Yang & Buttigieg Assert Future of AI as Central to American Influence

A venturebeat.com analysis of the second debate outlines the worries of Democratic Presidential primary candidates about China’s AI focus.

“Tech investor Andrew Yang said his first call as president would be to China, to work together on issues like AI,” the story pointed out.

Yang is the only candidate who has a plan for supporting workers displaced by automation, which he’s warned will be the most disruptive event in the near future. He has spoken at length about the issue to newspapers, like the Seattle Times. A nextweb.com story lists all of the candidates’ tweets about AI⏤Yang has the most, by far, at 70. Most have a grand total of zero.

Elizabeth Warren said Google, Amazon and Facebook, which all have AI divisions, should be broken up because they have an outsized impact on the public and too much government influence. She didn’t directly talk about AI, however.

Pete Buttigieg

Pete Buttigieg, the Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, said Chinese AI investments were a more important issue impacting the United States than a trade imbalance that prompted President Trump to implement tariffs.

“China is investing so that they could soon be able to run circles around us in artificial intelligence, and this president is fixated on the relationship as if all that mattered was the balance on dishwashers,” Buttigieg said.

To compete with China, America needs to be a leader in AI, he said.

“If we really want to be an alternative, a democratic alternative, we actually have to demonstrate that we care about democratic values at home and around the world,” Buttigieg said, noting that China is using technology to cement its dictatorship and repress anyone who disagrees with its governing.

The story conveyed European concerns about the issue, too.

“Outside of the U.S., while China is sometimes seen as dystopian because of its social credit score and use of facial recognition to track people like its Uighur Muslim minority, the European AI community is talking about the creation of a third way to incorporate AI into business and society. EU experts said this week AI consistent with EU democratic values means no mass surveillance or social credit score.”

Writer Khari Johnson points out that AI will reflect the goals of whichever country leads in the coming century.

“Like Cold War debates over democracy and communism, U.S. leadership in AI will depend on more than economic influence or military might, but also on adherence to our own values,” Johnson writes. “They’re often talked about separately, but in this context, all of these issues — the humane treatment of asylum seekers, the future of AI, China’s New Silk Road and growing influence — are connected.”

read more at venturebeat.com