The immediate Post World War II era was defined by the establishment of multilateral organizations e.g. NATO, the European Union, and the World Trade Organization. These structures were built to propagate democratic ideals and foster international trade as well as suppress the principles of nationalism as witnessed during Hitler’s era
The major drivers of these moves to usher in a Post World War II era defined by collaboration were the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union. These nations are now the biggest threats to the structures they established to encourage global peace as they are now locked in a race for global supremacy. The developing nations are caught in the middle of this sweeping wave of change to the Post World War II Global Order.
The emergence of these new technologies e.g. Artificial Intelligence is a double-edged sword that threatens to widen the gap between the global superpowers and the developing nations while offering unprecedented opportunities to level the playing field between these two divides.
The Collapse of the Post World War II Global Order
Sequel to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, many theories have been put forward regarding how this affects China and their supposed quest for global order domination. The role of China is notable as the country’s siding with Russia makes their interest in influencing world order for their benefit obvious.
China claims it has focused on improving the standards of living by welcoming international opportunities for trade and business. The nation argues that it maintains a range of responses from support for beneficial programs to hostility towards a West-centered approach in some other areas.
In contrast, Russia’s position has been one of victimhood. Following the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia’s growth has been stifled by Western influence in its politics. The Russian picture is characterized by clear defiance of the global order with interest in maintaining the power and influence of its regime.
The status quo that has existed for decades following WWII has been one of liberalism and based on universally accepted rules and norms for international relations and the governance of nations. There are aspects of this current order that China supports, e.g. the concept of the sovereignty of nations. There are also areas that China will need to overcome to create a viable space for growth. China’s rise is seen as further validation for the Chinese model which has heralded success as opposed to the chaotic capitalist systems of the West that have encouraged economic inequality and crisis. Worthy of note is the concept of tianxia, which refers to the possibility of a socialist utopia that will be decentralized without risk of domination or hierarchy. President Xi has expressed this as a community of common destiny with the knowledge of the inspiration that China has to offer to solving global problems.
The leadership of China is awaiting a moment when power shifts will occur and the US will decline as the world’s major influence. A combination of statements from the CCP and academic analysis can create an imagined picture of the Chinese vision of an alternate world order. This will be constituted by a much-weakened US with domination of the economic landscape throughout Asia and the coast of Africa by China.
The malaise of the Post World War II Global Order was further revealed by the emergence of President Donald Trump who had strong nationalist views. However the fragility of the US’ grip on global domination was further worsened by a lack of direction of the United States' foreign policy under his administration. Despite the awareness of the ex-Head of State of the declining influence of the United States in the world, China and Russia’s rise, and his exaggerated claims to “Make America Great Again”; no real strategy ever existed to restore the United States to its former seat at the pinnacle of the world’s superpowers.
The Role of Artificial Intelligence in the New Global Order
The head-to-head nature of the US-China relationship translates into the technology scene. There is an ongoing AI race between the United States and China, which will impact a possible new world order. Despite both countries being tied in this race, China has more competitive advantage for their wealth of data supply and aggressive national policies designed to secure a firm grip at the top of the AI food chain.
Artificial Intelligence and Big Data will redefine political and industrial systems worldwide. The rise of AI will birth a new digital form of expression for the traditional political systems of libertarianism (US), authoritarianism (China) and hybrid systems (Russia).
Chinese entrepreneurial methods are quite unique and may not be considered normal in Silicon Valley. China, whose form of government tends towards authoritarian rule, is most favored by AI-related technologies which provide governments with more effective means to control their populace and still empower wealth creation among their citizens. Kai-Fu Lee asserts in his book that China’s authoritarian style gives them a more strategic advantage to dominate the global AI race as they restricted by the democratic ideals that limit the United States.
Ultimately, if the global order tilts in favor of China, they will become one of, if not the biggest players in the AI field.
Forging a Path in the New Global Order I
The overall story of the AI race is the positive transformative potential of the collaboration of AI and humans. The future belongs to early adopters of the AI economy. The dynamics for attaining economic supremacy over the next century will hinge on the capacity of a nation to train, retrain and retain an AI workforce and build advanced AI infrastructure. The implications of this will reflect in the nations’ abilities to defend themselves against threat and advance their culture.
