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AI and Allies in the Indo-Pacific: Enhancing Shared Security and Defense

Date & Time

Sep. 14, 2021
10:00am – 11:00am ET


The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI) issued its final report earlier this year. A key recommendation was that despite significant advantages, the United States cannot create AI systems alone. We need to collaborate with allies, especially in the Indo-Pacific region, to improve capabilities and promote interoperability.  ­

Why do these recommendations matter?  How can the U.S. work with allies to implement them?  Why single out AI? 

Selected Quotes

Abraham Denmark

“Unlike in Europe where there is NATO, there is the EU, there is no single institution through which the United States can engage our allies and key partners in the Indo-Pacific. It's based on a model that we established at the end of the second world war in Asia, and that really has been a challenge for the United States to try to encourage multilateral cooperation between our allies and partners as well as with the United States on these quite sensitive issues.” 

“China’s approach to AI is very different from how the United States has approached it. [The United States] has approached it, we have tremendous advantage in the private sector is even mentioned with our universities with our corporations… where China’s strength [in AI] is its ability to devote significant amounts of investment in its military in its defense industries and drive that in a way that’s not driven by market forces but rather by their national interests. It’s a party-centric, state-centric approach to investing in AI both to monitor and control their own population but also to infuse AI into the PLA.” 

“Japan, Australia, Korea, Singapore, India are the ones that come out initially in terms of who to engage and integrate on this. The challenge of course as you all know is that the more people who are cooking, the more difficult and complex it is in terms of overcoming institutional policy and political barriers. So I think we need to be careful about how broad of a coalition to build, at least at first and then potentially create a core group and then expand from there.” 

“I think the United States should broadly take a two track approach. Engaging with China and Russia as Yll described to talk about the escalatory challenges, the stability challenges, the role of human beings in decision-making… The challenge, at least from a China perspective, is that China has been traditionally unwilling and uninterested in having these sorts of discussions. Second track in terms of establishing standards establishing principles like Yll talked about the role of human decision-making etc, with our like-minded countries with our like-minded allies and partners in order to not let the Chinese and Russians get in our way of establishing these structures.”

Yll Bajraktari

"People matter. Not only about AI [Artificial Intelligence] but anytime we talk about how we cultivate the domestic pool and how you bring talented immigrants and you create a pathway for them to stay in the United States… you want to bring technologists faster into government so they can help the government officials address these issues."

“Technology requires us to look at new allies and partners. New countries are at the forefront of this technology, so we have argued that we need to have a technology alliance with India in Asia Pacific. We have argued that Israel and the research environment that Israel cultivates needs to be elevated to a different dialogue with the United States… There’s a new EU-United States technology and trade dialogue that's been launched.” 

“AI [Artificial Intelligence] is not a single thing. We tend to look at the AI stack which is a combination of hardware, data, algorithms, applications, talent and the ability to integrate across all these five areas. So when we compare or we assess how we and China compare we look at their capabilities across these six components and our capabilities and we came to the conclusion that we believe that the United States has advantage in three of these six areas.”

“We have argued that you need a new type of coalition, you got to build around technology… you need to establish an emerging tech coalition and whether or not this is a gathering of 12 or 15 countries, I know everybody has an opinion of which country should be there, but I think this should be a new coalition of countries… I think there are like seven areas that this coalition should sit down and talk from how we set up standards, how we do data sharing, to how do we invest together in R&D, and how we do people exchanges.”

“Three big bold ideas: bringing technologies faster into the government, creating new talent by the digital academy, and lastly managing the town that exists inside the government.”

Hosted By

Science and Technology Innovation Program

The Science and Technology Innovation Program (STIP) serves as the bridge between technologists, policymakers, industry, and global stakeholders.  Read more

Indo-Pacific Program

The Indo-Pacific Program promotes policy debate and intellectual discussions on US interests in the Asia-Pacific as well as political, economic, security, and social issues relating to the world’s most populous and economically dynamic region.   Read more

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