will urge top American AI firms to invest in United Arab Emirates (UAE) companies like G42. In return, these UAE businesses will prioritize U.S. technologies, and some will reduce their collaboration with China.

“In the context of the geopolitical tensions between the U.S. and China, this effort to enforce regulatory cooperation and draw a bilateral framework on AI safety and risk management follows the U.S. commitment to ‘derisking’ China’s most aggressive paths towards achieving technological dominance,” Tsukerman added.

China’s AI Push

China has ambitious plans to become a global leader in AI technology. The country is reportedly aiding its AI startups with “computing vouchers” worth up to $280,000. This initiative, adopted by at least 17 cities, helps companies manage data center costs during a chip shortage. The move is seen as a response to U.S. restrictions that have led internet companies to prioritize their own GPU needs.

Last year, China implemented 24 new guidelines governing disruptive AI technology. These regulations, which took effect on Aug. 15, signal a major economy’s first attempt to regulate the rapidly expanding AI market. The industry has seen a surge in public fascination and tech sector valuations since OpenAI unveiled its ChatGPT product. Foreign businesses from the EU and the U.S. must adhere to the guidelines set forth by China’s Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) in order to operate within the country.