AI and data-driven algorithms have become major geopolitical battlegrounds, with the United States and China both keen to maintain a stiff upper-hand. In the last two years, China has exported an intrusive AI and data governance model that includes state control of all information, draconian surveillance, and data localization. The country is actively proselytizing its model to other trading partners in Asia, such as the U.S., through its Belt and Road Initiative.
A bipartisan approach is essential to ensuring a level playing field in the technology race, and the U.S. and EU should be no exception. As China’s technological ambitions increase, it could potentially push the U.S. and EU closer together. But a bipartisan approach is not the only way to deal with the challenge of artificial intelligence and data collection. The two sides have already thrown up disagreements over data transfer and taxing digital giants. While the Biden administration grapples with economic recession and the coronavirus pandemic, the EU has been pushing its agenda to secure greater influence in the digital world.
A transatlantic approach to AI is needed to protect the US and EU interests. The EU has a strong reputation for human welfare and wants to foster a culture of tolerance. Transatlantic cooperation on AI will also benefit both the U.S. and EU economies. It is necessary in this age of great power competition to take the lead on these issues and avoid confrontation. In the meantime, transatlantic cooperation can help tip the scales against authoritarian governments and repressive regimes.