President Joe Biden is coming under fire for a deal he is set to make with Chinese President Xi Jinping that could negatively affect the U.S. military.
The two leaders will reportedly be making an agreement that will limit the use of artificial intelligence in nuclear weapons according to a report in the South China Morning Post which noted Biden and Xi “are poised to pledge a ban on the use of artificial intelligence in autonomous weaponry, such as drones, and in the control and deployment of nuclear warheads.”
The outlet cited “two sources familiar with the matter” who confirmed that the agreement will be part of the meeting at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in San Francisco where the leaders will meet on Wednesday.
“Both countries were signatories of an agreement in the Hague in February endorsing the responsible use of AI in the military, while at a summit in Bletchley Park, UK, earlier in November the nations were among those who agreed to work together to manage the threat posed by the technology,” Business Insider reported. “The US and China have been seeking to integrate AI into their militaries for several years, but concern is growing about its use in autonomous weapons systems that can select and engage their own targets.”
But Biden’s plan to strike the deal with the Chinese leader has sparked concerns from some experts who say this is not the big win for the U.S. he may think it is.
“This is an incredibly poor decision,” Christopher Alexander, the chief analytics officer of Pioneer Development Group, told Fox News Digital.
“To begin with, China lags behind the U.S. in AI capabilities; so the Biden administration just ceded a strategic advantage. Additionally, AI helps reduce stress to improve decision-making, which is crucial in preventing a poor decision to release nuclear weapons,” he explained.
Samuel Mangold-Lenett, a staff editor at The Federalist, wondered if China’s track record is proof enough that the Communist nation cannot be depended on to stick to the agreement.
“It is foolish to believe China will honor any agreement limiting the use of AI in nuclear weapons. Look at the Paris Climate Agreement: despite agreeing to reduce carbon emissions, China continued to be one of the world’s worst polluters. It similarly has no regard for human rights or intellectual property,” he told Fox News Digital.
“Chinese leadership has no regard for agreements that could slow down its quest for destabilizing the world order and displacing the U.S. as hegemon. The U.S. should continue developing AI systems that ensure national security and advance our interests — our enemies will surely do the same,” Mangold-Lenett added.
For others, like Phil Siegel, the agreement is a “necessary” one.
“I predict they will make a deal on AI-driven autonomous weapons on the battlefield should only be for reconnaissance and not fighting; otherwise, the world will become a very dangerous place,” Siegel, who is the founder of the Center for Advanced Preparedness and Threat Response Simulation, told Fox News Digital.
“I think there is more to come, and it is necessary to keep us from devolving to continual war,” he added.
When Secretary of State Antony Blinken was asked last week about the possibility of a meeting between Biden and Xi to discuss AI in nuclear weapons, he was predictably vague.
“I can’t get into the specific issues that they would discuss in any such meeting,” he told reporters. “I can say, as a general principle for us, that when it comes to artificial intelligence, that we believe that artificial intelligence should not be in the loop or making the decisions about how and when a nuclear weapon is used.”
U.S. military voices have previously touted the benefits of AI in weapons systems, which is what the potential agreement on Wednesday will diminish.
“Artificial intelligence is extremely powerful. It’s coming at us. I suspect it will be probably optimized for command and control of military operations within maybe ten to 15 years, max,” former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley told CBS’ “60 Minutes” last month.
“From the standpoint of deterring and defending against aggression, AI-enabled systems can help accelerate the speed of commanders’ decisions and improve the quality and accuracy of those decisions, which can be decisive in deterring a fight and winning in a fight,” expressed Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks last week.
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