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China, Russia shun Biden admin’s call for responsible AI in arms race

By CM Chaney · November 2, 2023

In brief…

  • Biden got 30+ countries to pledge responsible military AI use.
  • China and Russia didn't sign on and are advancing AI without limits.
  • Declaration focuses on minimizing bias and overreliance on AI tools.
  • Biden wants to contrast U.S. caution with adversaries' unchecked AI ambitions.
President Biden secured commitments from over 30 nations to use military artificial intelligence responsibly, but major adversaries like China and Russia did not agree to ethical guidelines and are rapidly developing AI capabilities without restrictions.  Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia

President Biden secured commitments from over 30 nations to use artificial intelligence (AI) in the military responsibly, according to a White House announcement on Wednesday. However, major adversaries developing AI for defense like China and Russia did not sign on.

The declaration Biden obtained focuses largely on mitigating bias in military AI systems.

“States should take proactive steps to minimize unintended bias in military AI capabilities,” it says. Signatories pledged to ensure personnel understand the limitations of AI tools to avoid overreliance.

Vice President Kamala Harris announced the AI principles pact at a summit on AI safety near London.

“Military use of AI can and should be ethical, responsible, and enhance international security,” the declaration affirmed.

The move aligns with recent Biden administration actions to limit China’s military AI capabilities. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo noted semiconductor sanctions on China will restrict access to advanced AI technology.

In contrast, China and Russia are actively pioneering military AI with no ethical guidelines. A Chinese AI pilot bested a human fighter pilot in a 90-second simulated dogfight earlier this year. China’s military strategy emphasizes AI-human collaboration in operations.

Russia also plans major AI military expansion.

“Artificial intelligence technologies should provide a qualitative breakthrough in improving the combat characteristics of weapons,” said President Vladimir Putin.

The Biden administration hopes its responsible AI approach will contrast with adversaries’ unchecked development. But China and Russia so far seem uninterested in curbing potential risks. With its new declaration, the White House aims to rally allies to implement military AI cautiously, even if major competitors will not.