A.I. expert Ian Hogarth predicts that trends toward what he refers to as "A.I. Nationalism" led to an arms race which will have an impact on the geopolitical landscape similar to nuclear technologies and oil. Fueled by "A.I. Nationalism" politics and complicated by the direct involvement of various private companies taking the lead, the new cold war may, in fact, have already started. Hogarth points out that there are only two world powers when it comes to A.I. technologies and both also happen to be the countries where the biggest A.I. companies are headquartered. Of course, those are the U.S. and China but the approach from those nations have been very different. The U.S. doesn't have a clear policy in place for addressing artificial intelligence and isn't investing heavily in its development. Other countries and various companies are beginning to take note of how impactful the technology is going to be and the various possible ramifications of that. However, China is arguably the lead contender in the space.
That's because China has already been implementing overarching policies that fall in line with the abovementioned A.I. Nationalism. The country is investing heavily in research on machine learning while also directly investing money in the companies furthering the technology. In fact, it has essentially nationalized its technology companies and other organizations by taking stock in them to exert a more direct influence, in some cases leading to national security concerns. Those companies have, in turn, taken key roles in the development of standards surrounding A.I. and helped to standardize regulations. Meanwhile, the U.S., China, and other countries have begun to take a greater interest in proposals regarding the acquisition of A.I.-related companies, including those that manufacture components necessary for the technology to function. Some examples of that are France's recent introduction of laws requiring oversight of those types of transactions and the U.S.'s recent blocking of Qualcomm's acquisition by Broadcom.
With regard to the types of instability Hogarth predicts as a result of Nationalist tendencies, pending the emergence of groundbreaking cooperation between countries, there are three primary categories. In terms of the economy, machine learning is expected to both create new businesses and business models and to eliminate countless jobs. That will force governments to invest and regulate effectively to maintain a strong economy but the effect won't be split evenly. The economies of some countries are dependent on different industries that will be not be impacted equally by the technology. Beyond that, A.I. will enable new methods of both physical and cyber-based warfare. The investments nations choose to make will disrupt the current organization of world military superpowers and the general public, including protests or compliance of employees at various companies, are going to affect that. Last, general purpose A.I. – A.I. that can effectively perform tasks as well or better than humans – is estimated to be a key foundation for furthering science and technology research. Supremecy in technology and the sciences will impact both the other two categories of instability in the current world leaders but will also likely introduce new sources of instability.