Yet this positive framing primarily confirms, conversely put, that today’s ethics and governance are ill-equipped to prevent or sufficiently mitigate the disruptive forces of AI and that those potential forces are clearly of global and historical proportions. However, almost all frameworks analyse the risk of AI in a narrow sense: that is, without developing a link between the dual-use character of the technology and the actual state of social, political, economic, and international affairs.
Those frameworks ignore how AI will most likely reinforce rather than alter the current trajectory of history as indicated above. AI will increasingly make autonomous decisions, but it won’t escape and be completely autonomous from human practices any time soon, and we cannot expect it to become a transcendent, super-beneficial, and human-centric compass directing humanity toward universal equality and dignity. While many of these AI principles were quickly defined, the definition of new governance approaches, which are supposed to implement these principles, will be more difficult given AI’s complex and uncertain risk scenario.
AI will increasingly make autonomous decisions, but it won’t escape and be completely autonomous from human practices any time soon.
Governance is the possibility for collaboration directed by common principles. Collaboration is necessary, as each stakeholder faces different responsibilities and no stakeholder alone can tackle AI risks in their entirety. However, fundamental political and cultural differences especially between the major economic blocs undermine international collaboration. Even so, collaboration and cooperation will become more urgent in the future to effectively address the risks of AI. Those fundamental differences make the looming ethics and governance gap seemingly insurmountable.
Accordingly, the United States is a market foundationalist economy and individualist society following the motif of profit and personal self-fulfilment. The government emphasises AI as an opportunity for research and development, growth, and job creation. Cybersecurity risks are treated as a liability. In contrast, the European Union stresses solidarity and a human rights approach to AI. According to the European Union, AI should be lawful, robust, and ethical. The mitigation of AI risks is a matter of regulation.
In China, harmony and compassion are emphasised as the country’s underlying moral obligations. For the Chinese government, data and AI are a means of ensuring stability and discipline through surveillance and control. While Chinese people largely perceive the digital revolution as an opportunity, Western people tend to emphasise its dangers. While the former has trust in their central government and in how it handles the digital revolution, the latter tend to be sceptical towards their governments.