In recent years, artificial intelligence (AI) has emerged as a strategic priority for many countries, including Australia, Japan, and the United States. As leading democracies in the Indo-Pacific region, these three countries have shared interests in promoting the development, deployment, and governance of AI technologies that align with their values, interests, and norms. This article explores the opportunities and challenges of AI cooperation between Australia, Japan, and the United States, and suggests some policy recommendations for enhancing their collaboration.
Background: AI Trends and Strategies in Australia, Japan, and the United States.
Australia, Japan, and the United States are all actively pursuing AI innovation and adoption, but with different approaches and priorities. For example, Australia has launched the AI Ethics Framework and the National AI Action Plan to promote responsible AI development and use, while Japan has established the Society 5.0 vision and the Basic Plan on AI to achieve a human-centered society empowered by AI. Meanwhile, the United States has issued the National AI Strategy and the American AI Initiative to maintain its leadership in AI research and development, and to leverage AI for national security and economic competitiveness.
Opportunities: AI Cooperation between Australia, Japan, and the United States.
There are several areas where Australia, Japan, and the United States can benefit from closer AI cooperation:
Research and Development:
By sharing data, expertise, and resources, the three countries can accelerate the pace and scope of AI innovation in various fields, such as healthcare, agriculture, and education. For example, Australia has strengths in natural language processing and computer vision, Japan has strengths in robotics and social implementation, and the United States has strengths in deep learning and cloud computing.
Standards and Norms:
By harmonizing their AI standards and norms, the three countries can reduce the risks of divergent approaches and regulatory barriers that may impede the global diffusion of AI technologies. For example, Australia, Japan, and the United States can collaborate on developing common principles for AI ethics, transparency, and accountability, as well as on sharing best practices for data protection, cybersecurity, and intellectual property.
Governance and Diplomacy:
By coordinating their AI governance and diplomacy, the three countries can shape the international rules and norms of AI in ways that reflect their values, interests, and norms. For example, Australia, Japan, and the United States can work together to promote human rights and democratic values in AI development and deployment, and to counter the authoritarian models of AI governance and export.
The geopolitical tensions and uncertainties in the Indo-Pacific region may affect the willingness and ability of the three countries to cooperate on AI, especially in areas related to national security and strategic competition. For example, the rise of China as a major AI power may compel Australia, Japan, and the United States to adopt a more defensive and competitive posture in their AI strategies and policies.
The coordination and alignment of the three countries’ AI policies and strategies may be difficult to achieve, given their different contexts, priorities, and institutional frameworks. For example, the federal system of the United States may limit its ability to coordinate its AI policies with those of Australia and Japan, which have more centralized systems.
The capacity and readiness of the three countries to engage in AI cooperation may vary, depending on their levels of AI readiness, talent, and investment. For example, Australia and Japan may face challenges in attracting and retaining AI talent and investment, compared to the United States, which has a more established and dynamic AI ecosystem.
To overcome these challenges and realize the potential benefits of AI cooperation between Australia, Japan, and the United States, we suggest the following policy recommendations:
- Establish a Trilateral AI Partnership:
The three countries should establish a formal mechanism for AI cooperation, such as a Trilateral AI Partnership, that promotes regular dialogue, coordination, and collaboration on AI research, development, and governance. This partnership should involve government agencies, research institutions, and industry stakeholders from all three countries, and should focus on priority areas of mutual interest, such as healthcare, cybersecurity, and sustainability.
- Develop a Joint AI Agenda:
The Trilateral AI Partnership should develop a joint AI agenda that sets out common goals, objectives, and timelines for AI cooperation, as well as identifies areas of complementarity and potential conflicts. This agenda should be based on shared values, interests, and norms, and should be transparent, inclusive, and accountable.
- Promote AI Talent Exchange:
The three countries should promote AI talent exchange by providing scholarships, internships, and fellowships for AI researchers, engineers, and entrepreneurs to study, work, and collaborate across borders. This exchange should be based on merit and diversity and should facilitate the transfer of knowledge, skills, and ideas between the three countries.
- Foster AI Ecosystems:
The three countries should foster AI ecosystems that support innovation, entrepreneurship, and investment in AI technologies and startups. This ecosystem should involve a range of actors, such as universities, incubators, accelerators, venture capitalists, and regulators, and should provide a supportive and enabling environment for AI development and deployment.
- Advocate for Open and Human-Centered AI Governance:
The three countries should advocate for open and human-centered AI governance that respects human rights, diversity, and social values, and that promotes innovation and competition. This advocacy should be based on evidence-based and participatory approaches and should engage with other stakeholders, such as civil society organizations, businesses, and international organizations.
AI cooperation between Australia, Japan, and the United States can offer significant opportunities for advancing innovation, growth, and welfare, as well as for shaping the global rules and norms of AI governance. However, such cooperation also faces several challenges, such as geopolitical tensions, coordination difficulties, and capacity gaps. By establishing a Trilateral AI Partnership and implementing the above recommendations, the three countries can overcome these challenges and realize the full potential of AI cooperation.