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China is Worried an AI Arms Race Could Lead to Accidental War

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Experts and politicians in China are worried that a rush to integrate artificial intelligence into weapons and military equipment could accidentally lead to war between nations.

According to a new report published by US national security think tank Center for a New American Security (CNAS), Chinese officials increasingly see an “arms race” dynamic in AI as a threat to global peace.

As countries scramble to reap the benefits of artificial intelligence in various domains, including the military, the fear is that international norms shaping how countries communicate will become outdated, leading to confusion and potential conflict.

“The specific scenario described to me [by one anonymous Chinese official] is unintentional escalation related to the use of a drone,” Gregory C. Allen, an adjunct senior fellow at CNAS and author of the new report, tells The Verge.

He notes that while Chinese officials he spoke to had a good grasp of contemporary US thinking on issues like autonomous warfare, American officials tend to be less well-briefed about their Chinese counterparts, partly because many Chinese policy documents are never translated into English.

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