Kratsios Urges U.S.-European Solidarity on AI Development, Hammers China

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U.S. Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios delivered a strong plea today for broad policy cooperation between the U.S., European countries, and other allies in the development and deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) and 5G wireless communications technologies.

Solidarity between the U.S., Europe, and their allies on advanced technology development, he emphasized, is crucial to counteract what Kratsios called the “authoritarian” aims of the Chinese government to dominate AI and 5G technologies in order to undermine personal freedoms both in China and around the world.

Speaking at the Web Summit 2019 event in Portugal, Kratsios ran down the Trump administration’s recent policy moves in the AI arena, including the AI Initiative released by the White House in February that focuses on prioritizing Federal government investments in AI-driven projects, and development by Federal agencies of research and development budgets for AI that will support their core missions.

He emphasized that U.S. AI policy drives toward development of “national standards and guidance on AI explainability, safety, trustworthiness, and other challenging technical and ethical issues,” and above all relies on a “light-touch” regulatory approach that “advances economic freedom and a commitment to the rule of law and human dignity.”

“Our approach rejects the false dichotomy that somehow we must choose between the benefits of emerging technology on the one hand and following our moral compass on the other,” Kratsios said. He continued, “Importantly, we recognize that we don’t need to impose preemptive, overly-burdensome, and innovation-killing regulations to stay true to our values. The United States is demonstrating how this model of innovation works.”

“The combined power of the U.S., Europe, and our allies to drive technological leadership means our core values will continue to underpin the development and application of emerging technologies,” he said. “Our future depends upon America and Europe working together to embrace innovation and defend our free system against our adversaries that seek to undermine our shared values.”

That close degree of cooperation is vital, he said, to defend against the threat of Chinese domination of advanced technologies on the global stage. Kratsios cited China’s alleged long history of intellectual property theft, among other trade abuses, and argued that “the Chinese government has built an advanced authoritarian state by twisting technology to put censorship over free expression and citizen control over empowerment.”

“Emerging technologies like 5G and artificial intelligence will underpin everything from our communications systems to our militaries,” he said. “We fundamentally believe that innovation will uplift and empower all people. But if we don’t act now, Chinese influence and control of technology will not only undermine the freedoms of their own citizens, but all citizens of the world.”

“The American government is taking a stand — and we cannot do this without Europe and our allies around the world. We may not see eye to eye on every aspect of technology policy, but we all agree on the principles that matter most. So if we want to safeguard our freedom, we must work together,” Kratsios said.

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