As nationalism divides nations and limits international collaboration, is the future of AI in danger?
Artificial intelligence has made tremendous progress in recent years, and much of this progress can be attributed to the open-source software movement. By fostering collaboration and sharing knowledge and resources among developers worldwide, the open-source movement has helped bring together AI experts and technologies from countries all over the globe.
However, despite the benefits of this global collaboration, we are currently seeing a rise in nationalism that may impact the open-source community and negatively influence the development of AI. As countries become more inward-looking and prioritize their own interests, they may be less inclined to collaborate with other nations on AI research and development.
In this article, I will explore the relationship between open-source communities and the development of AI, and how the rise in nationalism may impact this relationship. We will also consider the potential consequences of a breakdown in global AI collaboration and the future of the field.
Open source is the driving factor behind AI
By fostering collaboration and sharing knowledge and resources among developers worldwide, the open-source movement has helped bring together AI experts and technologies from countries all over the globe.
The open-source community has played a significant role in the development of AI in the last decade. The open-source model allows anyone to access, modify, and distribute the source code of software or technology, enabling a more collaborative and inclusive approach to innovation. This has helped to accelerate the development of AI by allowing researchers and developers from around the world to contribute to and build upon each other’s work.
For example, many of the most widely used AI frameworks, such as TensorFlow and PyTorch, are open-source and have been developed and maintained by a global community of contributors. The open-source model has also made it easier for researchers to access and experiment with different tools and technologies, which has helped to drive the rapid advancement of AI in recent years.
There has been a significant increase in tension and friction between China and the United States during these years, with both countries taking a more confrontational stance towards each other on a range of issues. One major area of conflict has been trade, with both countries imposing tariffs and other barriers on each other’s imports.
The countries have significant differences in areas such as technology, human rights, and foreign policy, with both sides accusing the other of unfair practices and interference in their internal affairs.
The rising tension between China and the United States has had a number of consequences, including economic disruptions, diplomatic disputes, and increased competition for global influence. This has led to concerns about the potential for further escalation and the impact it could have on the global economy and international relations.
Trade wars, or conflicts between nations over the terms of international trade, can have significant impacts on the development and deployment of technologies, including AI. These conflicts can lead to tariffs, restrictions, and other barriers that make it more difficult for businesses and researchers to access the resources and markets they need to innovate and develop new technologies.
The ongoing trade war between the United States and China has had a number of consequences for the tech industry, including increased costs for businesses that import and export technology products, delays in the supply chain, and reduced access to research and development resources. These factors can all contribute to slower progress in the development of new technologies, including AI, and can limit their potential to benefit society. The current microchip trade war is just an example of how both nations collide (Forbes, 2022)
Despite the benefits of this global collaboration, we are currently seeing a rise in nationalism that may impact the open-source community and negatively influence the development of AI. As countries become more inward-looking and prioritize their own interests, they may be less inclined to collaborate with other nations on AI research and development.
This trend towards nationalism is particularly prevalent in China and the United States, which are both fighting for dominance in the field of AI and the latest technologies. These two countries have long had a contentious relationship, and recent national security crackdowns and increased tensions have raised concerns about the future of global AI collaboration.
The consequences of a breakdown in global AI collaboration could be significant. For one, it could lead to a reduction in the pace of progress in the field. Collaboration has always been a key driver of innovation, and if countries become less willing to work together, it could slow down the development of new technologies and techniques.
Another potential consequence is an increase in the duplication of research and development efforts. If countries are less willing to share their knowledge and resources, it is possible that multiple teams could end up working on the same problems independently, leading to wasted resources and a slower rate of progress.
Furthermore, nationalism may lead to a fragmentation of the global AI community, as countries prioritize their own AI research agendas and become less interested in collaborating with researchers from other nations. This could have serious consequences for the advancement of AI, as it is often through collaboration and the sharing of knowledge and resources that significant progress is made.
It is important to note that nationalism is not the only factor that could impact global AI collaboration. There are also other economic and political forces at play, such as the increasing competition for AI talent and the rise of global AI powerhouses like China and the United States.
AI can improve human well-being and we should not lose it
One of the main benefits of AI is its ability to automate tasks and make our lives easier. AI-powered assistants can help us schedule appointments, make phone calls, and send emails, freeing up our time to focus on other tasks. In the workplace, AI can help to streamline processes and increase efficiency, allowing us to get more done in less time.
Another great benefit is that AI has the potential to improve healthcare and make it more accessible to people around the world. For instance, AI-powered diagnosis and treatment systems can help to improve the accuracy and speed of healthcare decisions, potentially saving lives in the process. AI can also be used to monitor and track the health of individuals, allowing for the early detection and prevention of diseases.
One such technology is the amazing people of AiDx medical, who are combining low-cost machines with AI systems to recognize diseases in blood samples. This process would normally be a laborious task for practitioners, but can now be automated and checked by doctors. They are employing their machines in the emerging market of Nigeria. The country is projected to reach 400 million inhabitants by the year 2050 (The Guardian, 2022). These machines will, in the newly populous country, unburden practitioners from repetitive tasks and allow them to focus on other health issues.
In addition to these practical benefits, the rise of AI can also empower people to achieve their goals and pursue their dreams. For example, AI can help to level the playing field for those who may have been disadvantaged by traditional systems, such as people with disabilities or those living in underserved communities. By providing access to education, resources, and opportunities that may have previously been out of reach, AI can help to create a more equitable society.
Of course, there are also potential negative consequences of AI that need to be carefully considered and addressed. However, I believe that with the right policies and practices in place, the benefits of AI can far outweigh the risks. Ultimately, the rise of AI represents a significant opportunity for all of us to improve our lives and achieve our goals, and it is up to us to seize this opportunity and make the most of it.
Nationalism, or the belief in the supremacy of one’s own nation, can create barriers and divisions that make it more difficult for AI to thrive and be utilized effectively. AI systems and technologies often rely on the sharing and exchange of data, ideas, and resources across national borders.
If nations become more inward-looking and prioritize their own interests above those of the global community, it could lead to a decrease in international collaboration and the free flow of information. This could hinder the development and deployment of AI, as well as limit its potential to benefit humanity. In order for AI to reach its full potential, it is important that there is a willingness to work together and share resources and knowledge on a global scale.
Ultimately, the future of global AI collaboration is uncertain, and it is difficult to predict the exact impact that nationalism will have. However, it is clear that if nationalism does indeed lead to a reduction in global collaboration, it could have serious consequences for the advancement of AI and the benefits it brings to society.
I took much inspiration from this article, which I would recommend you read:
Will nationalism end the golden age of global AI collaboration? was originally published in UX Collective on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.