Four Corners: June 15

Monday’s Four Corners story “In the Age of AI” is a PBS Frontline production on China emerging as an AI superpower.

“Artificial Intelligence can be used in many ways that are very beneficial for society. But the current use of AI isn’t necessarily aligned with the goals of building a better society.” Prof of Computer Science

AI, or Artificial Intelligence, will be one of the defining developments of the 21st century. The ability of machines to ‘think’ at a speed and depth far beyond the capacity of any human is unleashing incredible possibilities.

“There are some people in Silicon Valley who believe that you just have to trust the technology…There’s another argument, which is what I think most of them believe deep down, which is, this is different.” Technology specialist

Along with the potential benefits, there is also the capacity for harm. In this thought provoking Four Corners, many of the world’s leading thinkers on AI explain the risks that comes with this powerful tool.

“AI is a technology that can be used for good and for evil…That I think is also a tricky issue for every country.” Former head of Google China

China is emerging as an AI superpower, staking its reputation on catching up then overtaking America for AI supremacy within the decade.

“The more data, the better the AI works. So, in the age of AI, where data is the new oil, China is the new Saudi Arabia.” AI scientist

The competition between the two nations has technologists worried that this is opening up another potential tech war.

“One of the things I worry about the most is that the world is going to split in two… and that there will be a Chinese tech sector and there will be an American tech sector…It’ll be kind of like the Cold War.” Technology specialist

Critics say the Chinese Communist Party is using AI as an instrument of authoritarian control.

“It’s very powerful, Orwellian-like, and it’s extremely troublesome in terms of civil liberty.” Research scientist

Outside of China, even long-term backers of the tech industry say the rise of the global tech giants is a threat to us all.

“Private corporations have built a corporate surveillance state without our awareness or permission and the systems necessary to make it work are getting a lot better.” Silicon Valley investor

Monday 15th of June at 8.30pm on ABC.

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