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Whose AI Revolution?

Following rapid, profound advances in artificial intelligence, governments around the world are considering how best to regulate the sector, and divergent approaches are already emerging. In the absence of a single universal model, governance of this world-changing technology is sure to be contested.

NEW YORK – In November, the United Kingdom will host a high-profile international summit on the governance of artificial intelligence. With the agenda and list of invitees still being finalized, the biggest decision facing UK officials is whether to invite China or host a more exclusive gathering for the G7 and other countries that want to safeguard liberal democracy as the foundation for a digital society.

The tradeoff is obvious. Any global approach to AI governance that excludes China is likely to have only a limited impact; but China’s presence would inevitably change the agenda. No longer would the summit be able to address the problem of AI being used by governments for domestic surveillance – or any other controversial issue that is of concern to democratic governments.

Whatever the agenda, the summit is a prudent response to rapid and dramatic advances in AI that present both unprecedented opportunities and challenges for governments. World leaders are eager not to miss out on a technological revolution that could – ideally – help them expand their economies and address global challenges.