India and Geopolitics of AI
Context: The parallels between AI and nuclear history, emphasise geopolitical challenges and India’s strategic positioning.
Geopolitical Context and Historical Parallels
- Nuclear and AI Similarities: While different, AI and nuclear technologies share similarities, especially in their potential to significantly impact humanity.
- Historical Lesson: The destructive power of nuclear weapons led to global efforts to manage their risks. Similarly, AI poses potential risks that need managing, such as machines overtaking human control.
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Current AI Governance Challenges
- Geopolitical Rivalry and Technology Abuse: AI governance faces challenges similar to the early nuclear age, including managing geopolitical rivalries and preventing misuse of technology.
- Calls for Restrictions: There are demands for banning or freezing military AI development, echoing past nuclear arms control efforts.
Great Powers and AI
- US and China in AI Leadership: Like the US and Soviet Union in the nuclear era, the US and China are key players in AI, with their agreements seen as vital for managing AI’s evolution.
- Ongoing Development Despite Risks: Despite attempts to manage competition, both the US and China are actively developing military AI applications.
International Norms and Bilateral Actions
- Proposals for Global AI Agency: Similar to the International Atomic Energy Agency for Nuclear Energy, there are suggestions for an International Agency for Artificial Intelligence.
- US-Led Coalitions: The US is forming alliances like the Global Partnership for Artificial Intelligence (GPAI) to discuss AI development and manage its impacts.
India’s Position and Lessons
- Moving Beyond Disarmament Idealism: India’s approach to AI is more pragmatic than its past nuclear disarmament idealism, recognizing the urgent need to engage with AI development.
- Importance of US-India Partnership: The article emphasises strengthening India’s partnership with the US in AI and other technologies, learning from past missed opportunities in nuclear cooperation.
- Avoiding the ‘Third Way’ in Technology: The article cautions against India’s traditional approach of seeking a unique path in technology, advocating for strong domestic AI capabilities and private sector involvement.