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Global Politics of AI

An interdisciplinary project that contributes cutting-edge research on the geopolitics of AI and the implications of AI development and deployment on international political systems.

The Global Politics of AI Project is co-chaired by Dr Kerry McInerney and Haydn Belfield, and it sits in both the AI:FAR and the AI:Narratives and Justice programmes,

It is an interdisciplinary project that provides cutting-edge research on the geopolitics of AI and the implications of AI development and deployment on international political systems. It aims to bring together researchers and key stakeholders from diplomacy, journalism and civil society to defuse harmful language around international AI competition and promote ethical AI development through cross-cultural collaboration.

It also aims to demonstrate how current geopolitical AI relations are shaped and implicated by previous histories of colonialism and political violence. It brings together scholars from both LCFI and CSER with an interest in the geopolitical relations that shape the development, design and deployment of AI. It is also part of the Stiftung Mercator funded Desirable Digitalisation: AI for Just and Sustainable Futures project.  

The Global Politics of AI project has three main areas of enquiry: 

Global AI Ethics

This research stream examines how AI ethics is necessarily a global project, and asks questions such as: What barriers currently exist in relation to international and cross-cultural development, and how can these challenges be overcome? What can previous examples of geopolitical conflict or cooperation in relation to new and emerging technologies teach us about the global politics of AI? How is the rhetoric of the ‘AI arms race’ shaping both diplomatic relations and AI development/deployment? What kinds of international agreements, and of what form, will be needed to address the global impacts and risks of transformative AI advances? What is needed to enshrine safe development, diffuse competitive dynamics, and ensure benefits are distributed globally? What does academic exchange and collaboration in a geopolitically fraught technological context look like? What role does it have to play? 

Data Colonialism and (Neo)Colonial AI 

This research stream explores how AI is shaped by historical colonial forces and continues to shape the neocolonial dynamics of our present world. It asks, how can critical approaches to geopolitics (such as feminist approaches, postcolonialism and critical race theory) help us better understand contemporary AI geopolitics? How does the tech industry relate to or reproduce historical colonial relations, especially in relation to labour, resource extraction, and environmental degradation? How are natural language processing techniques and technologies drawing on historical relations of colonialism and imperialism with regards to language? How can these technologies challenge those relations? 

AI Nationalism, Migration, and Border Control

The final research stream examines how AI moves across borders. It asks: How do AI tools used for political and carceral ends - such as surveillance technologies - refract and move across borders? How do AI technologies such as border control tools reinvent older nationalist projects? How do the politics of diaspora and the movement of peoples and things across borders affect the AI industry? 


Check the Centre's Events page for upcoming events in the global politics of AI project.


AI Now Report, China-US AI arms race
AI Nationalism

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