However, the military potential of AI has become a key point in an increasingly complicated relationship between China and the United States. Many policymakers see technology as a crucial way for the United States to gain an advantage over its rival. This potential is a key reason why the United States has sought to limit China’s access to advanced semiconductors is to hinder their ability to harness technology for military purposes.
Policymakers advocating for military adoption of AI also recognize that the technology may carry a number of new risks, including the possibility that the use of AI increases distrust between potential adversaries or that systems malfunction. provoke an escalation of hostilities.
“There should be some scope to discuss the use of AI associated with lethal autonomous weapons systems,” says Pablo Trioloexpert on US-China policy issues at Albright Stonebridge Group, a strategic advisory firm.
For starters, the United States and China need to agree on a definition of such weapons, Triolo says. But he believes discussions will inevitably be complicated by US sanctions, which directly target China’s ability to develop advanced AI. Any conversation “would necessarily, in my opinion, have to include a discussion of American controls over advanced computer hardware,” he says.
Even if lethal autonomous weapons were banned, reckless use of AI could cause military systems to fail. The rapid adoption of low-cost autonomous drones by forces fighting in Ukraine has highlighted the technology’s disruptive potential and has prompted many militaries, including the United States, to rethink their technological approach.
The US and Chinese militaries have just started talking to each other again. Beijing froze military talks after Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwanthe democratic island nation that considers an inalienable part of China, and which is also home to the most advanced semiconductor manufacturer, TSMC.
In February, after the United States shot down a Chinese spy balloon that had passed over North America, the Pentagon said Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was unable to communicate with his Chinese counterpart through a special hotline.
Recent incidents in the South China Sea highlight the need for communication between the US and Chinese militaries. In October, the US Department of Defense published video sequences and images which he claimed show Chinese fighter jets conducting unsafe maneuvers near US aircraft in the region. This month, the Chinese defense ministry released his own footage of what he called “infringement and provocation by a US warship” in the South China Sea.
However, China has expressed its willingness to restart dialogue. At the Xiangshan Forum held in Taiwan last October, Zhang Youxia, vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission, said: “We will deepen strategic cooperation and coordination with Russia and are willing to, on the basis of mutual respect, coexist peaceful and win-win cooperation, develop military ties with the United States”