U.S., Russian Companies Discuss Artificial Intelligence in Moscow

U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman moderated a discussion this week between Russian and American companies on the future of artificial intelligence (AI) and payment systems, U.S. Embassy in Moscow spokesperson Andrea Kalan said on Wednesday.

“Ambassador Huntsman hosted a discussion between U.S. and Russian companies on the future of AI and payment systems as part of the U.S. Commercial Service Russia’s Trade Talks series,” Kalan said.

The U.S. Commercial Service is a Federal agency housed under U.S. Department of Commerce which assists American companies in selling their products globally.

According to estimates by consultancy PwC, by 2030 artificial intelligence products and systems will contribute up to $15.7 trillion to the global economy, with China and the United States likely the two leading nations. But it is the potential military consequences that have governments most worried, fearful of falling behind – but also nervous that untested technology could bring new dangers.

Russia – which last year announced it was doubling AI investment – said in February it would publish a new AI national strategy “roadmap” by mid-2019. Russian officials say they see AI as a key to dominating cyberspace and information operations, with suspected Russian online “troll farms” thought to already be using automated social media feeds to push disinformation.

The Russian government’s move follows a similar project by the U.S. administration. This month, President Trump issued an executive order titled “Maintaining American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence.” It’s a directive that he says “will affect the missions of nearly all executive departments and agencies,” and he didn’t mince words on the significance of this quest.

“Continued American leadership in AI is of paramount importance to maintaining the economic and national security of the United States,” the executive order reads.

Beijing is seen as even further ahead in developing AI, to the extent some experts believe it may already be beating the United States.