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Against the new space race: global AI competition and cooperation for people

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This Open Forum contribution critically interrogates the use of space race rhetoric in current discussions about artificial intelligence (AI). According to this rhetoric, similar to the space race of the twentieth century, AI development is portrayed as a rivalry among superpowers where one country will win and reap major benefits, while others will be left behind. Using this rhetoric to frame AI development tends to prioritize narrow and short-term economic interests over broader and longer-term societal needs. Three particularly problematic aspects of using space race narrative in AI discussions are highlighted: first, perceiving technology development globally as a zero-sum game; second, pressuring governments to regulate less; and third, prioritising high technologies over social issues. This contribution invites to challenge underlying political assumptions of the AI space race discourse and to open up conversations about alternative futures.

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This research has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under the Grant Agreement no. 945539 (HBP SGA3).

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Correspondence to Inga Ulnicane.

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Ulnicane, I. Against the new space race: global AI competition and cooperation for people. AI & Soc 38, 681–683 (2023).

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