China’s plan to use Artificial Intelligence in foreign policymaking reflects its strategy to be global leader by 2030, says GlobalData

For immediate release: 22nd August 2018

China’s recent announcement to actively explore the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in foreign diplomacy, which forms part of its strategy to be the world leader in AI technology by 2030, marks the first time in modern history that the country will not be playing technological catch up to the Western world, says leading data and analytics company GlobalData.

Of late, AI has been discretely entering every sphere of human life, resulting in heightened fears that increasing job automation and machine learning will eventually claim the jobs of those in the manufacturing and service industry. Now, with China plans to develop AI as an aid to foreign policymaking, the specter of being replaced by AI is hanging above the heads of bureaucrats and politicians.

In the present political climate where power is concentrated around a few geographic locations, diplomats and politicians, who are at the forefront of many crucial political issues, can make mistakes when dealing with extremely complex situations.

However, AI suffers from none of these drawbacks. It has shown itself to be adept at making decisions regarding complex systems, such as winning games of go, chess, or Texas hold’em against professionals and reigning world champions. It gives users the power to influence and possibly reshape the geopolitical landscape.

James Spencer, Medical Devices Analyst at GlobalData, says: “The ability for an AI to outthink and out strategize people has very important consequences when applied to real-world politics. Countries that utilize AI in political decisions will be able to cut better deals and avoid more pitfalls than countries that do not, and as a result, will have an easier time accruing money, power, and influence.

“The question of whether or not AIs would consider moral factors is especially concerning at present, as China has openly announced plans to develop AI as an aid to foreign policymaking, making it the first country in the world to do so.”

China is already using AI as an aide in the political arena—specifically, to provide an additional opinion on ‘foreign investment projects’. However, government representatives were adamant that the AI is not able to take unilateral actions. It is only allowed to suggest a course of action, after which a human will make the final call.

Spencer concludes: “The drive to incorporate AI is further being driven by China’s desire and strategy to be the world leader in AI technology by 2030. China is prepared to pour tens of billions of US dollars into investing in the development of AI in the coming years. As such, this marks the first time in modern history that China will not be playing technological catch up to the Western world, but instead will be innovating AI development and utilization for the future.”