US Pressure To Pick Sides Leads to a Dangerous Road of No Return

At the end of the year, taking stock of the artificial intelligence industry highlights the worries over the bizarre and farcical power struggle at OpenAI, superintelligence singularity and the destruction of civilization. The spreading impact of AI ethics and risk management has already become a priority for emerging AI industries across the globe. Although robust governance structures and risk management regulations are the cornerstone of industrial development, they are seemingly ineffective in the face of geopolitics.

According to media reports, the U.S. is planning to step up its blockade of China’s high-tech industries. In January, U.S. officials will travel to Taiwan to guide workers at the Hsinchu Science Park in “ethical principles” and “high-tech industry standards.” Although Taiwan’s AI industry is still in its infancy, the industrial chain is being upgraded. Using political power to force Taiwanese factories to choose sides will not only severely damage the natural ecology of the market, but also skew and damage global supply chains.

This move by the Biden administration not only ruins the natural evolutionary process of the global AI industry, but also distorts the self-organizing system and distributed heterogeneous symbiosis of AI technology within the distributed network configuration of Web 3.0. It also affects the development of the flow of talent, money and innovation and the overall industrial chain. It suppresses innovation and entrepreneurship and kills advancement in the industry.

While international alliances are interest-oriented, they are ever-changing. When the U.S. and its allies use political force to intervene in industrial development, AI ethical norms and risk management will become unreachable, and the sustainable development of the industry will be drawn into question. When management mechanisms vary from place to place and person to person, the factors of standardization, modularity, digitization and digital convergence of AI technologies such as AI-generated content will be broken up into pieces, and the linking of global industrial chains with innovation capacity will be affected. Future development will have a high degree of uncertainty and risk.

From a macro-systems perspective, within a highly polarized and segmented industrial and market environment, the scale of industry and capability for diversification will be restricted. Competition between segments will inevitably affect the ecological development of the industrial chain — from symbiotic and evolutionary to competitive and predatory. This will influence the advancement of human civilization.

From the perspective of industry chain development, since the 1980s, American high-tech industries began prioritizing soft tech over hard tech to vertically distribute labor and deindustrialize. What kind of resources and market capabilities or conditions can the U.S. and its allies offer Taiwanese businesses in exchange for the losses they suffer due to geopolitical manipulation? Once Taiwan, relying on the U.S., again becomes a high-tech colony, the amount of risk Taiwanese businesses will have to bear is hard to estimate.

After half a century of globalization and ideological brainwashing, isn’t it ironic to come back full circle? Excessive polarization will inevitably create confrontation and hatred. Under the U.S.-led anti-China policies and limitless geopolitics, how much room for autonomy does Taiwan still have? Regardless of the people’s interests and industrial development, the Tsai Ing-wen administration is bent on slanting in favor of the U.S. and leading Taiwanese businesses down a road of no return, filled with high risk and uncertainty.

Artificial nonmarket manipulation and an excessively regulated, closed environment are not conducive to AI industry development. Resilient governance, mechanisms for a liberalized market and open and optimized environments for innovation are key. AI business models, such as intelligent agents, platform externalization and overall innovation, are necessary conditions for Taiwan’s industrial survival.

Within the anti-China alliance led by the U.S., carrot-and-stick measures are used to set economic and trade regulations that prevent technology from flowing to Mainland China. For Taiwanese businesses, instead of blindly pursuing technological leadership with this alliance, it would be better to shift perspectives; an institutional approach is another kind of path to innovation. The international situation changes quickly, and choosing sides between the balance of politics and interests is normal. However, industrial development and corporate profit is the ultimate path.

Although Taiwan is in the midst of an election, politics is momentary; industry must be addressed with a sustainable mindset. Those aiming for office must be wise and lower the risk created by geopolitics. For industry overall, in the face of uncertainty caused by AI technology and geopolitics, ethical norms and a regulatory framework must be established so we “look before we leap.” The key strategy is determining how to achieve economic balance and sustainable development. Have the Ministry of Digital Affairs and the presidential candidates all thought of this?

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