Event Recap

New Atlanticist

Apr 29, 2021

Can the US win the AI race with China?

By Daniel Malloy

The United States is late in joining an “existential” struggle with China for supremacy in artificial intelligence, but leaders from the White House, Congress, and the Pentagon are finally stepping up, say former US deputy secretary of defense Robert O. Work and Oracle CEO Safra Catz.

China Security & Defense

The Atlantic Council hosted a conversation on how the United States can and must reorient itself for a technology competition with near-peer competitors, including what steps should be taken to promote domestic artificial intelligence (AI) innovation and to ensure the US military maintains advantage in AI-enabled conflict. On April 29, 2021, the Council held a dynamic conversation on how the United States can implement the sweeping changes needed at the intersection of national security, innovation, and workforce development to retain its lead in the race for mastery of AI.

The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence’s (NSCAI) Final Report sets an ambitious goal for the United States to be “AI-Ready” by 2025. The Commission argues that the country must think beyond incremental moves and take large, transformational steps forward to compete with a determined and well-resourced China. Panelists delved deep into the report’s recommendations and explored key questions. What position does AI occupy within the broader geopolitical landscape? How is it impacting the nature of great power competition? What cultural and policy adjustments are needed in the Department of Defense to maintain the competitive advantage of the armed forces? How can the United States government support and promote AI innovation?

The GeoTech Center presented this live, online conversation as part of the #ACFrontPage event series, the Atlantic Council’s premier ideas platform spotlighting global leaders who are championing constructive solutions to global challenges.

Be sure to engage the Atlantic Council on Twitter using the hashtag #ACFrontPage and following @AtlanticCouncil.

An #ACFrontPage Event

Atlantic Council Front Page is our premier live ideas platform for global leaders to discuss the defining challenges of our time. #ACFrontPage is a high-level event series featuring top newsmakers across multiple digital platforms. Harnessing the convening power and expertise of the Council’s sixteen programs and centers, #ACFrontPage leverages the Council’s capabilities in social media, press, and digital outreach to spotlight the world’s most prominent leaders and the most compelling ideas across sectors and engage new audiences eager for nonpartisan and constructive solutions to current global challenges. This widely promoted program features the Council’s most important guests and content serving as the highlight of our programming.


Secretary Robert O. Work

Vice Chair, National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence
President and Owner, TeamWork LLC

Safra Catz

Commissioner, National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence
Chief Executive Officer, Oracle Corporation

In conversation with

About the GeoTech Center

Established on March 11, 2020, the GeoTech Center is one of the newest centers within the Atlantic Council. Its mission is to champion positive paths forward that nations, economies, and societies can pursue to ensure new technology and data capabilities empower people and secure prosperity and peace. The GeoTech Center was founded with the recognition that the Atlantic Council’s mission of “shaping the global future together” must now address the outsized role that data and technology will play in deciding that future and whether it results in a better, more peaceful world. As a result, the GeoTech Center has a broad mandate to explore the geopolitical implications of new technologies and data, including exploring pilot initiatives, non-traditional geopolitical actors, and US technology and data policy.