Emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence, are the future. It’s becoming clear that our world will be shaped by the norms and standards of use for emerging technologies. We now know that even as the first wave of the digital revolution emphasized democracy and human rights, the second wave facilitated the infringement on those rights by authoritarian governments. Thus, it is imperative that democratic nations shape the way new technologies like artificial intelligence are used.
Speaking at a recent National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence event, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that working with partners and allies “will be essential to mitigating risks, from preventing cyber-attacks that target our businesses, to regulating technology that threatens our privacy, to defending our democratic values and way of life.”
“ More than anything else, our task is to put forth and carry out a compelling vision for how to use technology in a way that serves our people, protects our interests and upholds our democratic values. It’s not enough to highlight the horrors of techno-authoritarianism, to point to what countries like China and Russia are doing, and say that it’s wrong and dangerous, even as it is. We’ve also got to make the positive case for our own approach, and then we’ve got to deliver. That is the challenge before us.”
Secretary Blinken outlined six pillars of the State Department’s approach addressing these challenges.
First, we must reduce the national security risks posed by malicious cyber activities and emerging technologies.
Second, we must ensure our leadership in the fierce strategic technology competition by preserving our competitive and comparative advantages.
Third, we must defend an open, secure, reliable, and interoperable Internet, even as it is growing more closed, more insecure, more fractured.
Fourth, we must set technical standards and create norms for emerging technologies.
Fifth, because some of the leading threats to democracies are playing out in cyberspace, we must make technology work for democracy and respect democratic tenets.
And most importantly, we must share information and cooperate fully, because no country can deliver these goals on its own.
“We need the United States, and we need its partners to remain the world’s innovative leaders and standard setters,” said Secretary Blinken, “to ensure that universal rights and democratic values remain at the center of all the innovation that’s to come, and that it delivers real benefits in people’s lives.”