A Beginner’s Guide to Global Artificial Intelligence Policy



Welcome to Neural’s beginner’s guide to AI. This long series should provide you with a very basic understanding of what AI is, what it can do, and how it works.

In addition to the article you are reading, the guide contains articles on (in order of publication) neural networks, computer vision, natural language processing, algorithms, general artificial intelligence, the difference between video game AI and real AI, the difference between human intelligence and artificial intelligence, and ethics.

In this edition of the guide, we’ll take a look at global AI politics.

The United States, China, Russia and Europe each approach the development and regulation of artificial intelligence differently. In the years to come, it will be important for everyone to understand what these differences can mean for our security and privacy.


Artificial intelligence has traditionally been swept aside by other technologies in policy and regulation.

It worked well in the days when algorithm-based technology was mainly used for processing data and calculating numbers. But the explosion of deep learning which started around 2014 changed everything.

In the years that followed, we have seen the creation and mass adoption of privacy-shattering technologies, such as virtual assistants, facial recognition, and online trackers.

Just a decade ago, our biggest privacy concerns as citizens involved worrying about the government stalking us through our cell phone signals or spying on our e-mails. mails.

Today, we know that AI trackers follow our every move online. Cameras record everything we do in public, even in our own neighborhoods, and there was at least 40 million smart speakers sold in the fourth quarter of 2020 only.


Regulators and government entities around the world are trying to catch up with technology and implement policies that make sense for their particular type of governance.

In the United States, there are little regulation. In fact, the US government is heavily invested in many AI technologies that the global community sees as problematic. It develops Lethal Autonomous Weapons (LAWS), its policies allow law enforcement officers to use facial recognition and internet crawlers unattended, and there are no rules or laws prohibiting ‘snake oil’ predictive AI services.

In Russia, official policy is to democratize AI research by pooling data. A glimpse of the nation first AI policy The project says Russia plans to develop tools that allow its citizens to control and anonymize their own data.

However, the Russian government has also been linked with adversarial AI operations targeting governments and civilians around the world. It is difficult to discern what rules the Russian private sector will face when it comes to privacy and AI.

And, to our knowledge, there is no declassified data on Russia’s military policies regarding the use of AI. The best we can do is to speculate on the basis of previous reports and statements by the current leader of the country, Vladimir Putin.

Putin, talk to russian students in 2017, declared “whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world”.

China, on the other hand, has been relatively transparent about its AI programs. In 2017, China released the first strong AI policy plan incorporating modern deep learning technologies and planned future machine learning technology.

The PRC intends to be the world leader in AI technology by 2030. Its agenda to achieve this goal includes massive investments from the private sector, academia and government.

U.S. military leaders believe China’s military AI policies are aimed at developing LAWS that don’t require a human in the loop.

The European view of AI policy is a little different. Where the United States, China and Russia appear to be focused on the global competitive military and financial aspects of AI, the EU defines and develops policies that put the privacy and security of citizens first.

In this regard, the EU is currently seeking to limit facial recognition and other data collection technologies and to ensure that citizens are explicitly informed when a product or service registers their information.

The future

Predicting the future of AI politics is a tricky question. Not only do we need to consider how each nation currently approaches development and regulation, but we need to try to imagine how AI technology itself will advance in each country.

Let’s start with the EU:

  1. Some connoisseurs I think the human-centered approach to AI politics that Europe is taking is the example the rest of the world should follow. When it comes to AI technology, privacy is analogous to security.
  2. But others experts fear the EU leaves itself widely open to exploitation by adversaries without worrying about obeying its regulations.

In Russia, of course, things are different:

  1. Russia’s goal of becoming a world leader in AI does not go through big tech or universities, but through the advances in military technology – arguably the only relevant area in which it is competitive on a global scale.
  2. The iron fist rule stifles private sector development, so it would make sense for Russia to keep in place extremely lax privacy laws regarding how the private sector treats the general public. And there is no reason to believe that the Russian government will affect official policy protecting the privacy of citizens.

When moving to China, the future is a little easier to predict:

  1. China relies on surveillance. Every aspect of Chinese life, for citizens, is affected by intrusive AI systems, including a social credit rating system, ubiquitous facial and emotional recognition, and full digital surveillance.
  2. There is little reason to believe that China will change its privacy laws, stop engaging in Government sponsored AI IP theft, or cease its declared production of LAWs technology.

And that brings us to the United States:

  1. Due to a lack of clear policy, the US sits somewhere between China and Russia when it comes to unilateral regulation of AI. Unless the long-threatened big technological breakthrough happens, we can assume that Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft will continue to dictate US policy. with their wallets.
  2. AI regulation is a completely partisan question being managed by a US Congress that is divided. Until partisanship wears off somewhat, we can expect U.S. AI policy beyond the private sector to begin and end with lobbyists and the defense budget.

Ultimately, it is impossible to make solid predictions as politicians around the world are still generally ignorant of the reality of modern AI and the most likely scenarios for the future.

Technology policy is often a reactionary discipline: countries tend to regulate things only after they have proven to be problematic. And we don’t know what major events or breakthroughs could bring about a drastic change in policy for any given nation.

In 2021, the field of artificial intelligence is at an inflection point. We are between eurekas, waiting for autonomy to mature, and hope that our world leaders can reach a secure agreement regarding LAWS and international regulations on confidentiality.


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