The proliferation of generative artificial intelligence (AI) systems raises important and complex geopolitical issues for the United States and its democratic partners. The race for AI dominance intensifies geopolitical rivalries, as countries seek to harness AI’s potential for economic advantage, technological supremacy, and influence over global norms and standards. As AI systems grow increasingly capable of generating realistic text, images, and videos, they have the potential to influence power dynamics among states and the nature of competition in the 21st century.
Generative AI creates direct geopolitical risk through its ability to produce highly targeted deepfake videos, disinformation campaigns, and cyberattacks at scale, posing threats to national security and trust in institutions. States are also competing in governance and standards-setting for a technology that many believe will come to be as socially and economically transformative as the internet. Generative AI exacerbates tensions around data sovereignty, intellectual property rights, and technological dependencies on highly concentrated markets, such as high-end semiconductors and rare earth elements. It is crucial that policymakers, researchers, and industry leaders understand these challenges and ensure the use and governance of generative AI are grounded in democratic values.
On July 19, the Foreign Policy program and Artificial Intelligence & Emerging Technology Initiative at Brookings hosted a virtual discussion on the geopolitics of generative AI and how governments around the world are approaching these challenges.
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