Unfortunately, some nations, especially those in underdeveloped Africa, Middle East and South Asia face the risk of being left out entirely of this global race. This will widen the divide between them and the more developed nations. Exceptions include: India where the presence of a sophisticated middle class and large tech companies is likely to increase chances of success, the UAE which is one of the first countries globally to have appointed government officials in the field of AI, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which plans to inject $20B in AI by 2030.
Developing countries may be unable to compete at a significant level in this race. Still, they could have a role in establishing the rules for managing data and AI governance which affects all people globally. Already existing international cooperation must be made stronger and more consistent by acknowledging the role of other cultures and societies and avoiding a West-centered approach to problem-solving. Support for international organizations should be emphasized and aggressive liberal intervention in the world should be avoided.
The nations yet to find their feet in the AI race must now begin to focus on strategies that propel them towards an AI-powered future. Stallion AI’s AI Readiness Assessment and Strategy for Organizations in Africa and the Middle East exemplifies such strategy.
Forging a Path in the New Global Order II
It is clear that the global world order is transitioning and AI is at the center of these transitions in the following ways:
· Digital AI Humans - This refers to the use of advanced Computer Generated Imagery (CGI), Natural Language Processing (NLP), Conversational AI systems, Deep Learning and the emerging Metaverse to create Digital AI workers that function more efficiently and faster than their human professional counterparts.
· Intelligent Robots: The automation extends to manual labor where industrial robots are already edging human workers. Consider, for example, the transportation sector where autonomous vehicles and drones are being deployed. In healthcare, surgical robots have been used to carry out procedures while nanobots are gradually entering the discourse.
· Deep Learning advances - Humans still edge it over AI when complex decisions with fuzzy facts are involved. However, this gap is narrower today due to the progress of Deep Learning which has started to outperform humans in cognitive, vision, translation, signal processing, complex system analysis, etc.
These advancements are ushering in an unprecedented level of mass automation which means that many jobs are at risk now. Over half of human jobs will be automated over the next decade. This can be destabilizing for unprepared developing nations. These nations also need to understand the need for economic readiness to deploy initiatives to cushion the effects of mass unemployment e.g. Universal Basic Income - a system where people affected by automation are provided with a minimum unconditional stipend to afford the basic necessities and possibly launch their own businesses.
As part of the strategies designed to usher in the new AI-powered economy, nations should take cognizance of these key pillars as the foundation of a solution to their malaise:
· AI Workforce: Developing a talent pool of AI researchers, AI executors, and AI-literate workers skilled in predictive analytics, robotics and intelligent automation.
· AI Infrastructure: By developing data sharing and algorithm exchange programs and labor mobility.
· AI Social Contract: Ensuring that displaced workers can still find a place in the labor market through retraining and income schemes (UBI) which can, in part, be funded by the more developed nations benefiting the most from the rewards of the AI economy.
Critiques to the solution of developing nations creating their own AI path point to the historical pattern of the developed nations covertly centering themselves in these plans under the guise of foreign aid. Many of the developing countries have huge debt profiles rendering them unable to afford AI adoption programs, much less fund the devastating effects that mass automation might create.
If developing nations are not truly independent of the world’s superpowers, how can they be expected to gain a foothold of their own in the new global world order?
Some people cling to the optimism that the Post World War II Global Order can still be resuscitated. History demonstrates the pivotal roles that influential political figures play in ensuring global peace. There is no evidence to suggest that these figures will not be swayed by the promise of AI to advance selfish interests further.
Therefore, other regions of the world realize their own influence and buy into strategies to leverage AI for their own growth. Pro-active steps must be taken to accelerate the AI transformation in developing countries by conducting nationwide AI Readiness and Strategy reviews. These reviews must be comprehensive enough to assess data, infrastructure and skills and must be oriented towards the establishment of national and organizational AI strategies. These recommendations will serve as the foundation for a thriving AI entrepreneurship ecosystem to unlock growth, attract funding and stimulate the overall national economy.
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