US and China could fight in ‘all-out AI conflict’, ex-secretary of state warns

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Fears are growing that US and Chinese relations could escalate into an all-out AI conflict.

Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger suggested peaceful relations between the two superpowers could only continue if policies were carried out to restrain China's dominance in the tech sector.

The renowned former politician told German newspaper Die Welt: "The US needs to maintain a high level of performance in AI.

"While both sides may have the theoretical capability of winning, neither side chooses to exercise it – they should limit it by some kind of understanding.

"Strive for it, because the alternative of an all-out conflict strains the imagination.

"The United States must always have an adequate defense. But in the hi-tech world, it must also work for coexistence."

Relations between China and the United States were thought to be their lowest in decades towards the end of Donald Trump's term as president.

Mr Kissinger said he thinks new President Joe Biden's administration is trying to maintain the relationship but he thinks US public opinion has become convinced that China is "an inherent enemy".

He added that many people favour some form of confrontation.

Mr Kissinger, who turns 98 in May, said he is still learning about artificial intelligence, saying the technology "is fascinating not only economically, but also philosophically, because it will change the nature of human thinking about reality, which will affect all of us".

On Thursday, Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi called for greater cooperation between the two countries after the change in administration.

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But he also said that China would not accept it if "anyone challenges the Chinese Communist Party or China's political system and leadership".

Mr Kissinger was Secretary of State under former presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford from 1973 to 1977.

He is credited with helping to pave the way to formal diplomatic relations between China and the US, which did not begin officially until 1979.

He added: "I am not in favour of a crusade against China. But I am in favour of developing a common strategic understanding so that the situation will not be inflamed further by constant manoeuvring for advantage."

  • China
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • In the News
  • Donald Trump
  • Joe Biden

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