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The geographical concentration of the technology could aggravate international rivalries. Artificial intelligence has the potential to deepen divides both within and between countries, as a result of the distribution of related benefits and know-how. According to a report published by PwC, North America and China are likely to be home to 70% of the global economic impact of AI, with other developed countries in Europe and Asia capturing much of the rest (North America is expected to see as much as a 14% GDP boost from AI by the year 2030, while China is expected to see a GDP boost of as much as 26% by that point). This situation risks spawning both a competitive race between countries for AI dominance, and the widening of a knowledge gap that will leave much of the rest of the world even further behind. AI competition entails not only battles over talent and computing infrastructure, but also over access to - and control of - data. The ability of data to flow across borders means that early movers in AI can gain global influence that may make it difficult for initiatives elsewhere to catch up. A second geopolitical concern related to AI concerns the role the technology can play - both unintentionally and intentionally - in exacerbating political divisions and polarizing societies. There is a growing awareness of the ways social media can contribute to polarization, and AI-driven recommendation algorithms play a significant role. In addition to potentially keeping users trapped in bubbles of content that match their own worldview, thereby limiting access to other perspectives and possibly hardening misperceptions, these systems can have the often-unanticipated effect of actively pushing users towards more extreme content.. For example, YouTube has drawn a significant amount of criticism for the ways in which the video streaming service’s recommendation algorithm can nudge users in the direction of extremist political and views and conspiracy theories based on their browsing behaviour. AI is also frequently being intentionally used to manipulate and polarize viewpoints, most notably through the creation of “deepfake” video and audio content designed to deceive the public and denigrate public figures (experts fear that an ability to fake large-scale historical events could one day irreparably damage the public’s trust in what it sees).

The Geopolitical Impacts of AI

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Artificial Intelligence (AI)