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White House. Statement from NSC Spokesperson Adrienne Watson on the U.S.-PRC Talks on AI Risk and Safety

The U.S. and PRC officials, led by Tarun Chhabra and Seth Center, convened in Geneva to discuss AI risk and safety, following a summit between Presidents Biden and Xi Jinping. Both sides exchanged perspectives on AI safety and misuse, emphasizing the importance of global consensus and open communication to responsibly manage competition.

    Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Technology and National Security Tarun Chhabra and Department of State Acting Special Envoy for Critical and Emerging Technology Seth Center led an interagency U.S. delegation with officials from the White House, the Department of State, and the Department of Commerce to meet with a PRC delegation including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Science and Technology, National Development and Reform Commission, Cyberspace Administration of China, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, and the Chinese Communist Party Office of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission on May 14 in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss artificial intelligence (AI) risk and safety.  This meeting followed the Woodside summit between President Biden and President Xi Jinping in November 2023, where both leaders affirmed the need to convene U.S. and PRC government experts to address the risks associated with advanced AI systems. 

    In a candid and constructive discussion, the United States and PRC exchanged perspectives on their respective approaches to AI safety and risk management.  The United States reiterated the importance of harnessing the benefits of AI for sustainable development, for developing and developed countries alike.  The United States underscored the importance of ensuring AI systems are safe, secure, and trustworthy in order to realize these benefits of AI, and of continuing to build global consensus on that basis.  The United States also raised concerns over the misuse of AI, including by the PRC. 

    The United States affirmed the need to maintain open lines of communication on AI risk and safety as an important part of responsibly managing competition. 

    May 16 2024 White House Washington. DC

    Critics: Navigating Diplomatic Minefields: Assessing the U.S.-PRC Talks on AI Risk and Safety
    The recent U.S.-PRC Talks on AI Risk and Safety, involving Chinese government officials, sparks concerns over integrity and efficacy. Engaging with a regime known for its totalitarian tendencies raises questions about the genuineness of discussions on such crucial technological issues. The inclusion of the Chinese Communist Party in these talks introduces a significant conflict of interest, potentially compromising broader goals of international safety and transparency in AI development. Dialogue labeled as “candid and constructive” with a regime lacking transparency and plagued by human rights abuses is troubling, raising doubts about the sincerity of the engagement. Moreover, engaging without robust mechanisms for accountability risks legitimizing oppressive practices. If genuine concerns about AI misuse exist, diplomatic efforts should prioritize accountability over diplomatic niceties. In essence, while dialogue is crucial, it must be approached with caution, ensuring adherence to international norms and transparency principles.

    Sources: Midtown Tribune newsWH.gov

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