- China’s President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden will meet this week.
- They’re expected to agree to limit the use of AI in nuclear weapons, a report said.
- The meeting comes amid increasing tensions between the US and China.
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US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping are set to sign a deal limiting the use of artificial intelligence in nuclear weapon control systems, according to The South China Morning Post.
The leaders are due to meet Wednesday at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in San Francisco against a backdrop of increasing tensions between the superpowers.
Among the top items on the agenda is the proliferation of AI in military technologies, two sources familiar with the planned discussions told The South China Morning Post.
Biden and Xi will pledge a deal limiting the use of AI in autonomous weaponry, such as drones, as well as the systems used for the control and deployment of nuclear warheads, the report said.
In recent months tensions between the US and China have increased, with the US military closing down communications with the Chinese military after a spy balloon was shot down off the US coast in February.
The powers have also taken opposing sides in the Ukraine conflict, with Xi providing economic and diplomatic support to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the US providing military aid to Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
In the war between Israel and Hamas, Beijing has criticized Israel’s military campaign in Gaza while the White House has backed it.
But at the meeting Wednesday, Biden and Xi are expected to attempt to reduce tensions, with AI use in weapons among the issues where they have common ground.
Both countries were signatories of an agreement in the Hague in February endorsing the responsible use of AI in the military, while at a summit in Bletchley Park, UK, earlier in November the nations were among those who agreed to work together to manage the threat posed by the technology.
The US and China have been seeking to integrate AI into their militaries for several years, but concern is growing about its use in autonomous weapons systems that can select and engage their own targets.
Oriana Skylar Mastro, affiliated with Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, told the SCMP that currently nuclear weapons systems are controlled by humans, “but there is a discussion about automating, having machines that can automate parts of these processes.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken was asked last week about prospects the US and China could come to some understanding about keeping AI in nuclear weapons.
“I can’t get into the specific issues that they would discuss in any such meeting,” he told reporters during a visit to Japan.
“I can say, as a general principle for us, that when it comes to artificial intelligence, that we believe that artificial intelligence should not be in the loop or making the decisions about how and when a nuclear weapon is used,” he added.