Reading Time: 6 minutes

Last updated: 17 May 2024

The US-China trade war, a multi-year economic confrontation that began in 2018, was a significant disruption to the global economy. Stemming from long-simmering tensions between the two economic giants, where the US had concerns about China‘s trade practices, such as intellectual property theft, limited market access for US companies, and a large trade deficit. 

These concerns also extend to the fast-growing field of AI, where both countries are investing heavily. The US fears China’s government subsidies and aggressive tactics could give it an unfair advantage in AI development, potentially leading to a dominant position in this critical technology. This growing rivalry sparked an “AI cold war,” with both countries restricting access to cutting-edge research and technology. 

US-China AI Trade War

Let’s delve into how the trade war hampered international collaboration in AI research and development and created uncertainty for businesses that relied on global supply chains for advanced tech components.

The AI Cold War: A New World Race

The emergence of the “AI cold war” characterizes a growing standoff between the United States and China. Unlike historical Cold War dynamics revolving around nuclear arms and ideology, this conflict centers on artificial intelligence (AI) technology. It describes a new Cold War paradigm, potentially carrying seismic global trade implications and disruptions.

The trajectory of the AI evolution hinges on the resolution of this East-West rivalry. Will the US and China navigate toward collaboration, ensuring the ethical advancement of AI, or will the world witness a new age of geopolitical contention propelled by artificial intelligence?